Good design is good business.
From dating apps to online shopping, we choose products, services and people based on beauty.
Successful business owners know this well.
According to Adobe, companies with a strong design outperform companies with a weak design by 219% on the S&P Index (a stock market index) over the span of 10 years.
In fact, 48% of people surveyed by Tyton Media said that the website design of a business was their number one factor in determining the credibility of that business.
So not only is good design directly tied to success, it’s also tied to trust.
People don’t trust just anyone. As we previously wrote:
When people work with a company, they want to know they’re working with professionals. Investing in professional design shows that your business values professionalism and sends a powerful message to potential clients or customers. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and using a professional designer helps you make it as effective as possible. Investing wisely is key to sustaining and growing your business, and design is no exception.
Here are 7 proven reasons why good design is good business (and how you can use design to increase your small business revenues).
1. Good design makes a strong first impression.
Good design is about using colors, shapes, textures, space, forms, images, and content in a harmonious, balanced way.
Good design starts with a strong brand.
A great logo design can be the difference between blending in and standing out from the competition. But while we often recognize the value of a great logo, we don’t always prioritize it.
New business owners often incorrectly believe that a good logo will cost thousands or tens of thousand of dollars. As a result, they sometimes buy pre-made logos in an online logo store or try a do-it-yourself approach.
In fact, entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones who make the mistake of using generic logos- businesses of all sizes sometimes use logo shortcuts, only to find out that it’s even more expensive to rebrand later. After all, memorable logos are 13% more likely to get consumers attention, and 71.6% more likely to get a positive response from consumers. In a world of noise, that can make a big difference.
In the digital age, companies only have a matter of seconds before a customer makes up their mind.
Those few seconds are crucial because they can make or break a sale – and design plays a huge role in the deciding factor.
For example, it only takes people 10 seconds to form a first impression of a brand’s logo, but it takes 5-7 impressions for consumers to recognize the logo. (for more on logo design, we recommend you read 2018 Logo Design Trends: Your Guide To Navigate Hot Trends and Avoid Fads).
Numerous studies confirm the importance of first impressions. As we summarized in Why Good Design is More Important Than Ever for Your Business:
People have a very short attention span. In fact, according to a Princeton University study, snap judgments count. The study found after seeing a face for only 1/10th of a second people formed opinions about that person. Judgments were made on attractiveness, likeability, and trustworthiness, and prolonged exposure to that face just reinforced the initial impression.
The same goes for websites. Three studies found that a mere 50 milliseconds were all people needed to form an opinion about a website. Google performed similar testing and found an even slimmer margin: a speedy 17 to 50 milliseconds were all people needed to decide how they felt about a website.
Good design is a signal to customers that they should buy from you.
This is true not only online, but also for physical products.
We all want to believe that consumers make decisions on products and services strictly based on merit, with the best one winning. In spite of that hope, psychologists and retailers agree that in many cases this just isn’t true. Quality aside, sometimes the flashier, prettier or sexier product wins the day.
So what does this mean for retailers and product manufacturers? What it means is that creating a terrific product is only part of the formula for sales success. Packaging it perfectly, complete with eye-catching graphics and colors, is just as important to your financial success.
2. Good design helps your business stand out.
If you thought you had no competition, think again.
Every company, no matter the industry, faces a hefty amount of competition.
If your designs are current, modern and impressive, people will just gravitate towards your products. It’s a fact of life. The next time you go to the grocery store, browse a random isle that you never look through and ask yourself which items on the shelves catch your eye first. I guarantee it’ll be the products with phenomenal design, branding and modern packaging.
Creating a successful product, service or website is all about getting eyeballs to it. What if you can spend less money but generate more eyeballs just because something looks better than the others? Would you not take the time to invest more upfront to get those kinds of results? That’s the great thing about good design, you don’t have to spend more but you’re automatically able to generate more attention.
Human beings have an attractiveness bias; we perceive beautiful things as being better, regardless of whether they actually are better. All else being equal, we prefer beautiful things, and we believe beautiful things function better. As in nature, function can follow form.
3. Good design builds customer relationships.
Since relationships are based on emotion, customers are often emotionally connected to a company.
If you look at the crowdspring site, for example, you’ll see that we leverage this in many ways.
For example, to showcase the emotions someone may go through when seeing a beautiful design, we use a fun illustration to show that crowdspring’s clients will get a design their customers will love:
Good design makes it easier to create emotional connections. As we pointed out previously:
Great designs use color, layout, and smart font choice to connect to their consumer in meaningful, emotionally driven ways. Incorporating impactful, memorable, and emotional connection in the visual display of your brand is the best way to show the world who you are and what your brand stands for.
Your designs should support the principles you have built your company around, and strive to reach your customers’ hearts (rather than their wallets).
Create valuable, sustainable customer relationships by building your brand’s visual identity on the foundation of emotional connection. There’s no better way to secure consumer loyalty than by connecting you through your shared values, and a great design is the most effective way to illustrate them.
