How brand design contributes to business successOctober 30, 2019
Chapter 1: What's brand design?
One of the most important topics in the current corporate scenery is brand design. Brand design is defined by the Design Council, as “creativity deployed to a specific end”. Behind all the choices related to the graphics aspects of a brand, there’s the strategic goal to communicate defined values or characteristics to customers that belong to the final product or service.
In this sense, it is important that companies and their respective designers commit to having the appropriate knowledge on choosing a proper branding strategy complemented by design.
Brand design, in fact, allows your company to bring out its attributes and qualities, which help develop and contribute to the creation of a corporate identity. These combined influence the perception of the brand. For these reasons, good design must make uses of the most suitable colors, images, and fonts that preserve the company’s identity because brand design that is inconsistent with the brand essence gives the wrong perception of the company to customers.
Brand design must also focus on highlighting the functionality your product offers. This aspect refers both to the usability of the product and the quality of product performance. For example, if we have an e-commerce website, web design must encourage visitors to discover and purchase the offered products.
Graphics are an additional tool that allow you to differentiate yourself from competitors in many ways. They provide unique aspects to your identity, allowing you to become more easily recognised by your customers.
Through your logo and website design, you can create a stable presence in the market. Thus, the development of optimal graphics is fundamental to make customers notice the advantages that you offer to them, which are different from the competition.
Chapter 2: Why does brand design work?
Design is a fundamental aspect of the company’s success. In order to penetrate new markets, enterprises must develop products that meet their target customers needs and make them more attractive and desirable. Good visual representation can improve desirability greatly. Graphics also allow products that have lost some attention from the public to come back to the market through a rebrand.
If we think about that, a website can contain the most truthful and useful content for the readers, but without a good appearance, chances are, it will not be able to attract user attention. Graphic-poor websites lead to a boring experience for potential customers and don’t allow the company to convert them into real customers.
According to a Forbes’s study conducted in 2018:
38% of users will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive
39% will stop engaging with a website if the images don’t load
39% will stop engaging if the site takes too long to load.
On the opposite, the presence of colorful and well-structured graphics invites users to read the web page.
In the current business context, companies work in super-crowded markets of competitors and products. In recent years, the number of competitors in all types of markets has grown exponentially, making it even more difficult to lead the market.
The functional characteristics of the products are not enough to create diversification because, in a market like the current, where technology has reached a high level and companies have the same production process, the products end up being similar. In these conditions, one of the biggest problems for companies is to identify themselves with different values from their competitors and create a strong differentiation.
When the products are technologically similar, the difference perceived by customers is given by a company’s brand image. Below, you’ll find the importance of brand design.
In summary unique and great graphics:
Improves the quality of products, services, website, logo.
Allow collecting new interests
Differentiates products and company from competitors
Adds creativity and intellectual property
Chapter 3: Brand design resources
Now that we know why brand design works, let’s talk about the resources that can be fully exploited through the correct use of graphics.
Brand design is the management of relevant aspects within resources such as a website, logo, colors, font, images, symbols, and icons.
Every single resource of this list is fundamental to appeal to the public and improve the company’s image. Strategic development of these resources is necessary in order to achieve branding goals.
An effective graphics cannot overlook details, including small ones.
Web design is part of graphics related to website development. Together with the logo, the website is usually the first vision of the company for the users.
Web design includes both aesthetics, and functional aspects. Aesthetic aspects include content creation, web page layout, and colors, whereas functional aspects include usability, responsiveness, and speed.
An average customer doesn’t waste time visiting a slow, messy and difficult website to search for the needed information. For these reasons, it is fundamental for an effective website to make the navigation and the interaction as simple and intuitive as possible, without neglecting a good presentation.
Your website is a communication channel and so it is very important to carry out the company’s communication strategy ensuring coherence at a global level in every channel.
We define a logo as a symbol or name that distinguishes one brand from all others. A logo is one of the most important features of the company identity because it’s the main recognition tool of your company. It has a fundamental role for company brands in building customers loyalty and trust.
To be able to communicate the values and the personality of the company to the outsiders, it is necessary that colors, size, shapes and fonts are carefully and strategically chosen. The logo itself allows customers to make a clear idea of the brand identity.
An excellent representative logo allows you to make a good impression on your business and to position your brand into the mind of customers.
