Can you afford (not) to invest in design?
People often ask if they can afford to invest in design. I think they should be asking themselves can they afford NOT to invest in design.
I often look at advertising and think why did they do that? They seem to have spent money on making themselves look cheap and nasty.
Maybe it’s just me but I find it hard to take a business seriously when they have quite obviously done a poor job of portraying themselves through the design of their brand and marketing. Investing in design for your business is one of the most important aspects of any business because it’s the ‘face’ of a company or brand. If done poorly it can end up costing more money in the long run and be detrimental to business rather than beneficial.
Obviously a decent brand identity and marketing designs need to be followed up by good business practice and great customer relations, but in order to be able to provide customers with a great service you need to entice the customers to use you in the first place.
Design is often taken for granted but should never be underestimated.
I’m not saying that design has to be expensive, I’m just saying it should be valued at the worth it has for your business. Everybody knows that money is tight across the board these days and it’s hard to set aside funds for certain things. Design does not have to cost the earth but it shouldn’t be cheap either. If you pay peanuts, you may end up with peanut shells (inadequate designs).
When looking for a graphic designer to work on your marketing, always consider their proficiency before simply comparing their price to the next door neighbour’s kid who can do it for nothing. If you use someone who is not an experienced creative you may end up marketing your business incorrectly, never mind the errors and costly redesigns that you will need to carry out down the road.
You could end up having to redesign and reprint all of your marketing and advertising material because of poorly created artwork or an inconsistency of brand elements.
This is often because the logo was not created in vectors to allow the use of a few neat files, which can be used for different production techniques and scaled to any size. Or maybe the logo was created at too small a size (in pixels) or with too much unnecessary detail. This means that when it comes time to create some larger imagery it will look pixelated or on smaller uses it can be too busy and illegible.
Often businesses may end up using a multitude of inconsistent logos if they are not designed or thought out correctly. i.e. one for their business stationery and another for any signage or one for printed material and another for their web presence. This can be extremely confusing for a client who knows what your business appearance should be but simply can’t recognise the two different identities as being the same business.
Another very common issue is the use of low resolution imagery or awful photography which will make your printed artwork look pixelated and not portray the true quality of your products or services. A good example of this is a food menu with lousy imagery that does not look at all appetising.
If you provide a great product or service, why not have the designs to match?
If you are proud of the way you run your business and you work hard to make sure everything is done correctly and on time then you should be proud of the great work you do. This means that you should have a coherent visual identity and great advertising to match your strong business ethics.
This will enable you to show off your company or business and garner new and sustained interest.
Did you know that their Christmas advertising campaigns helped cement the current popular Santa that we have all come to accept? They were not the first to depict him as a big jolly fellow in red and white but they were definitely instrumental in making him common place around the world. If their advertising campaign had been designed poorly do you think it would have had the influence it has had on our lives today?
I wonder how many companies really think about the impact design has on their business.
Have you heard the saying “Any advertising is good advertising”? I don’t believe this is true unless you’re a C-list celebrity who has to act like a moron to stay in the tabloids. It simply doesn’t hold any water when you think about it from a business point of view.
Designs for your business should be viewed in the same light as your service. If you provide poor service or products do you think that your customers are likely to recommend you to others? If you have poorly designed marketing do you think anyone will be encouraged to contact you, or show it to their friends or colleagues?
In this age of social networking everything is shared with millions of users, do you really want to appear badly the first time round?
Be proud of yourself and be happy to show what you’ve achieved, just make sure you do it right!
Don’t be the guy showing off on his bike and then falling on his face. 🙂