In this era of attractive generic template websites, it’s easy to forget the importance of good graphic design. Ironically, however, it’s actually the prevalence of “cookie cutter” content that’s made striking graphic design more important than ever: In today’s cluttered online marketplace, you literally can’t afford to have a website that mimics your more established competition. The only way to get consumers’ attention is to let them know who you are and how you’re different from the “other guys.” While there are a few different ways of doing this, establishing a unique visual presence online is invariably step one.
5 Ways Good Graphic Design Builds Your Brand
1. Good graphic design reduces your “bounce rate.”
Getting people to visit your website isn’t the hardest part of marketing—Getting them to stay on your website and click around it is much more challenging. In an era when most people have an attention span of about seven seconds, your website needs to be able to grab people’s attention and hold it.
Furthermore, uninspiring graphic design sends the message that your company is neither passionate nor professional, and this can actively push consumers away. According to an infographic published by Red, 94% of consumers will immediately leave a website that exhibits poor graphic design.
2. Graphic design is necessary for brand recognition and recollection.
Good graphic design doesn’t just look appealing; it tells a story about your brand. It uses colours, symbols, and shapes to convey intangible values and provoke an emotional reaction in the viewer. Because emotion is intrinsically linked to how we form memories, these reactions make your brand memorable. Whenever human beings are exposed to an engaging story, an area of the brain called the sensory cortex lights up, activating the imagination and committing the experience to long-term memory.
Graphic design also provides visual consistency across platforms, allowing consumers to recognize you immediately wherever they find you. Using the same company logo, colours, and fonts on your social media profiles and printed fliers that you use on your website, for instance, will identify them as belonging to you, even if visitors only glance at their content.
3. Graphic design has important internal benefits for your company, too.
Younger workers—think Millennials and Gen Z—are innovative, independent, and motivated by having a sense of meaning in their work. This, along with a favourable economic climate, has made talent retention extremely challenging for most businesses. Even if you’re offering fair wages and provide good working conditions for your employees, you might still lose them to more exciting prospects. In fact, according to the Independent, a shocking 50 percent of all Millennial employees plan to leave their current job within the next two years. Naturally, then, any means you have at your disposal to make your employees feel like they’re part of something bigger should be fully utilized.
Cohesive graphic design sends the same messages about your priorities and values to your employees that it does to your customers. When employees all have the same stationary, publications, etc., they’re more likely to feel like they’re striving together towards the same goals. This is thought to increase employee loyalty and rates of engagement. (For even greater success, get your employees on board when shaping your company’s mission statement and core values. The more your company, and your graphic design, represents the personal priorities of your team, the more likely it becomes that they’ll stay through thick and thin.)
4. Simply put, graphic design sells.
While Apple makes great devices, their products are far from being the only reason why they’re the most valuable company in the world. It’s their emphasis on selling an image of clean, low-key coolness and a feeling of creative self-expression that’s really propelled them to the number one spot.
Apple is far from being an anomaly in this area, either. Time and time again, research has shown a link between excellent graphic design and increased profitability. Back in 2005, for example, a group called The Design Council took an in-depth look at the most prominent companies trading on the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE). What they discovered shocked the business community: Those companies that put a strong emphasis on graphic design weren’t just a bit more profitable than their competition—they were many times more profitable. The companies that focused on excellent graphic design were 200% more profitable than the companies that didn’t, even if there was little difference in the quality of their products and services.
5. Good graphic design shows your business is trustworthy.
Today’s consumers are well aware that basically anyone with an internet connection can put up a website. As such, they’re keenly attuned to signs that a business might be less than reputable. Graphic design that looks overly generic, amateurish, or hastily thrown together will make your business look not only unprofessional, but possibly dishonest as well. According to the study Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites, “Poor interface design was particularly associated with rapid rejection and mistrust of a website… In cases where the participants did not like some aspect of the design the site was often not explored further than the homepage and was not considered suitable for revisiting at a later date…”
Clearly, instead of asking ourselves whether or not we can afford graphic design, we should be asking ourselves if we can afford to do business without it. From your packaging design to your product photography and company logo, the graphical materials associated with your business need to convey the message that you’re serious about what you do. They need to incorporate style, substance, and intangible values and feelings in order to create a memorable experience. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, good graphic design is a must.