What’s the point in working with professional designers?

By Kelly

In a world of budget cuts and online tutorials for just about any skill you could want to learn, why would anyone hire a professional designer? Surely the intern could just type the company name into a logo generator? Professionally created brand identities are for fancy-pants London hotels and multi-billionaires like Sir Richard Branson, are they not? Umm no they are not.

One of the biggest privileges of working as professional designers is seeing the impact our work has on our clients’ businesses, both big and small, new and established, everyday. Great design is rooted in creativity, insight and experience and, as a result, does more than give you something to put on the back of your business card. Great design gets you noticed, it tells people who you are and importantly, it makes you more money.

Great design will get you noticed

Design is often the last thing to be squeezed into the budget and more often than not it doesn’t make an appearance at all. Customer service training, the latest software… those kinds of elements generally come first for understandable reasons. However, it is where we find our first problem, because no one is ever going to come into contact with your delightful staff or be won-over by your futuristic tech if they haven’t first noticed you and had reason to trust that you’ll deliver on your promises.

We live in a world where first impressions are everything. You know that we form our first impressions of someone in 7 seconds? A study by Google found that we form our initial opinion of a business within 50 MILLISECONDS of landing on their website. So if you’re not willing to invest in a well designed website your potential customers will decide to spend their money with your design-savvy competitors quicker than the blink of an eye. This is indicative of the way customers react to all visual touch-points of a brand. If your website fails to impress your potential customer will be browsing another in seconds. If your packaging doesn’t stand out, it gets lost in the sea of supermarket aisles and will remain on the shelf rather than in your customers basket. If your logo says nothing about your business then your card is going in the bin during the next cull.

To tell people who you are

Everything your customer comes into contact with builds upon their understanding of who you are as a business; from customer service and the product or service you offer, to your logo, brand colours and photography. If you’re a tech-company who pride yourself on staying ahead of the curve in your industry, a swirly-whirly pastel pink logo isn’t going to communicate that to your target market. If you offer the most premium wedding venue in the area, a 5 minute WordArt logo isn’t going to attract couples with the budget you’re looking for.

These are some extreme examples, but even the smallest of inconsistencies can be detrimental to your potential customers’ perception of your business. A well considered, expertly crafted and consistently applied brand tells your target audience who you are without words. It draws in the right customers and wards off the customers who aren’t going to actually bring you any business. It tells potential customers that they can trust you to deliver what you say you do.

To make money

When any business decision involving spending money is made, the question ‘What return on investment am I going to see?’ is rightly asked. And here lies a big part of the problem – design is often seen as nothing more than an expense, when it truly is an investment. And the returns are consistently good. Recent studies were summarised by Digital Experience Design like this:

Design increases turnover:
For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £20 in increased revenues

Design is linked to profit:
For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £4 increase in net operating profit

Design boosts exports:
For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect a return of over £5 in increased exports

This is the reality of investing in great design – not getting the office ‘photoshop whizz’ to knock something together or coaxing a student to do it ‘for the exposure’ – but investing in professional, experienced designers who know how to tell your customers who you are in ways that WordArt never can.

Your business has to make a profit to grow and thrive, spending significant budgets on design can initially seem counterintuitive to that goal, but in reality it is essential to that goal. To condense the above into a simple process, investing in great design works like this:

1 — Your visual identity (logo, website, flyers, digital campaign etc.) catches a potential customer’s attention and visually tells them who you are and what you do.

2 — The potential customer has got a taste of your business and they want to find out more, so they stick around to browse your website or read your flyer.

3 — The potential customer has seen and read about who you are and what you have to offer. Your visual identity combined with what you have to say wins their trust and they decide to spend their hard-earned cash with you.

4 — The new customer is impressed by your delightful staff / futuristic tech / (insert other worthy investment here) and is now a loyal customer, spending more and more money with you and telling their friends and family to do the same. Simple.

If  you’d like to have a chat about how Friends can help you create a successful design strategy for your brand and support your business growth, get in touch we’d love to hear from you.