Unfortunately, many business owners fail to understand the positive impact that hiring a graphic designer can have. Looking to cut costs they may well think that they can use stock images, graphs and charts from Microsoft Excel, and a free logo online creator and everything will work out the same. However, this is certainly not the case and this commonly held view is mostly down to a lack of knowledge about what a graphic designer does.
WHAT IS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
A graphic designer is a professional who creates and assembles images, typography, or motion graphics with a view to improving the aesthetic appeal of your business. They can make your brand stand out in a crowded market, make it appear more professional, and open your product or services up to entirely new audiences.
Graphic designers are often mistakenly thought of as artists and many business owners wonder what an artist could possibly add to their operations. But the purpose of a graphic designer is completely different to that of an artist. Where a fine artist creates work that is left up to the viewer to interpret, a graphic designer’s work should require no explanation.
Graphic designers are the best communicators in the world, and if people are interpreting their message in a way that is not intended, the graphic designer is not doing their job properly.
WHAT CAN A GRAPHIC DESIGNER DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
To better explain the benefits of hiring a graphic designer, we’ve gathered eight of the most significant ways in which a graphic designer can improve your business.
1. Prepare your business for the future
A picture says a thousand words, well, maybe not. According to Japanese studies into information processing it’s closer to 80 words, but a picture certainly has the power to communicate a complex message faster than a paragraph ever can. This is going to be a crucial tactic for businesses to capture audiences in the near future.
With decreasing attention spans in young audiences, marketing messages need to be delivered as quickly as possible and images are still the best way to do this. With small screen mobile technology becoming more prevalent than the larger screens of desktops and laptops, modern audiences aren’t as willing to invest time in reading your message. Images are what the future of communication is about. A perfect example of this being the symbol-based language of’emoji’ becoming the fastest growing language in the UK earlier this year.
As wearable technology (iWatches, virtual reality headsets, etc.) begin to jump out of technology blogs into the real world, screens are only getting smaller and smaller. Having a graphic designer on hand who can not only create visuals that will be effective at these miniature sizes, but also has the knowledge to adapt your digital marketing to different screen sizes will be crucial to success as technology changes.
Google’s recent efforts in improving image searches are bound to continue to separate the wheat from the chaff for users searching for high quality, relevant images online. A graphic designer can help ensure that your images, infographics, and videos are among the wheat.
2. Give your brand a boost
Not every business needs to stand out to succeed. A locksmith in a small community, for example, will gain enough trade from being the sole proponent of a vital service. For businesses with more competition, however, high quality branding is vital.
A brand is how your customers perceive you. It is made up from every customer facing element of your business – the way you answer the phones, your customer service policy, your company name, the tone of your copywriting, and – most importantly – how your brand looks.
Your company logo, the layout of your website and marketing materials, your chosen font, and the colours you use will give most customers their initial impression of what your company is like. It is what gives your company character. A professional graphic designer is able to expertly manipulate these elements to ensure that every customer perceives you in the right way.
A strong brand is memorable. It builds trust and encourages positive referrals from customers. A weak brand is instantly forgettable.
3. Save you time
If you’re busy running a business you simply don’t have the time to make a good job of your own graphic design. Good design is not something you stumble upon. It’s a combination of skills that require a specialist education and a lot of practice. It will take you years of dedication to master the software needed to complete all your graphic design work to a professional level.
The Adobe suite, flash animations, video editing – most modern graphic designers will come with all these skills intact, ready to use them to your advantage. This will free you up to focus on other pressing tasks for which you do have the skills.
4. Ensure that your message is consistent
From the Channel 4 style guide
An inconsistent message makes you appear slapdash and unprofessional. If you have several different logos appearing in different sizes across your internal and external communications, all of which use different fonts and layouts, your company’s message is going to come across as confused as your design is. A inconsistent design makes the customer think that you provide an inconsistent service and that is not a good way to inspire trust among your audience.
A graphic designer can create a design style guide which can help you deliver a consistent message right across your brand. A style guide is of crucial importance if you’re planning on expanding your brand to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Different designers will be variously meticulous about the attention to detail they expect, but all will be guaranteed to have the ability to ensure that your visual branding is consistent. They’ll also be more than happy to let you know when it’s not.
5. Provide expertise
Which file types work in the best situations? Where’s the best place in the area to get business cards printed and how much do you need to spend to get decent quality? How do you make yourself look good in your photo ID picture?
There are many graphic design-related questions relevant to modern business which you can only really learn the answer to through experience. From their education, or if they’ve worked in the area as a graphic designer prior to the appointment, a professional will have the experience to answer all these questions and more.
Most modern graphic designers are also adept at editing photos, and usually pretty good at taking photographs too. They will be able to make your staff profile images on the company site look like a collection of bright-eyed professionals in an upmarket office, rather than sleep-deprived lunatics working in a cave. A graphic designer will also be able to use their photographic skills to capture the company’s key moments in time – a useful method to give your company the human touch on your website and on social media.
6. Improve returns on digital marketing
Images not only improve but have been shown to be a vital part of a company’s marketing mix. For marketing campaigns, quality graphics have proven time and time again to be one of the (if not the) most important factors to their success. This is particularly true of content marketing as illustrated by the statistics below:
- Blog articles posted with images get 94% more views than articles without images
- Twitter and Facebook posts with images lead to 2.3 times as many shares and retweets
- Press releases with images increase views by 45%
- 63% of online shoppers consider the quality of the product image to be more important than the product information and 53% consider them more important than ratings and reviews
- 70% of marketers plan to increase their use of unique visual marketing in 2015
- 95% of B2B buyers say they prefer shorter more visual content formats
With these statistics backing them up, it’s apparent that a graphic designer is an important player in every successful digital marketing set-up.
7. Solve problems creatively
Modern businesses can never have too many creative thinkers, which is good because graphic designers have creative problem solving skills in abundance. Throughout a graphic design education students are bombarded with problem after problem and are encouraged to experiment to find their own unique visual solutions.
As a result, a graphic designer can help with your business decisions unrelated to their immediate area of expertise by showing you how to look at it from a different angle. If you’re at the beginning stages of a new project, think about involving your creative team members and see how differently they can approach a solution and how helpful this can be to the development of the project.
8. Inspire pride in your employees
If all of your internal communications, operations folders, website, and business cards are amateur and shabby they won’t inspire much pride in your employees. If they are created and polished by a professional graphic designer, however, your employees will acquire a whole different perspective of the company they are working for.
Good design inspires people. While it’s a bit more obvious that well designed external communications can attract new customers, internal communications are often overlooked. By creating a new website and polishing up internal communication materials your employees will consider themselves to be working for a cutting edge company. They might even become more likely to put in extra effort in helping the business succeed.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
With so much to offer your business it would be foolish not to find a graphic designer and get them involved in the mix at the next opportunity. As communication becomes increasingly visual and graphic design becomes increasingly critical to success online, you’ll need to act fast if you don’t want to be left behind.