The time has come. After working long and hard to start your business, after taking a brave leap to realise this new dream, devoting months, possibly years, to polish raw thought into clear shape, you know your new business venture really deserves to look its best when you launch into a world that badly needs it.
You know good design and a strong brand is important for getting your message across, but can you put your finger on why?
To give you something to hang on to, here are my five top reasons good design will set you apart.
1. Good Style
It is so important to present your business in a way you know is true to you and your mission. Your good visual style begins here, to match your good thinking, smart thinking, with appealing character – all characterised in your visual communication.
Style is about character and personality. Fashion is about fad and trend. They are not the same.
Done well, good design style always transfers beautifully across all materials you use in the day to day of your business. Business cards and web banners are just the tip of the iceberg, but good style can come through on anything you use to communicate with your audience because it's based on something true that comes from the heart. And it also has flexibility to adapt – so basically, your perfect capsule wardrobe that goes to work in all sorts of scenarios.
Paying attention to good design means you always show up in really good—and appropriate—style, because you know yourself, and you know your audience.
2. It’s about Personality
A well-thought-through approach to your design and visual communication gives you plenty of scope for getting your personality across. Good design should give the world a sense of you and what you stand for, so whether someone has a quick glance at your business card or a longer read through an eBook or slideshare, they get a feel for the type of character and attitude inherent in your business.
3. Coherent Communications
I'll say it again. Good brand design should be transferrable across many platforms and materials. I’ve mentioned web and business cards, and consider too – proposals, blog illustrations, training material, the book you’re writing. These can all work really well for you with a strategic approach to the design. What about the signage at that annual ideas camp you're dreaming about hosting, or the campervan-freindly stickers you want to give out?
Think about the stretch – how far will your company reach?
The folk at DO have a very simple approach, but they do it so well. And I like Pie Minister too (obviously). You can always spot both of these a mile off, whether a bookshelf at ten paces, or food-stall banner at a busy festival.
Coherent design plans mean all elements clearly live in the same visual family. Not to say they all look identical – different formats are used for different reasons, but it’s important they all work together.
Your audience should always know they are looking at your stuff.
4. It Helps People Believe You
Done well, consistently, and over time, good design helps people to believe you – your message, your passion, your integrity and conviction, and commitment to making the world a better place. It's consistent with the key principles of good content marketing, which says wherever you speak, whenever you speak, do so in a consistent voice.
Of course, there are many more things that go into the mix, but without good design woven all the way through, well, it’s like buying a campervan and only using it for the school run.
Benefiting you and your message, and helping your audience know what to expect from you, good design really does set you apart and give you distinction by communicating in the voice only you have.
Good design can be a mark of integrity.
5. More than words
Sometimes an idea is so much more powerful seen visually, with a great image or some cracking typography.
Think of a painting or image you’ve seen that made an instant impression, held you glued, gazing, with no verbal explanation necessary.
I have a little fridge magnet on the radiator next to my desk, bought at the National Portrait Gallery during their Lucian Freud exhibition a few years ago. What he'd make of a fridge magnet I don't know, but I love the quote:
“What do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.”
Visual communication can do these things for us too, if done well.
So that's it. Hold on to these five gems, they'll help you make good decisions as you grow your company's design.
If you've found this post helpful, you may also be interested in these articles:
• My friends over at Valuable Content
flesh out some of my suggestions with super-practical advice