Updated: Dec 7, 2021
It has long been established that graphic design is more than just about dressing up your brand to look aesthetically pleasing. Good design can boost your business in all aspects of your operation. This is no more true than for small businesses building their brand from the ground up.
A great logo, eye-catching imagery, pleasing colors, and typography — these visual elements play an integral role in any business, and they can be made possible through graphic design. But more than just a matter of aesthetic appeal, good design communicates what your brand is about and the value it provides customers.
In short, it is the quickest way to convey your unique brand’s personality, and how you express your brand is lucrative to your marketing strategy. This shows that graphic design has far deeper roots in your business than many might think.
The Importance Of Graphic Design
While you might have excellent products or services, it’ll be hard to sell your offerings if you can’t get your customers through the door. Great design can attract your target audience, and more than that, transform them into advocates of your brand.
That’s because more often than not, people don’t just buy from brands, they buy into them. Through graphic design, you can elevate your business into something worthy of your target audience’s attention and, more importantly, their loyalty and respect.
Graphic design utilizes a strategic combination of visual elements present across a business’s touchpoints. It’s necessary for creating a logo. It’s entwined in your advertising campaigns and social media channels. It’s even woven into the messages you create for your customers, regardless of their stage in the buyer’s journey.
With all this in mind, graphic design is an important investment for any sized business, especially for those looking to scale their growth and increase profitability. According to one survey, over 80% of small businesses agree that design is important to their success.
From increasing customer and branding experience to reinforcing brand identity, here are nine ways graphic design is beneficial for your small business.
It Makes A Lasting First Impression
Your business’s first impression matters a great deal. And whether you like it or not, many people will form initial opinions about your business based on its appearance. In fact, it only takes less than a second for the average consumer to make a judgment on your brand.
Imagine seeing a brand with good graphic design. Chances are you’ll probably assume it has something valuable to offer you. The same goes for a bad design — but rather than being drawn to it, you’ll probably want to steer clear of it. In fact, a statistic shows that 94% of consumers will leave a site with poor graphic design.
If you want to leave your customers with a good first impression, it’s crucial to leverage graphic design to elevate your brand.
After all, your branding design is what customers see first, so you might as well put your best face forward when you promote your business to the public.
It Establishes A Sense Of Credibility
In the early stages of your business, it can be tough to establish a sense of credibility for your brand and its capabilities.
One of the quickest ways to build credibility with customers? Use a visual and typographical design that is consistent across all your channels.
When you implement consistent branding wherever you have a presence, like your website, social media accounts, and advertising campaigns, you’re delivering a clear message to customers of what they can expect from your business. Quality design ensures that everything — from the colors and shapes to typography and logo — is compelling and consistent across all your business mediums.
Without graphic design to inform your brand identity, your business can come across differently than intended. Even the most subtle nuances in design can affect the way your target audience perceives your organization. That’s why it’s important to get the design down-pat to ensure that your brand identity is expressed with utmost clarity.
It Lends A Competitive Edge
Let’s face it: A lot of people make their purchasing decisions based upon looks.
Imagine a scenario in which you offer the same product or service as another business, and they appear more attractive to buyers. Chances are, they’ll probably choose their brand over yours, especially due to the rule of 7.
So if you want to gain a competitive advantage and break through the crowd, how your offerings are presented is just as important as what you’re selling. Quality graphic design quickly grabs consumers’ attention, using colors, fonts, and other visual elements that appeal specifically to your target audience.
Even if customers have never purchased from your brand before, people are more likely to take an interest in your business if it looks appealing to them. At the very least, it will make them remember your brand positively, so when they’re ready to take the next steps, they’re more likely to keep you top of mind.
It Encourages Customer Loyalty
While it’s one thing to get customers to notice you, it’s a whole other story to encourage them to keep coming back to your brand. Fortunately, good design can help with the latter, too. If you want to build a devoted following, you must show people why your brand is worthy of their loyalty.
With good design, you can successfully express your brand identity through visuals and craft a brand image that showcases your value to potential and existing customers. When you express yourself loud and clear, people are bound to pay closer attention.
If they are enticed by what they see, they will more likely want to do business with your brand. In the best-case scenario, they’ll want to tell their peers about it, too — which is a good sign that they’re closer to becoming loyal customers of your brand if they aren’t already.
It Fosters Emotional Connections
As you probably know, emotions play a significant role in consumers' purchasing decisions, and graphic design can help bridge the gap between your business and your customers. Images, typography, and even specific colors can all pull in your target audience and elicit an emotional response among them.
Good design can transform complex human sensations into something tangible using a strategic combination of visual elements to ensure that it reaches your audience. It could even be used to leverage visual storytelling design, which can further humanize your brand and foster emotional connections with your customers.
This goes to show that graphic design goes beyond the aesthetic, though aesthetics are important too. When done right, graphic design has the power to influence customers on a psychological level — which, in turn, impacts your branding experience.
It Supports Customer Experience
Graphic design is as much about function as it is about form — and quality design combines the best of both worlds. In this way, design can be an invaluable tool to most, if not all, forms of communication with your target audience.
When utilized correctly, graphic design can optimize the appearance of your business to make it user-friendly, as well as visually accessible both online and offline. That way, when your customers visit your site, social media channels, or store, they’re guaranteed a pleasurable and seamless experience.
Now imagine if the opposite were true and a business’s platforms were unintelligible due to the misuse of color, bad typography, or overall design failure that left customers puzzled as to what you were trying to communicate. And you’re likely to surmise that interacting with that business was a bad experience, too.