According to Forbes magazine, color improves brand recognition by up to 80 percent.
Studies also found that colors can arouse emotions in customers’ minds, although these are not univocal in everyone. Warm colors usually convey feelings of euphoria, while cold ones usually cause feeling of relaxation and calmness. However, it has been demonstrated that colors influence the purchasing process also because people make clear associations between colors and meaning.
For these reasons, the colors that represent your brand must be chosen depending on the type of product and company. It is important to make this choice considering the common association made by customers, in order to select colors that match with the brand identity and the communication strategy of the company.
Writing, like other types of visual communication, is fundamental because incorporates the message sent to customers. The message must be perceived clearly, and the choice of the right font is very important in order to emphasise the content. The addressee should be able to grasp the entire meaning as quickly and immediately as possible.
Is essential for the font to correctly distinguish the letters, words and sentences, and above all forward the correct message. For example one of the most common mistakes is to use a very small font or a low contrasting font.
Each type of font elicits certain emotions and associations in the reader’s mind, and that’s why before the decision about which one to use on any text, logo or brochure, it’s important to ask yourself what type of emotions and associations you want to arouse in the reader who will be reading the content.
3.5 Images; symbols; icons.
Images, icons, and symbols are also graphics resources that can reach with their employment the attention of customers or potential customers, allowing to express concepts in a faster, lighter and more persuasive way than writing. These too should be chosen based on the message you want to send.
When put into your website, these visuals should follow some criteria in order to allow your page to have a better search engine optimisation. Also, it is important to make the use and layout on the page orderly and pleasing for the eyes of the visitors.
These features allow you to be more efficient in comparison to the competition and appear first in the searches of browsers.
Chapter 4: The development of brand design in the years
The world of graphics has undergone profound renewals over the years.
Many of these changes derived from technological innovation which has led to the possibility of giving people a range of tools and solutions that make the design more intuitive and efficient. Years ago, nobody could imagine the current technological scenario and the quantity and quality of the available resources.
The graphic design in today’s market context has become more oriented in personal attributes, focusing more on customers’ requests, preferences, and needs.
In recent times, the choices and the development of the brand by companies have undergone several changes. The concept according to which the function of a brand was only to show a product or service, has evolved to become a strategic asset for every organisation.
All this signifies that attention has shifted from increasing sales to value development and brand development.
One of the major purposes that has reached the world of graphics is that graphics is no longer an aesthetic tool that convinces people to buy for the beauty and fashion of a particular product or service. Graphics, through the chosen colors, shapes, lines, symbols or images reflect and communicate their values and the principles of the company, bringing customers perceiving and grasping all of that.
Consequently, companies have increased their investments in graphics. If these investments are designed and implemented in the right way, a lot of times they lead to important economic returns.
Graphics are now part of every branding strategy. Therefore, the marketing area and the designers must work closely together to create the perfect brand design strategy.
Chapter 5: A costumer’s first impression of your business
We all know that the first impression is very important in any situation.
Whether you’re talking about choosing a product at the supermarket or talking to a person you are first approaching, the first thoughts and judgments that come to mind will influence how you behave.
This happens even more in the world of business, where attention to details and multiplicity of competitors will put you to the judgment of others from the first moment they meet your product/service.
For this reason, it is essential to have all the proper characteristics and values of your company rightly transmitted. Today one of the main ways in which a customer will meet your brand is surely the navigation within your website.
The first stage of the search process by a customer focuses on the relationship between the research model and the search terms that may be used to name possible websites.
The second stage of the search process focuses on the choice of a webpage. For this, is important to offer visual appealing to the website.
The last step is the decision of whether to elaborate on the website. In this way is important to regulate the pages layout, the logo and all the means with whom the company operates for brand design.
If the user experience is rated as positive, that perception is likely to stick with your visitor for quite some time. They will have successfully identified your company’s values and principles, and they will stick to them. Equally, if the impression is negative the visitor will shift their attention to the competitor’s sites and then it will be a difficult task to bring that user back to you.
Chapter 6: Roi of a graphics project
In assessing if brand design positively influences the business of companies, it’s necessary to understand if actually, the investment is effective and if it actually brings benefits to the company’s revenues.
