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Create Your Graphic Design Strategy in 5 Steps

Learn why it’s important and how to create a graphic design strategy for your business in these simple steps.

Wait, graphic design strategy? Does that mean you shouldn’t just get whatever you need to be designed then and now?

This is a common misconception among small business owners that ends up costing them a lot of money. Whether it’s a failed marketing campaign or a brand design that fails to create a buzz and impress customers, creating a design strategy early on is a very smart thing to do, since. design and business are inseparable.

Here’s how to create a graphic design strategy in your business

why do you need a design strategy?​

Design thinking is a business approach of using  (user experience)design to help customers solve real problems. For example, instead of focusing on how an app looks, design thinking will make sure that it also has a practical use for which a target market has a real need. Or, instead of just creating a nice-looking graphic for social media this approach can ensure that people get real value from it (whether it’s in the form of information or guiding them to your website that can help solve a particular problem).

Here are some eye-opening stats about design-focused companies. 

So, instead of using design just as a tools propel your marketing goals,  make sure that it’s an integral part of your brand and marketing strategy. Instead of creating a design for the sake of it, think about how this design impacts your brand image and what value it brings to your target audience.

Create a memorable logo

good-logo-qualities

when you think about the huge corporation like coca-cola, mcdonald’s or nike the first thing that comes to mind isn’t their well-known product, but rather their logo. you’ve seen these logos so many times that it’s impossible separate them from the things you actually purchase (there are many very similar drink to coke, but when we crave coca-cola, we all actually go straight for the iconic red and white packaging and logo).

logo is important for your business or several reason:

  • it makes your brand memorable: otherwise, you’re likely selling just another similar product on the market.
  • it makes you stand out from the competition: think of coca cola and pepsi; the two rival drinks are very similar in taste, but you’d never mistake one company’s logo for the other.
  • it shows professionalism and builds trust: although it does happen that a sloppy logo stands for a great product, this is usually not the case. the companies that are willing to pay for a professional logo design probably show the same level of care and dedication to creating their products and services.

there are many type of logos to choose from, and logo design is probably the area of graphic design where you shouldn’t  be too focused on current trends. favor simplicity over intricate designs as this will help you ensure your logo can stay relevant longer. think of what makes sense for your brand and adequately represents your values, offering and your customers.

Build a brand identity

a logo is the foundation of your brand identity: the way your brand looks. creating a graphic design strategy includes choosing some basic design elements (compiled in the brand guide) that you will use in creating different visuals for your brand. these elements are:

  • colors
  • typography
  • graphical elements: illustrations and icons
  • photos: what kind of aesthetic you use

choosing a color scheme is one of the most important design decisions you’ll have to make. color theory and color psychology study the way colors are mixed and perceived by us, so you’ll definitely need a professional designer on board to help you choose a combination of colors that makes sense for your brand (a simple “i like it” probably won’t help you relay the right type of message to your perfect customer).

typography comes in so many styles and variations that the decision can be quite overwhelming at first. this also means that often many different types of fonts will fit a certain design, but remember that you need consistency to build brand awareness. for example, since facebook started out as a fun college social media, you might think that a youthful script font would work just fine. but if you consider the issue of legibility, and how this font will pair with others used on the actual platform, you can see that the crisp and modern sans serif makes a much better choice. 

a detailed brand guide will also include the type of graphic elements used by your brand. you may not opt against using illustrator if you want to present yourself as very professional and corporate-looking. and instead use simple vector icons. or, if you use stock images, you can choose to use them in the altered way to clarify your brand so that you can still retain a strong sense of brand identity.

Create a great website

Graphic-table-infographic

For startups, websites replace physical storefronts, so when it comes to website design there’s really no room for mistakes. Moreover, with the ever-increasing growth of ecommerce and more people browsing businesses online, it’s critical to have a high-quality website.

Here are some website design statistics to note

In the other words, a poorly designed website means won’t be interested in learning about your company or purchasing your products. So it’s far to say that a bad website equals less profit. Effective website design consistency of two things a good user interface (UI) and a positive user experience (UX).

The first refers to the look and feel of a website that inspires trust and helps guide customers in a way that’s easy to understand. The latter refers to a broader concern of helping customers solve a particular problem through good design (e.g. if you’re using a site to purchase an item, good user experience means an integrated payment gateway, interactive tools that allow you to explore a product and prompt feedback on actions taken, such as completed purchases).

Your design strategy will help you define what kind of a website you need (Blog, ecommerce, etc) and what is your web design budget. Luckily, these days there are plenty of routes you can take to get a custom website: from big web design companies to easy and affordable website builders.

Set your goals

Measuring the effectiveness of design is never easy and without strategic goals, it may even be an impossible task: when creating a marketing or brand strategy make sure to set goals that are smart, or: 

  • Specific: it goes without saying, but to achieve goals you first have to have goals. When implementing a new design strategy, make sure you set specific weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual goals that will help you stay on track.
  • Measurable: whether it’s the number of likes on social media or a number of new signups, make sure you include quantifiable metrics (even if, of course, these metrics don’t relate exclusively to design but also other things such as market research, position and so on).
  • Attainable: being ambitious is great, but keep your goals within reason, based on your previous experience and performance. That way you’ll be able to assess more accurately whether your design strategy is working or not.
  • Relevant: if you’re at the early stages of your business, you can’t expect to double your profits overnight; focus first on the relevant tasks, for example building brand awareness and nurturing relationships with a handful of early adopters.
  • Time-based: give yourself a deadline to achieve a specific goal, rather than have a design strategy in place that predicts results “in the unforeseeable future”.

Once you have this framework in place, it will be easier to determine whether or not your design strategy is working. For example, if you’re not sure about brand identity design, consider creating a focus group and ask people about their opinions and impressions of your designs.

Set yourself apart from your competitor

slack-quote

necessary step in creating a design strategy for your business is researching the competition. You need to know what kind of visual styles your target audience is expecting in order to create something that’s both appropriate and original.

The second reason why slack became so successful was high-quality design. From the vibrant, colorful interface that sets it apart from rigid, old email tools, to a great user experience that allow for simple integration with a number of other tools, slack gave clients something no one else was offering. But what’s truly remarkable about it that in its essence the idea is almost unbelievably simple: it’s a chat tool. but great design helped make it a one-of-a kind product.

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