With the average small business set to spend $75,000 this year on digital advertising, it’s essential that you don’t overspend on design. However, cutting corners on design can reflect poorly on your brand’s image. With just a few clever graphic design tips, your team can communicate the high quality of your brand’s image without you having to blow your budget.
You only get one chance at a first impression. This is why communication design is so essential to small businesses competing with businesses of all sizes. Getting the attention of customers is the most important step to getting them to enter your sales funnel.
If your team is struggling with finding their voice in graphic design for your brand, follow these 9 tips to ensure you stake out your claim.
1. Text Needs To Be Legible
When you’re coming up with a logo or a design scheme for your brand, you need to make sure that you’re making a bold and clear statement. Coming up with a unique font is important to help you to stand out from the rest of the pack. However, this can be very tricky when you also need to make sure your message and your position are clear.
Choosing a simple font like Helvetica will ensure that people can read everything in your design. The only problem is that so many people are already using that font. If you need something unique, you’ll have to do some digging through free font websites.
Just be sure that the font you pick says something about who you are without being illegible. Serif fonts, with accents and curls, can speak to a kind of creativity or institutional history. Sans serif fonts are better for cleaner, more corporate looks.
Be sure to know your font types before you finalize your design.
2. Choose a Single Color Scheme
Choosing a color scheme puts your design on a certain kind of track. A simple two-color, monochrome and color combination like blue and gray will lend your company a sort of cleanliness. You’ll communicate your professionalism with just a simple color choice.
If your company is in a more creative industry, you can broaden your color scheme to three colors. One should be a neutral color like gray, black, or white, which the other two should be complementary. Because you’re creating a kind of aura with these colors, you can use related shades on your website and promotional materials.
Have two secondary colors that you’ll use, perhaps softer toned versions of your two existent color choices, and you’ll be creating a world of color. Choose a unique combination and you can be able to communicate who you are without people actually having to read the information you’re sharing.
3. Use The Same Logo Everywhere
Once you come up with a logo, you’ll have to be sure that it works on every venue. When you have an old logo on one social media channel and a new one on another, you look confused as a brand. Be sure that you have a consistent look wherever your customers find you.
The point of your logo is to create a memorable mark in the minds of your customers. When you have one single logo wherever people are looking for you, they start to associate your brand with the logo and a certain quality of work. Incorporate it in printed materials, business cards, signage, digital media, and at the end of every email you send out.
You need to constantly display your logo to ensure that people remember it. It takes a few encounters with an image before people can associate it with a brand.
4. Workshop Your Logo and Get Feedback
When you’re creating a new logo, you’ll go through several drafts before you find the perfect balance. Once you’ve come up with a few ideas that you think could work–never settle on one right away–ask friends, family, and colleagues what they think. While it can be hard to swallow criticism, know that no one means anything maliciously.
You don’t have to change everything based on what people around you say but you should consider their ideas. They might very well be your audience after all.
Your logo should go through several cycles of feedback before you settle on it. Don’t come up with an idea and then just throw it out there. Sleep on it, even if you think you’ve got the perfect idea.
5. Hire A Professional Designer
Hiring a professional designer is one of the best graphic design decisions you can make for your company. While most small business owners like to take matters into their own hands and control the details of their business, not everyone can do everything.
Hiring a professional designer can allow you to put some of the tasks that might have taken you days or weeks to finish in someone else’s hands. This way, you can step away and work on the other important elements of your business. This will also give you much needed critical distance from the design work
If you’re designing books or any kind of printed materials, be sure you’re hiring someone who specializes in book design services. While many great designers could theoretically design a beautiful book, finding someone with relevant experience will make your design stick out. Every medium has a certain number of standards and hurdles that someone with experience in the medium can help you tackle.
6. Stay Low-Concept
While you might want to communicate complex theoretical concepts in your design, keep it simple. Your logo or your design should communicate a few general ideas based on what is expected in your industry. Other than that, you shouldn’t try to cram your whole philosophy into a few simple visual elements.
Start off by attracting customers and clients to your company. With the right set of images and colors, you can share your perspective. There’s no need for your commercial real estate company to shape every letter like a building or your therapy office to shape the Os like brains.
You can turn people off by being a little bit too on the nose.
7. Design For Mobile Devices
Given that mobile browsing has firmly surpassed desktop browsing in recent years, there’s a strong argument to be made for designing “mobile first”. More of your customers and clients will be encountering your products and services for the first time via their phones and tablets. Ensure that you look great as you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Your designs should be at the resolution that is currently the standard for mobile screens. Make sure that if you’re doing a website redesign or launching for the first time that you’re privileging mobile screens. It’s much easier to make a mobile-responsive sitelook good on a desktop than to squeeze a desktop site onto a mobile device.
Talk with your designers about their experience with designing for mobile. They should be able to describe the process and make you feel confident in their capability.
8. Don’t Make Browsers Do The Work
When you’re uploading images and displayable files, make sure that they’re already fitted to the limitations of your website or email template. Rather than have browsers do all the size recalculation, upload files that are already at the resolution you need them to be.
When browsers need to recalculate image sizes, their display time lags. It takes longer for sites to display images that aren’t already optimized for viewing.
If your email template or website is only 800 pixels wide, don’t make the browser try to calculate a 2,500-pixel image down to look good. It will inevitably have trouble making it display at the perfect proportions you want.
9. Optimize For Speed
Optimizing your images is one of the first steps to ensuring that your site loads quickly on any browser. Uploading big images and complex designs will take longer to load and slow your customer interaction online. This can get them to steer clear of your site and turn to one of your competitors.
Keep your designs simple and you won’t have to deal with slow load times. Search engines will rank you higher if your designs load quickly. This is where design and customer behavior overlap and result in an improved user experience and increased engagement with your sales funnel.
10. Do Your Research
Opposition research is essential in any field. You should take a look at what your competitors are doing right and what they’re doing wrong. Figure out how to avoid their mistakes and brainstorm on how to build on their successful ideas.
Graphic Design Tips Can Save You Time and Money
When you’re budgeting out for your graphic design costs, labor costs can add up quickly. Good design doesn’t come cheap but if you can follow the above tips and have a good idea of what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to lower your costs. A few graphic design tips can go a long way.
If you’re struggling to create the perfect high-resolution logo, check out our guide for tips.