Signage. Product labelling. Logos. Packaging graphics. Typography. The list of examples of how the handiwork of graphic designers interacts with us each day is huge. Quietly going about their business somewhere on the blurred margin between art and design they influence everything from what we do, where we go to what we buy, eat and drink.
But what is graphic design? The most commonly used definition and the one I’m opting for here is straight out of the dictionary so don’t expect frills. It is “the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines or books”. Look around the room or space you’re in now and the chances are that any lettering or other imagery on packaging, clothing, equipment will have been carefully created by a graphic designer. Something is missing from this quote. The Web. Graphic design has a big presence on the web. Huge in fact.
In this blog we’re going to look at how good graphic design can help a business stand taller and punch harder. How it gives an advantage over the competition and how you can use the skills of professional graphic designers to craft your image and position your business where you want it to be.
When the time comes for a rebrand or perhaps something as seemingly simple as organising some new business cards can you afford not to look for professional graphic design support?
So, you’re setting up your new business and the list of jobs just seems to be getting longer, meanwhile time is running out and your budget is stretching. This is where calling in favours from friends and family and a good old bit of ‘do it yourself’ can come in handy.
Surely it won’t matter if your website, logo design and other graphic design for lets say your marketing material (leaflets, brochures or business cards) are done by a friend or a cut price online service. I mean these days pretty much anyone with access to a personal computer can knock out a half decent design? Right?
Cutting corners when it comes to the creative aspects of your business costs can turn out down the line to be a major false economy. Just as getting a cut price website built can end up being a mistake so the same applies to graphic design. Saving money is never a bad thing unless it’s only in the short term. If you’re going to have to go through the whole process again and try to repair the damage to your reputation and image then why not invest more in the first place?
Despite the influence that graphic design has over our daily lives, far to often it is treated by businesses as something of a luxury when budgeting or planning for new projects. When it comes to small businesses, taking a ‘we can do it ourselves’ approach is understandable and often necessary. The trouble is that creative tasks such as web design, graphic design, sign writing and photography are highly skilled activities and demand to be treated seriously.
Make a strong impression
Graphic design works in the same way as meeting someone for the first time. You’re best opportunity to knock them for six is now. In other words, the first time.
The trouble is you have literally seconds to do so. When trying to win new customers, graphic design is as important as sales patter. In a similar way when you meet someone it’s your interesting chat, asking the right questions and dressing the part are the key to making the right sort of first impression.
Hooking them with a professional design and appearance, correctly sized images (no fuzzy pixels!) and you’ll have them taking step two towards becoming your newest customer.
Building a brand identity
A professional graphic designer can take you far beyond just designing a logo for you to put on your business cards, front door and letterhead.
The brand identity is the design term given for the carefully coordinated overall visual style. It encompasses everything from the logo, the choice of corporate colour(s), the particular typographic style and selection of typefaces, the way you present images and the type and quality of stationary materials used.
Adopting a distinct brand identity presents an organised image. The message this gives out is ‘we take our business’s image seriously. We are professional and care about attention to detail and thoroughness’.
Once you have your brand identity completed you’re on the road to making your business that much more visible. Any time someone interacts with any element of your business stationary e.g. letters or business cards, or logs onto your website they are engaging with your brand identity.
In any business sector there’s going to be competition to deal with. Keeping the pressure on your competitors isn’t easy. Top end graphic design is one area you can get one over on them.
Providing a good service and amazing products or service are, it should go without saying, every companies goal, but you can do more to reach above the crowd by incorporating the work of a professional graphic designer.
Let your competitors stick with their DIY designed marketing material and branding. Your company will be the one they’re envious of.
Build your image
Every business is unique so it therefore stands to reason that when it comes to designing your branding or other graphic design work then you don’t want it looking like everyone else. More than that it needs to reflect the business and deliver the right message.
A good design will take into account what your company does; what your company ethos is; where your company is based; what your company values are; how old the company is; is it new or traditional; is it dynamic and fast or all about a more chilled philosophy; what is your customer demographic.
The subsequent steps in the design process ultimately result in the development of a logo, the typographic appearance, the colour schemes and imagery such as photography and other graphics.
Think about the future
Working with a good graphic designer is not just about the immediate future but should be seen as a long-term business support relationship just like you may already have with a solicitor or accountant.
Over time as your company evolves so will your graphic design requirements. Examples could be the introduction of a new product range; the acquisition of a company vehicle fleet or perhaps branded work wear. Design tasks like these are bread and butter for a graphic designer and once you have the initial relationship in place then future work is more simple to organise.
Companies trying to save money by getting their design work done on the cheap often find that somewhere down the line they’ll have to go back to the drawing board this time with a professional graphic designer onboard. It might be 6 months. It might be a couple of years. How long it is the time you could have been projecting your company image in an ultra positive manner is gone meanwhile your competitors could well have been mopping up.
Tea Fuelled Creativity
The Teapot Creative portfolio on our website contains a wide selection of work from over the past few years. When we’re working with clients we have the words of the legendary New York based graphic designer Milton Glaser at the front of our mind. He said, “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”