I don’t think that small businesses use graphic design to their full advantage. You, as a small business may have dabbled in graphic design services, with the use of some flyers, business cards, or maybe even a website but it’s not something you really invested in. It’s not that you don’t want to use graphic design but usually it’s a case of not having the budget for it or not knowing how to use good graphic design to market your business.
In addition, you may not really be sure that good graphic design would actually do anything for your business because it’s very hard to measure the results of any marketing unless it directly yields a sale. This is when Jeffrey Veens quote comes into mind; “Math is easy; design is hard.”
Maths uses set numbers and symbols to create a single result. There’s no interpretation or gut instinct involved, the result of doing any math is the answer to your question.
On the other hand, there’s Graphic Design which has numerous variables like colour, shape, balance and tone but what’s more, it also utilises personal opinion. Two different people may have two totally different reactions to any given design.
This makes it really hard to figure out what good design is, how to utilise it for your small business. To figure that out, let’s explore further.
Why use Graphic Design for your small business
Many people have warped ideas of graphic design and business. Some small businesses invest in graphic design and get no results, claiming it to be a waste of time and money.
Others invest in graphic design and think that it will automatically generate sales.
The truth is that graphic design is not the be all and end all of business success. It won’t boost your business growth alone but it will help you to get there as long as you utilise good graphic design coupled with a good design strategy. To allow graphic design to have a successful impact on your business, you have to be open minded, a little daring and actually let graphic design become a part of your business and marketing. To sum up “Good design is good business” – Thomas J. Watson Jr.
Solving your business problems with Graphic Design
Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose. — Charles Eames
The next step is to figure out how graphic design can help your business and what problem can it solve? Typically, graphic design may be used for marketing communication but utilising graphic design for your small business may not be a case of public relations, it could solve internal communication problems as well. It may even play a big part in providing your business services.
eg. All of our project proposals and quotes are produced as professional graphically designed documents. Because of that, they seal deals and make sales.
Large, corporate businesses all over the world use illustration as a marketing tool but also as a core aspect of their business services.
“Bring ideas in and entertain them royally, for one of them may be the king” – Mark van Doren
God forbid if I sound like a design guru, but “Good Design can solve any problem”. By implementing and practicing good design within your small business whether it be for an internal document or billboard advert, will only enhance your business, not deteriorate it.
The idea is to make design work for you, not the over way round.
Utlising creative graphic design
If you’re on a budget and can’t afford to hire a designer, then the best advice I can give you as a small business is to keep it clean and simple. You don’t have to go over the top and be over creative or over design anything. Don’t have ideas of grandeur, no special effects, just communicate clearly. It’s the best cost effective solution to using graphic design in your business until you’re ready to evolve with design.
Use graphic design to develop relationships
The whole point of good graphic design is to create relationships with the viewer. To do this you need to be consistent with your imagery so your branding and message becomes familiar and identifiable to past, present and potential customers.
Using Graphic Design to evolve your small business
As well as being consistent with your imagery, graphic design, communication and branding you also need to be open to change. Most small businesses invest in design just once and don’t adapt their design to suit the changing times. This often leads to businesses going stale, looking outdated and often just closing down. Effective graphic design communicates change.
People ignore design that ignores people. — Frank Chimero
To make design work for your business, you have to evolve design. Make constant changes to it, don’t let it or your business become dormant. In essence, reflect on your business and react with design whether it be visual or strategic.
Graphic Design is actually a lot like maths
At the beginning of this article I said that unlike Maths, Graphic Design has too many variables to create one definitive answer but the truth is that good and effective graphic design uses data and a formula to get an answer, much like Maths does. To make good graphic design work for your small business, use it like math.
Before comissioning any piece of graphic design work, gather any and all data you can get such as demographics, geographic and trends to figure out who the audience is and what problem your small business is trying to solve and then use graphic design to solve the problem of communciating the answer to your customers.
This means that there is no guessing game as to what sort of graphic design will or will not work for your small business.
“Most [clients] expect experience design to be a discrete activity, solving all their problems with a single functional specification or a single research study. It must be an ongoing effort, a process of continually learning about users, responding to their behaviors, and evolving the product or service.” — Dan Brown
How to market your small business with graphic design
- Invest inGraphic Design for your Business
- Highlight your business problems
- Solve them with the application of Graphic Design
- Be consistent with your Graphic Design & Branding
- Adapt with time
- Use data for effective graphic design