All too often, graphic design is the element of branding and marketing that tends to get neglected. It's not uncommon for companies to do outstanding market research, plan their reach perfectly, and then see a campaign fizzle because of poor design work. Whether it's a forgettable or confusing logo, poor use of limited space, or a failure to understand designing for multiple media, there are a variety of ways that poor graphic design work can sabotage all of your other efforts. Having a design team capable of capturing attention, conveying information, and executing a plan across every platform is crucial for companies looking to grow their market share or get established in a competitive industry.
Cohesion is King
By far the most important benefit of quality graphic design is visual brand cohesion. Everyone knows that it's important for your brand to stand out, but it's just as important that you build a consistent visual identity. This not only makes your products and services more recognizable, it helps build trust with consumers. People want to know what to expect when they do business with a company, and having a strong visual identity lets them know that your brand can be trusted. Not only that, having a strong aesthetic makes it substantially easier to expand your business into new markets because customers are already familiar with your brand's identifying features.
...there are a variety of ways that poor graphic design work can sabotage all of your other efforts
Form & Flexibility
Successful graphic design requires a broad view of your long-term goals. It's easy to take each design task separately, but that can hamper the overall effectiveness of your branding. For example, let's say you need a new brand mark for your website. On a website, you have as much space and resolution to work with as your site design accommodates. Surely something huge and intricate would make great use of that space, right? Unfortunately, the huge size might not work on mobile. Even more importantly, that intricate logo isn't going to look nearly as attention-grabbing when you have to print it in a newspaper ad.
All of your design decisions should be made to fit into a broader marketing scheme. Where are you marketing right now? What kind of packaging are you producing? Where do you want to be a year from now? These are the kind of questions your design team needs to ask on every single task. You want the maximum return on your investment, and that means designing around your long-term goals so that every piece of design work your team produces has the maximum number of applications.
A Two-Way Street
Too many businesses think of the design-to-fulfillment workflow as only going one way. You design something, you send it off to a printer or manufacturer, and they follow the design. Smart designers know the importance of considering the fulfillment process while designing. Does the print shop you use have the ability to print the colors you're using? If the technology isn't capable of recreating your designs effectively, it doesn't matter how well-designed your work is. Expert designers know the practical limits of print shops and factories. They know which colors translate best across any form of printing, and how to design for cost-effective production. They know how to create finished products that translate seamlessly across multiple printing platforms.
...Where are you marketing right now? What kind of packaging are you producing? Where do you want to be a year from now?
Design for Results
When you invest in design work, understand every facet of the process from the creation to the execution. Know what you want to accomplish, where you want to go, and find the right partner to work with. You should only begin the design process once you know exactly what you're designing for. Proper planning and execution of your graphic design strategy helps prevent potential disasters and pushes your branding efforts to the next level. It can literally be the difference between an abject failure and a smash success. To get the most out of your campaigns, focus on quality graphic design that serves your larger purpose, can be executed cheaply and effectively on all platforms, and makes the best use of existing fulfillment technologies. A little planning coupled with strong design work by a talented designer is what it will take to maximize the results of your marketing efforts.