It Improves Advertising
Advertising your business is integral to its success, and more often than not, a good advertising campaign will involve graphic design. Graphics can effectively convey what you want customers to know about your brand and the products or services that you offer.
Good design takes information into account, like customer demographics and preferences, to create a visual message that speaks directly to your audience. This message can be distributed in a myriad of ways, including promotional materials, as well as packaging and marketing brochures for products and services.
When the advertising campaign is all tied together under one design vision, it can reinforce your marketing strategy. The result of which can promote brand recognition, expand your reach among potential customers, and increase your business’s bottom line.
To learn how to create a social media ad campaign, click here.
It Improves The Employee Experience
Strong branding doesn’t just have an impact on your customers, but also your employees. When you have a business with a clear, professional appearance, it gives employees a sense of pride in their work, and they’re more likely to advocate more strongly for your brand, products, and services.
Believe it or not, employees want the same thing as your customers from your business. They don’t just want to work for a company that sells excellent products or services, they also want to buy into a brand that takes great care in how it is perceived by the public.
Graphic design can help your business cultivate an image that captures your brand’s mission and values. If this resonates with your employees, they’re more likely to become more engaged, productive, and invest themselves in helping your organization reach its goals, too.
It Saves Time And Money
When you invest in great graphic design from the outset, it can save you time and money in the long haul. By planning ahead on your design strategy and ensuring that all visual elements are in line with how you want to present your brand, your business can hit the ground running.
For businesses that want to take graphic design into their own hands — and want to cut down on costs — there are a ton of online resources that allow you to produce your own visual materials. Some options can help you create your own logo, make beautiful graphics for your socials, or even build a site from scratch.
Another option you might want to consider is setting aside some of your budget to work alongside a professional graphic designer. While hiring a graphic designer might be costly from the get-go, they are equipped with skills to prevent design failure and ensure that your visuals are nothing short of top-notch.
Small Business Graphic Design Tips
Whether you plan to call a professional onboard or do it solo, there are a few things to keep in mind before you get crafty with graphic design. Below, we’ve listed a few helpful tips that will help guide you along the way.
Identify Your Brand Identity
It’ll be hard to know how to go about your design if you don’t have a clear vision of your brand’s identity. Who are you? And what do you want to bring to the table? You can even go deeper, and ask yourself: How do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand?
Once you understand the vision of your brand’s identity, you can leverage graphic design to make your vision come to life. You’ll get a better sense of how you want your logo to look and identify which colors and typography would be appropriate for your business.
Know Your Target Audience
Since graphic design will be a constant presence in all the communications with your customers, you’ll want to ensure that your messages will resonate with them in the first place. It’s important to research your target audience to gain insight into their wants, needs, and preferences.
Once you find out who your target audience is, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand design elements are suitable for your markets and the messages you convey speak directly to them. If your efforts don’t reach the right audience? They’ll be for naught.
Scope Out The Competition
If you’re creating your design from scratch, it can be difficult to generate ideas from thin air. One way to get your creative juices flowing is to see what your competition is doing. This will allow you to see what works for them and what doesn’t while also seeing how you can differentiate your design from the rest.
While important to keep an eye on the competition, it’s just as important to ensure that your designs are fresh. Original designs lend an air of credibility to your brand, which, as mentioned, is incredibly important for small businesses. When done right, graphic design will help you stand out from the crowd.
Understand the Psychology Of Design
Certain elements of design, such as color, can evoke certain emotions in people. If you want people to feel a specific feeling when they interact with your brand, it’s important that you know which colors or visual elements will bring out these sensations.
Aside from evoking emotion, graphic design should prioritize user-friendliness in equal measure. Make your logo and typography legible, for example, and try to make your site and other social media channels easy to navigate. You want all interactions with your brand as seamless as possible.
Keep Your Design Consistent
While your business might have a presence on several platforms, it’s important that it stays true to a unifying design vision. This will help reinforce brand recognition and recall, as well as lend your brand an air of professionalism. Still, you want to ensure that your design fits every platform it lives on.
For instance, if you have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, it’s important that you adjust your design to suit each of the platforms without veering away from the fundamentals of your design. It’ll be hard for your audience to recognize your brand on various platforms without the fundamentals. You might want to use a style guide to lead the way.
Avoid Graphic Design Failure
Believe it or not, graphic design operates according to its own rules. From the size and shapes you use to the color and spaces between your copy, these have to all be taken into consideration when it comes to design. Without considering these, you might be at the risk of a design failure.
As the name implies, a design failure can be detrimental to your business. If you want to prevent this risk, it’s important to understand the foundations of good graphic design. Alternatively, you can avoid design failure altogether by working with a professional graphic designer.
Maximizing Graphic Design For Your Small Business
To summarize everything, graphic design is beneficial for your small business in more ways than one. However, producing design for your brand isn’t without time and effort. More often than not, it can be tricky to get right. If you want to take the guesswork out of the task, we can lend you a hand.
Our graphic design team can work alongside you to ensure that you receive all the benefits that graphic design can provide your small business. This will buy you more time, too, so you can focus on developing the other aspects of your business, whether that’s nurturing your community or perfecting your offerings.
If you want to take the leap and maximize your graphic design efforts, reach out to Zoek —we’re ready for you whenever you are!
Danielle Calma is a contributing writer for Zoek, the SEO, Web Design, and Digital Marketing Agency that assists small and medium-sized businesses with their online footprint. She has been a writer for over five years, with most of her experience concentrated in the e-commerce industry. When she isn't typing away on her keyboard, she can be found outside, taking aimless walks around her city, or curled up with a book next to her cat.