There are situations where company management overlooks the benefits of digital marketing, hence they resist when it comes to an investment as they think that it doesn’t really bring value in terms of large-scale benefits. Therefore, investing in this aspect isn’t properly recognised as a key activity in business development and the investment could be seen simply as an embellishment of something that works, without giving an essential value to the service or product.
Although many times it’s difficult to quantify the exact contribution given to a single company sector, for the presence of other operational areas that work closely connected inside the company, however, there are empirical data based on past studies that confirm the efficiency of investments in brand design.
Research from Manchester Business School has shown that companies that invest in design, showed a 41% increase in sales. Furthermore, the studies confirmed that only 1 digital marketing project out of 10 does not bring profits to companies. This data makes us understand the financial and economic importance of investing in digital marketing.
Other important data concerning the return of investment (ROI) shows that a graphic investment helps investing companies to reach the break-even point (BEP) of the project after about 15 months.
Graphics projects are likely to be more immediate than other projects in ROI and for this reason, they should be taken whenever the company feels a need to do so. 41% of enterprises have an increase in sales even when a project is restored.
Design investments also involve other benefits such as stock savings, increased profit margins and improvements of brand reputation. As such, producing more than just money returns.
To make an effective marketing strategy, the key is to deeply study and understand the target for which the product/service is offered. Equally, in cost investment determination, it’s necessary to carry out a careful evaluation and to quantify the accounting entries that will be used.
Clearly, we shouldn’t only calculate the planning costs of investment and the related legal practices, but also the costs of distribution, research, and developments for the innovation process and also the costs of raw materials/stock, cost-opportunity of other projects.
Chapter 7: The benefit of brand design in business growth
In the previous paragraphs, we have widely discussed the role of design and its various benefits at brand perception level and corporate profitability.
To measure the non-economic benefits, it may be preferable to have a direct comparison with the subjects interested in that topic. In this way, it might be useful to ask questions that show the real strengths and weaknesses of the project. These include:
- Why do customers use the service?
- What improvements have led to greater use of the product?
- Did these improvements bring an ROI to prove the costs of the project?
- Has the company’s market share increased in the short-term or is it expected to in the long-term?
Feedback the company gets from answering these questions allows us to understand how the benefits of design investments are being reflected within the company.
Mainly the strengths of excellent brand design are:
7.1 Differentiation from competitors;
Differentiation from competitors happens because customers don’t become attached to specific products, but their mind tends to relate to brand and trust. With the correct brand design, customers find a product depending on the brand and the type of graphics used. In this case, the essence and values of the brand influence the customer’s choice and the preference between one competitor to another.
7.2 Build trust;
The right brand design allows you to transmit a feeling of trust to your target audience, ensuring them that they don’t need to look for other competitors for that product, as they are perfectly at ease with the values and characteristics that your product offers to them.
7.3 New customers;
Good graphics can also generate customers through free advertising, namely, word of mouth. It allows companies to get more customers thanks to the satisfaction offered from the product or service, from people they know. In order to take advantage of the benefits that come from word of mouth advertising, the company must be able to bring a unique and meaningful experience to the target. One way to do that is by creating a memorable brand design.
7.4 Customer retention;
Another fundamental aspect concerning a brand is the current customer retention. In this way is important to examine the tastes of customers’ overtime to understand if certain preferences have changed. In this case, is necessary to adapt to their needs. One of the major strengths of an efficient business model is to keep the retention rate as high as possible.
7.5 Brand recognition.
Brand recognition through the logo’s design is an important factor and expresses the fact that your brand, your way of relating to the market and the services offered are highly known. The design of the logo remains one of the most important branding aspects as it will be present in advertising, mail, brochures and all the marketing materials.
In conclusion we note the importance of developing a brand design strategy for every type of company, both small and large. This is necessary to be able to maintain an efficient business model and gain a competitive advantage over the competition. Marketing and graphics must go hand in hand. The objective is to allow the core business of the company to reflect the values and characteristics of the company in any design work. In this way your company can attracting the audience and building a relationship with your customer that remains in the customer’s mind overtime.
As a designer, understanding the ethos, values and unique selling points, is essential to defining its creative identity. Whether you’re looking at a brochure, a website or the full brand identity, executing this strategic process ensures that all visual touch points sit well together and tell the righy story for the brand.
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