Good design is not only a reason why your customers become customers – it’s also why they stay.
For more on creating strong emotional connections with your customers, we recommend you read 7 Marketing Psychology Tips to Improve Your Business Marketing and The Psychology of Design: Why Your Business Must Understand How Design Influences Customer Behavior.
4. Good design keeps your website easy to use.
Good design is not just what looks good.
To be effective, design needs to perform a specific function.
Good design is about how something looks and works.
A well-designed website, for example, helps convert visitors into customers.
When people have attention spans that are shorter than that of a goldfish, you know you don’t have a lot of time before someone gives up.
According to a study by Microsoft Corp., the average human attention span has declined by 4 seconds since 2000.
Today, that attention span is 8 seconds, while a goldfish clocks in at 9 seconds.
While the difference seems small at first, it’s actually a pretty big deal.
With good design, websites and online products are easier to navigate and bounce rates are usually lower.
When people encounter poorly designed sites, they are more likely to give up because they can’t find what they are looking for or it takes too long to find the information they seek.
Signs that a website is easy to use includes a simple display of information, no middle-man steps, and no bells or whistles.
Good design and good usability aren’t about information overload or tons of animations – it’s about giving the customer the bare minimum that they need while still expressing your brand.
If your website isn’t intuitive, it’s hurting your business. (for more on this, we recommend you read 7 Signs It’s Time To Update Your Small Business Website).
That’s why good design doesn’t just entail pretty graphics or typography, it also involves user experience design and workflow.
To learn more about how good design can make your website easy to use, check out 6 Ways User Interface and User Experience Design Can Help Your Business and Grow Your Small Business With These 7 Website Design Best Practices.
5. Good design promotes brand consistency.
It would be strange if Google suddenly started displaying search results in a cursive font. Or if McDonald’s decided to change up their logo depending on the day.
If you’re cringing, it’s probably because you’ve never tried to imagine a purple McDonald’s logo or a script Google search results page.
We don’t blame you.
The layout of Google’s search results and the McDonald’s logo are more than just design elements for the companies, they’re a part of their brand.
Because those designs are so memorable, it’s hard to imagine them changing, and that’s a really good thing.
Consistency is key when it comes to creating a cohesive brand.
That’s because the brand ties the customer to the emotions.
When a brand is inconsistent, it seems chaotic and disorganized.
People don’t want to get involved with chaotic brands because they trust the company less. As we wrote previously:
Put another way, your brand is your company’s public identity. Ideally, your brand should embody the best (and most essential) attributes of your company. That’s pretty unlikely to occur if you leave your branding to chance.
Start by making deliberate, informed choices about what elements of your company’s personality and service philosophy should be featured. And once you’ve laid the groundwork, the key to branding success is consistency.
Customers can’t get to know (and trust) your business if they don’t have the opportunity to experience your brand in a consistent manner. Here are some compelling ways that consistent branding ban strengthen your business:
Easy brand recognition leads to positive associations.
Consistency provides an advantage over the competition.
Increased perceived value leads to higher sales.
6. Good design is the key to social media success.
If you thought you only needed a well-designed website to succeed, think again.
Many of today’s marketing efforts are done on social media platforms.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other platform, social media is one of the best ways to connect to customers, go viral, and make a name for your company.
But in the age of aesthetics, you won’t get far with your social media strategy with poor designs.
Buffer took a look at the effect of graphics on social media engagement on Twitter. In their research, they found that tweets with images received 150% more retweets than those without any images. A closer look at these images showed that companies often took the time to post something more than a stock photo.
Customers aren’t the only ones that agree good design helps companies on social media platforms. 60.8% of marketers said that in 2017, design was essential to their marketing strategies. And 93% agreed that it was very important.
Without design, marketing messages boil down to plain text and this approach rarely catches people’s attention.
7. Good design makes you money.
We pointed out that good design is good business and hopefully, you’re beginning to understand why that’s true.
Ultimately, good design increases your company’s value, boosts sales, and puts your business in a better financial situation.
Through building trust, making strong first impressions, building customer relationships, and even executing successful campaigns, good design helps make your business more profitable.
At the end of the day, the technology or the differentiating factor in your business can only take you so far.
Take Facebook and MySpace as an example. Both platforms set out to do the same thing: connect people to one another. At one point, it was significantly more popular to have a MySpace account than it was to have a Facebook account.
Today, a MySpace account is the equivalent of a flip phone. It’s Facebook’s clunky, uglier relative.
Facebook’s sleeker, more intuitive design helped Facebook become the dominant social network in the U.S. Facebook is now valued at over $440 billion, while MySpace is valued at around $35 million.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Even though your business is small today, a good design can help it be big tomorrow.
Arielle Kimbarovsky is a marketing intern at crowdspring – one of the world’s leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. Kimbarovsky is also a writer, artist and an undergraduate student in the School of Communications at Boston University.