Cohesive design throughout your brand ties together your company image and tells a story; vital in winning new business, but it’s often overlooked or ignored because it’s an expensive, overwhelming task for even the most seasoned business owner.
If there’s one thing that Mold believes in, it’s that great branding is everything in business and we’ve given you an insight below into where to save ££ and what not to scrimp on.
Why is a Graphic Designer so valuable?
Even if you’ve only tasked a graphic designer with reviewing your logo, they will also consider how your logo might look against the rest of your branding materials; social media profiles, headed paper, email signatures etc. You might never see these mockups, but they exist, if only to ensure your logo ends up adaptable and appropriate, something that won’t need to be changed in 3 years time.
A graphic designer comes with not only a creative eye but knowledge of the branding process and a bigger vision for your company’s image. While you are in the eye of the storm, they are seeing the whole company at its best and worst.
Aside from the creative vision, a designer comes with a specific skill set and the knowledge on which tools to use to deliver the best graphics and for which purpose.
These are great reasons to invest regularly, not just in the initial branding but to have a graphic designer professionally polish off any material that might represent the company.
However, paying a professional to put together every Facebook post or event invitation could be costly and many companies skimp on this, winging it in some form or another.
Great reasons not to splash out on a graphic designer:
- The tools available to the average person these days are fantastic; you don’t necessarily need photoshop or illustrator knowledge
- Your local professional printing shop will be able to help you check the quality, colours and crop
- If, like many modern businesses, most of your design work is for Social Media; you’ll likely need a number of different posts each month and using a template you can simply edit the content (and not the design) for each one.
You will have to put your Design Thinking hat on, though you may not be the most creative type and that’s okay. A little planning goes a long way and can help you keep your designs creative, cohesive and importantly; functional.
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown
You need to consider not only its aesthetic appeal but also whether it is going to meet its original objective. It’s easy to get carried away with how nice something is turning out, and that’s important, but more important is whether the message is clear and whether it makes the audience feel something particular (e.g envy of the new Mercedes or angry about plastic in the ocean etc).
But what do you do when you need it on a budget and you need it asap?
4 tips for a company without access to a designer
Always invest in your initial branding.
- This will set the guidelines for everything you produce later and give you your logo in high quality so you can use it later yourself.
Set a branding guide
- Every marketing assistant, administrator, director, web developer and his cat should get a copy of this. There are a few simple tricks to cohesive branding; fonts and colour. By setting rules on specific colours that can be used, which fonts and when, you’ll be sure that everything will be to a certain standard.
- This can also cover email and other communication that employees might have on behalf of your company (there’s nothing worse than blue cursive font in an email).
Know your tools
- Canva.com – a simple, free(ish) platform that helps you put together great publications with just a drag and a drop.
- Piktochart.com – similar to Canva but built for infographics and more detailed publications
- Pictaculous.com – if you’re looking for colours that complement your company colour/s, Pictaculous can take colours from an image you upload (e.g. logo) and suggest a palette that works together beautifully
Have a plan
- Everything you create should be part of a bigger plan, just like the designer who will think about your logo in many different contexts; you need to consider if what you’re creating also needs to match other items later down the line.
- It might seem time-saving to quickly put together a new Facebook Cover Photo promoting a networking event, do the rest later you say! We say it’s best to do it all in one sitting so it feels cohesive.
Effectively, there are two arguments when it comes to design; one is that you should absolutely follow design trends as they come and go and the other is that design should be timeless and never go out of fashion.
Dieter Rams; the godfather of product design and inspiration for Apple products argues that design should be beautiful regardless of the decade it was made in. Read more about Dieter Rams and the 10 Design Commandments.
Modern branding, however usually follows design trends with major companies like Instagram adopting gradients. You can read our predictions on trends for design 2017 here.
We’ve got a new shiny team page on Behance; check out our work.