We’re living in an increasingly visual society. Let’s get that emphasized.
Everywhere we look, statistics support the fact that beautiful imagery drives engagement: From a 2014 study conducted by eMarketer that revealed simply adding an image to Facebook posts boosts the interaction rate from 4% to 87%, to research from Social Media Examiner that showed adding a photo to tweets can increase retweets by 35%, there’s no denying that high-quality visual content makes people sit up and take notice. It’s therefore surprising that so many business owners overlook the fundamental values graphic design provides. Unlike marketing or accounting, graphic design is seen is a “non-essential” component of their overall business strategy.
Small to medium sized business owners often cite budget concerns as a reason for delaying hiring a graphic designer, not understanding just how necessary good graphic design is. Unbeknownst to them, utilizing professional graphic designs can do a number of things to help entrepreneurs establish and maintain a successful business. In all of the key areas below, graphic design functions as an invaluable aid:
- Establishing a professional reputation.
In order to entice clients, vendors, and customers to your fledgling business, you need to make a great first impression. You need to convince people that you’re established, professional, reputable, and have the capacity for excellence. Because your company logo is the first thing people will “see” when they look at your website, receive emails from you, etc., having a well-designed logo is integral to conveying a polished image. If your logo looks cheap and amateurish, potential clients, vendors, customers, and other entities are going to assume your business isn’t successful or experienced. One of the values graphic design brings here is showing interested parties that your business can afford excellent graphic design is the most direct way of saying, “Our business is doing well and you can trust us to deliver.”
- Better branding.
In today’s cluttered online marketplace, brand recognition is everything. A graphically striking, attractive, and cohesive brand image will both draw new customers to your business and help you retain existing ones. One of the values graphic design offers is the essence of standing out from the crowd.
Even if you have a great company slogan, it’s ultimately the visuals associated with your brand that people will remember. Think of it this way—we all recognize the Nike “check mark” symbol even with no text attached. The human brain is simply wired in such a way that most people understand pictures much more quickly than words or data. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners, meaning that they process concepts and commit them to memory through primarily visual means. Powerful images are therefore the most efficient and effective way of getting people to connect with your brand’s message.
- Enhanced employee loyalty.
A great deal of attention is paid to how external parties (i.e., customers) will be impacted by the quality of a company’s graphic design, but what about internal parties? It’s important to remember that your employees will constantly be looking at the imagery associated with your business, too. From viewing your website to wearing uniforms and handling newsletters, business cards, and much more, your employees probably absorb more of your brand message than anyone else. Having well thought-out and well-designed positive, uplifting imagery is, therefore, a core part of helping employees feel motivated and inspired to rally behind your business. The better your graphic design is, the more clearly your message will come across to your employees, and the more they’ll believe in the central mission of your company—it’s that simple how there are many values graphic design can provide.
- Better communication of information.
Graphic design can be used in a diverse array of applications that extend far beyond logo creation and banner images. Infographics, for example, are an excellent way to communicate information to your clients and customers in an engaging format. Images can be used to bring data to “life” so that viewers are not confronted with dry, intimidating lists of facts and figures. If conveying your business’s core mission involves a presentation of statistics, graphic design can be life-saver when it comes to retaining the attention of your audience.
Likewise, the cleaner your website’s overall design is (i.e., with legible fonts, clear navigation, and colors that are not distracting) the more accessible the information therein will be to clients, customers, and your own employees.
- No unexpected expenses.
When you hire a professional graphic designer, you can rest assured that you’ll get graphics that are not only web-ready but print-ready as well. If, on the other hand, you take a “low budget” approach, you will probably not get graphics that are suitable for print. (Designing high-resolution print-ready graphics is a complicated process that requires training and expertise.)
Many business owners fail to anticipate the hassles—and expenses—that this oversight will incur. If you send an unsuitable design to be printed and receive lackluster results, not only will you have wasted a great deal of money on useless printed materials, you’ll immediately be faced with the (now absolutely necessary) cost of hiring a professional to correct your mistakes. In the long run, it’s simpler, easier, and cheaper to hire a professional graphic designer from the outset.
- Higher conversion rates.
A large body of research indicates that the better your graphics are; the more sales you’ll make. Take, for example, the following experiment, conducted by The Conversion Rate Experts: “[One] of our clients carried out a very simple page re-design. They didn’t change a word of copy, nor did they change which elements were on the page, or their position. In fact, they just redesigned a few of the page elements, to give the page a more consistent design.
Here are the results: The test results show a 7.4% increase in conversion. If that doesn’t sound like a lot to you, imagine what you’d need to pay a salesperson to increase your business by 7.4% indefinitely!”
Ultimately, professional graphic design will pay for itself—and then some—making it one of the best possible investments for any small business. Remember that if you truly don’t have the money to hire a great graphic designer, you can turn to alternative funding sources, such as crowdsourcing, to help you finance the expense. Whatever you have to do in order to “go pro” when it comes to graphic design is well worth the extra effort.
Ready to learn how to build your own brand through graphic design? Check out our next blog post here.