Why investing in good design is so important
There’s a great temptation to do things simply, quickly and cheaply. With website template tools, knock-off Adobe apps for iPads, iPhone photography and endless stock photos, that temptation is stronger than ever. But overreliance on these tools can lead to design that’s uninspired and almost identical to the competition. If you want good design to help your brand achieve success, now more than ever, professional designers are essential.
This is because good design is in the details. These details can be things that wouldn’t initially grab your attention, but they’re pivotal to making you stand out among all of your competitors. Take your website as an example. Details like microinteractions and hover states make your design more personal and uniquely you while also adding an additional layer of engagement and visual interest.
When you invest in your own brand and materials, you’re promoting an image, telling a story and sharing a part of your company that differentiates it from the rest. And in doing that, you are investing in something that you will be proud of, that is distinctive and professional and that, ultimately, pays off. And that’s the danger of the DIY tools I mentioned before. When your work looks the same as every other company in your space, users will never feel a personal connection to your brand, and they might even find it untrustworthy or unprofessional. Investing in good design will make an impression and leave a lasting mark in the minds (and often hearts) of your key audiences.
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”
This isn’t to say that there’s no place for templatized e-commerce sites. If you’re getting the results you want from a simple WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) site, that’s great. But the important thing is to be critical about the quality.
If it looks generic–like a standard, basic template–think about what you can do to take your design to the next level. As a first step, take some time to reflect on your brand and ask yourself: “Where could my design be making a bigger impact?”
“Design is thinking made visual.”
One simple place to start is to think about the relationship between your design and social media, something that’s especially important in a time when brick and mortar is being struck hard by the pandemic. More and more companies are treating their social media presence as a branded asset piece.
Take Instagram, a highly visual platform that allows you to engage and communicate with your customers through pictures. Too often, companies rely on shaky iPhone videos instead of good photography, videography and illustrations. In order to use the tool effectively, be sure to think holistically. Consider things like how your posts will look when placed side by side in the grid, and how this makes your brand translate across the board. A great example of this done well can be found on the Facebook Life Instagram page.
To learn about how Facebook has come to count on One North as a strategic partner in helping shape the Employment brand experience, visit onenorth.com/work/facebook.
Use your style guide to set up guidelines and templates that help maintain consistency. Layering the composition of your images and focusing on your typography will also ensure your content is cohesive and looks polished.
If you’re taking photos on your smartphone, be sure to consider lighting and composition. Apple has some good advice if you’re looking to educate yourself on the best way to shoot with a camera phone. There are also various ways of elevating your content by using programs such as Photoshop to apply filters and color correct. When creating these assets, treat it like any other asset creation you are doing.
Investing in good design will make people want to engage with your page, click on a post and, ultimately, go to your website. As you take users through this journey, they will see the uniformity in your design translate to your overall brand and aesthetic, reinforcing the impression that your brand is trustworthy and driving loyalty.
These days, everyone has access to a camera or some DIY platform. Focusing on the details and what makes you different will ensure your designs not only perform, but look damn good too.
As a Design Lead at One North, Katherine uses her artistic and problem-solving skills to create visual concepts that engage and convert. With a strong background in web design and branding, Katherine is capable of creating useful designs for the client that function well on both the front and back end.
Favorite breakfast food: Breakfast tacos!
Favorite Chicago spot: I will always recommend Parson’s Chicken and Fish.