Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The Impact of Good Graphic Design on Your Business
Creating Your Brand Logo and Graphics Theme
In creating graphics for your business, "like" is not as important as "effective" and your visuals must be effective! There's no way to tell you what will or will not work for your business brand, however, there are some basics to consider:
1. THE LOGO DESIGN: Clean, crisp design lends itself to readability and multi-tasking. Your logo will be used for everything from a tiny little quarter inch avatar on social media to, possibly, use on clothing, stationery, signage, bill boards and maybe even a jumbotron! Create a busy, cramped logo with delicate lines and it won't be readable at all the sizes you may eventually require. When developing your logo, view all design options in a multitude of sizes for readability and impact.
It's not important that your logo contain an image of your product or service, it does not need any representative image at all. It's more important that your logo be clean and simple enough to be memorable and recognizable!
Get an original logo designed exclusively for you by a professional. You may be tempted to use some cheap clip art when creating your business logo to save start up costs. Don't. Not only could your design be used by many others who might then impart a negative impact to that design by bad business practices or products, but these are too generic for an effective logo. Additionally, on the technical side, these are not available to you in high resolution or all the formats and sizes you will need. BUT, the most important reason for an original logo design is this: Without a unique logo designed by a professional for your business alone you are throwing away your "memorability" and your chance to be recognized by one simple image!
You are not going to save money, in the long run you are going to be spending a whole lot more! Yes, you must build your brand before that image becomes completely associated with you and you alone, but you are going to build your brand anyway so why waste all that work on a sub-par logo design? Then, when you finally feel you can "invest" in a professional, unique, memorable logo, you will have to expend a lot of time (and money as you reprint every business card, sign, letterhead, envelope, shirt, whatever) imprinting your new design on your brand! A logo and graphics theme is an investment every smart business includes in their start up costs. Hire a professional. No, your next door neighbor's high school art student child is not a branding professional anymore than that clip art site is.
2. YOUR GRAPHICS IMAGERY: Your graphics theme includes background colors, headings, fonts, logo on headers and mastheads, layout style and other elements of all the media you will be participating in. This includes the web, business stationery, signage, media and more. You want your overall graphic style to be representative of the type of business you are building as well as the personality (image, brand) you want your business to project. If you're selling hunting boots to manly men it's probably not wise to choose a logo featuring a delicate flower and a theme featuring the color pink and a script style font. Let's face it, "delicate", and "flower" do not in any way relate to hunting, not does the color pink conjure up the hunting experience! If you happen to be a floral arranger then you're might* be good to go. Bright, colors and informal graphics would be the death of a funeral home (pardon my pun) but they would be ideal for a children's party entertainer.
When developing your overall business graphics imagery and visuals, think about what your business is, what your products are or will be, who your target market is and how your company is going to "present" itself in those terms. Businesses have a personality just like individuals do and this personality is a big part of your brand. Make sure you define your brand before you commit to designing a logo and a visual graphic theme for your company.
3. THE COLORS: Humans relate colors to feelings, memories and attitudes. There's a reason why IBM and many other mega-corporations use the color blue, the right shades of blue inspire the emotion of trust, as in "true blue". Other colors carry their own power as well, red often denotes energy or power, green is associated with Spring and money (and now, thanks to a brilliant marketing campaign - conservation!), pink is linked to young females and love; the list goes on. Color has impact and it is powerful, both for good and bad. Blue can generate feelings of trust, but using blue in something related to food could backfire on that intent! Selling a male-targeted malt liquor with pink colors could just get your poor malt liquor consigned to the "girly drink" grave. Spend some time researching color and its meanings, especially where it pertains to your business and pick your color(s) wisely.
Additionally, in this day and age of digital printing and the web it is less expensive to print in four color process, BUT you might be using your logo/graphics for alternate printing methods which do not support full color or are cost prohibitive for multiple colors. Your logo should support both a colored version and a black and white version if at all possible. When I design a logo I design it in black against a white background. If the design is strong and holds up then I proceed to the color stage.
4. THE FONTS: You have to consider not only the graphic itself but the fonts you choose for your visual graphics. Fonts carry their own unique personalities and challenges. Be aware of the "personality" of the font you choose and be mindful of how that font will reproduce in various sizes and formats.
5. PLAN FORWARD: You may have noticed that many very old, much respected brands have changed their logos in the recent past. This is because the graphics "dated" their products and business. It's very possible that the new age of digital media and social media had a large impact on these decisions as well; these types of media weren't even a twinkle in the eye of advertisers/marketers back in the day. Businesses that want to stay alive have to change with society and technology and their graphics need to change right alongside.
Another thing to keep in mind is where your business might grow in the future. You might be selling widgets now, but think about how your product line, business emphasis and personal goals could grow and change over the years. Yes, it's hard to see into the future and know where and how you might be using your logo and graphic design but try to be aware that your logo may have to be re-designed at some point and create one that gives you room for change without loss of your "recognizability".