You already know that first impressions are important. When trying to attract new customers, they are extremely important. If a customer has a negative first impression of your company, they are unlikely to return, no matter the quality of the goods or services you offer. Most of the time, your logo, company name, website, or social media page is going to be your customer’s first impression of your business, rather than a direct interaction with you or one of your employees. This means that it’s your graphic design’s job to make a first impression on your customers.
But what is your graphic design (logos, company name, etc.) saying to your potential customers? It is accurately portraying the message of your company, or is it leaving a neutral or negative first impression? There are a few things that you want your graphic design to say—and a few things that you absolutely do not want it to say.
Attention to Detail
Potential customers want to know that the company they are about to do business with pays attention to the details. While graphic design elements like a logo might seem like a small detail, it is actually the foundation of your company’s branding, and therefore extremely important.
Because a person is about to spend their money, whether it be $5 or $500 with you, he wants to know that you will pay attention to details of his purchase. This may not be a conscious realization, but a potential customer will notice that your branding looks complete and purposeful, which are two qualities that consumers want in the businesses they send their money.
Your graphic design should reflect your personal taste. Why is this important to communicate to your customers? Especially when you sell something that has an aesthetic quality (as most things do), customers will want to determine whether or not your tastes match, before they actually get their hands on a product.
This will set you apart from companies that have quickly slapped together their logo and webpages, without any real concern for how it looks. In a way, graphic design is akin to the clothes that you wear. Do you want your business to be wearing a pressed, well-fitted suit? Or do you want it to wear a pair of grubby pajamas? For a customer, higher taste level translates to higher quality goods and services.
Atmosphere of Your Company
Part of any graphic design’s job is to embody the spirit and atmosphere of your company. Completely divorced from taste (which has to do with the quality of the design), is the style of the design, which can reflect a surfboard company’s fun-loving, outdoorsy spirit, or a law firm’s professional, hardworking attitude.
The colors, shapes, and design elements used in your graphic design have an immediate effect on all those who view it, who will associate these aspects of the design with characteristics like fun-loving or hardworking. These are things that your graphic design can immediately communicate to your potential customers, much faster than an About Us page or a company profile.
What You Do
Probably one of the most important things your graphic design can say about your company is what your company actually does. If you sell shoes, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your logo has to include a shoe. It should, however, at the very least, give your customers an idea of what your company is all “about.” Not just the atmosphere of your company, but your philosophy—what it is that you do.
In some situations, it might make sense that your graphic design includes a literal depiction of what it is you sell, making it easier for individuals to instantly understand what you sell.
Have you ever seen a webpage that seems to be being pulled in a hundred different directions? The logo has one aesthetic, while the rest of the design elements have another. It has no cohesion, and for a potential customer, it is often confusing and difficult to use. Your graphic design should be consistent, because in a very real sense, that tells your customers that you value consistency and are likely to provide a consistently valuable experience.
What It Shouldn’t Say
Unless your nephew is a skilled graphic designer, don’t hire him to do your design, no matter how tech-savvy he seems. The one thing you do not want your graphics to say is “homemade.” While there’s nothing wrong with offering a homemade product, poor quality graphic design tells potential customers that you are a poor quality company. It makes your business wear ten-year-old pajamas, when it should be wearing a tailored, pinstriped suit.