Why Graphic Design Matters in Business

By Nhan Nguyen, MD, JD, MSF, Chairman

Often owners of businesses, small and large, overlook one of the most critical aspects of business and marketing – graphic design.  Whether stating a mission statement, trying to communicate what the business sells or markets, or attempting to market a promotion, businesses typically approach the strategy as, just “put the word out” and hopefully they will come.  However, that is often not the case.

That’s because often the message has not been communicated effectively textually AND visually.  Reflect on all the ads, marketing promotions or copy that you have seen throughout the years trying to pitch you something, either a product, service or goal.  Likely the most memorable and impactful business campaigns included a “visual hook”, or something to pull you into the message, something to elicit an emotional response or a reaction to connect you to the message.

Therein lies the key reason why graphic design matters in business.  Effectively communicating through words is important.  Tying those effectively communicated words with a visual context provides the “visual hook” needed in business, the emotional response to cause an audience to take action – whether it be to use a service, buy a product or to commit to a goal.  The old adage of “a picture says a thousand words” could, in turn, be stated in business as “a picture can mean a thousand (or more) dollars”.

How does a company utilize graphic design effectively?
The following list are just a few ways to utilize graphic design in creating that visual hook:
  1. Create an impactful first impression. As they say, “you only get one bite at the apple”.  That applies in marketing as well.  You only have one chance to make a first impression.  And conclusions about a first impression takes only a few seconds to make.  Does your first impression make your business appear credible?  Does it instill confidence in your product or service?
  2. Tell your story through design.  What is your company about?  What’s the history of your company?  What are your company’s mission and values?  Rather than verbose text that a client would have to read to understand your company, effective graphic design can effectively communicate these ideas in a single visual.  Bold colors, simple design, fine detail, all each signify a different meaning to the audience that can elicit a feeling toward what your company is about.
  3. Branding your company. Ever wonder why there are thousands of McDonald’s restaurants across the country and internationally? One often cited reason for the success of McDonald’s restaurants is because a Big Mac in Seattle will taste almost the same (if not exactly the same) as a Big Mac in Miami.  The same could be said about the entire menu.  The message here is that consistency in product or service is what makes repeat customers.  The same can be said about branding your company with effective graphic design.  Consistency in branding your company and associating your branding with quality products or services will create and retain customers for the long-term.  That’s because consistency through branding creates an association your customers can rely on.  Mention the “golden arches” and what do you think of first?
  4. Compel your audience to action. Good communication in business is not only about informing. Effective business communication should be more about converting.  Converting your audience into believers of what your company is about and taking stock in your story.  This in turn compels the audience into action to buy your product, use your service or take part in your goals.  Tying words with graphic design, in a sense, can impose upon your audience to help make a decision – a simple decision – to act or not act.  Effectively used graphic design should be compelling enough to cause an audience to act.

Of course there are many more ways and goals for utilizing effective graphic design in business.  This short list should be at the forefront for any business embarking on the usage of graphic design in their communication and promotions strategy.  Because this strategy is so critical to businesses, finding a solid graphic design firm with creative ideas and enthusiasm is a wise investment on the front end and in the long term.  As the old adage states, “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a meal.  Teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime.”  And with the creation of effective “visual hooks” your business can be fishing for customers for the long term as well.

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