Why is design so important?

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DesignFrom the StudioProduct DesignUser ExperienceWeb Design

Warning, warning! Understandably I believe heavily in the power of design but hear me out. To me design matters, always has, always will.

I believe design is the number one way you will attract your perfect client. You need to know every tiny thing about your client demographic, as it will affect how you portray your business and your brand.

Your client demographic will influence your brand’s:

  • Colour choices
  • Marketing materials
  • Website
  • Tone of voice in text
  • Price point

Let’s start with a cheap brand:

This is for the people with a cheap service, for the people working with a ‘sell it cheap and stack them high’ approach. You just want to get it out to the mass market. You want everyone to buy it and you know it’s cheap. The best example I can think of is EasyJet.

EasyJet is a budget airline travel company. They are super cheap and proud of it. Everything about them looks and feels cheap; it’s all part of their brand. Orange in design is very much seen as a value colour, so it’s no surprise that they’ve chosen this as their brand colour.

Their websites are basic and functional. They don’t want them to look fancy and premium as nothing else they do is. They’re purposely making themselves look cheap because that’s their market. They know what they offer and that is cheap flights.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the premium colours, such as dark blue and regal purple. For example, Cadbury Dairy Milk was originally in purple because the colour purple was so expensive to print. They wanted the brand to be premium and expensive. So without any indication of price, you could have looked at the wrapper, back when it was first launched, and know it was expensive.

Ok, sweeping statement time! That is “You get what you pay for”. If you spend £5K on a car you know it’s probably very old or very cheap. It won’t be very fast, the build quality is likely to be low, but it will do the job.

Spend £40k on a car and you can get yourself a nice BMW. It’ll be quick and it’ll come with leather seats that are super comfortable. It’ll be nice to drive and will last ages. Now both of the cars do the exact same thing, they take you from point A to point B. But there’s a reason most people want the BMW, it’s the feeling it gives its owners. There are hundreds of cheaper options, but people line up to purchase the BMW because it’s designed to look and feel premium.

This dedication to the details and how you come across should be ingrained into your business. For example, if you’re selling an expensive product which is £3000 per item, you can’t spend £500 on your website and £500 on your branding, as the quality of the work will be sub-par and will cheapen how you come across.

Let’s use another example. We had a client selling bean bags. It was a really decent sized business and had awesome people running it too. So they were the perfect business to get involved with. Their entire business rested on their website. All marketing funnelled people to the site and the only way to order a bean bag was through their site. But they were always having the same issue, people were buying their cheapest options and if they did get calls or messages on live chat, it was always about the quality. They would even get reviews left saying they were surprised at the quality of their products! So there was this big issue with how the public perceived them. Now their bean bags weren’t cheap by any means. We’re talking £200+ for a bean bag, so, from a price point of view, they were a top tier seller.

The issue arose by how they appeared. Their brand, website and marketing material all made them look cheap and cheerful. This explained why people only bought their cheapest offerings; they were the only ones they trusted from them. Now this just goes to show the power of design. When the bean bag company started out they did all the design themselves. They didn’t know any different.

With their new range of bean bags they were releasing, and the growing number of students and young professionals purchasing bean bags, they knew they had to change.

We did this in small steps with them, to prove our theory. We first changed their colour from bright orange to blue, which made a huge difference to their look and sales. Secondly, we got them to invest in new photography. Great photography is an excellent way to add credibility to any of your marketing. It’s so easy to take a photo on your phone now, that companies that do invest in top quality photography stand out and notice the change almost immediately. The impact of these changes made a huge difference to their turnover.

Now is the time to take a step back and really make a decision on if you’re attracting the right market for you. Setting realistic budgets is also going to be needed. If you’re only spending £500 on your design work but charging your service out at £10k, then you’re going to have a huge problem selling. In all likelihood, your current, cheaper appearance is devaluing your main offering. It’s as simple as that.

There is a well-known rule called “the 5 second rule”. It’s the rule that you have made a judgement on someone or something within the first 5 seconds.

Let’s discuss some of the worst things that happen.

  • You’re wearing a badly fitted, cheap-looking suit which cost you £100, but you’re a financial advisor (I see this all the time, it’s crazy to me!).
  • You meet someone at an event and they hand you their business card. It feels super thin and flimsy because they skimped on paying for quality ones.
  • You’re a personal trainer but can’t afford your own uniform.
  • You’re an accountant with no letterheads.

All these little touches, including how you appear to your potential clients, can hugely affect them wanting to work with you.

My thought process is if you’re not willing to invest in your own business, your own appearance, and how you’re portrayed to the public, you’re probably not willing to invest in creating a great service either. Unless I’m wanting to spend as little as possible, I’m probably not going to spend anything with you. You must have confidence in your own services to be willing to invest in them, and once you do, you’ll see a big spike in sales.

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