Graphic design is a lot like the production values in a movie or the writing quality in a novel. If it good, you barely notice the graphic design at all. Instead, you simply enjoy a rich experience of the content it designed to get across. Graphic design is an art that seeks to arrange visual imagery, such as writing, pictures, colors and abstract designs, to impact the viewer with a specific effect. Skillful design can immediately communicate a tone, attitude or quality level that goes far beyond the words the message contains. Good graphic design, incidentally, does not have to include pictures. Font, layout and other design elements can have a powerful effect on their own.
Cereal boxes are a great example. Graphic designers work with corporate marketing teams to develop sophisticated combinations of color, shape and messaging. In a glance, customers can tell not only what the cereal name is but also its ingredients, chief selling points and, of course, the company brand. What those customers may not realize is that they’e also having their impressions of the cereal and the company behind it shaped by the box graphic design.
A generic cereal box, for example, may have nothing but a simple picture and cereal name. The overall look and feel of the cereal box may seem downright cheap. This does not necessarily mean that less skill or effort went into the design. In fact, designs that are simple but effective often require a great deal of work to create the optimal effect.
Instead, generic cereal box design is a great example of graphic design used to communicate certain brand values equivalent product at a cheaper price, and a simplified buying decision. What might be called low production values can actually reinforce a carefully crafted message about the generic brand. In contrast, other brands may try to appeal to customers seeking high quality, good health or a fun kids-friendly brand.
The same principle applies across the board, regardless of the type of business. Websites, brochures, advertising and even newsletters are mediums in which thoughtful graphic design can make a big difference. Hiring an affordable graphic design firm to revamp the look of your business materials can help your business to maintain a more consistent and attractive brand. The difference between a professionally-designed letterhead and something you threw together in an hour on your word processor will be immediately visible to your customers, creating a first impression about what you’e like and what you value.
Well-executed design can help you project the image that you want your business to convey, whether it a friendly feel or old-world simplicity or cutting-edge innovation. In many ways, graphic design is to a business what clothing is for an individual. A badly-designed website full of Comic Sans and cheesy graphics is no more excusable than a serious businessperson coming to work in a rumpled t-shirt and shorts. A sharp website with a clean layout, on the other hand, shows visitors that you pay attention to details and care about quality. Like corporate dress codes (whether formal or casual), intentional graphic design decisions on internal memos, newsletters or training materials can foster a strong internal culture by emphasizing certain values.
In short, graphic design is one of the major factors behind the impression your business sends, and as such, it an important thing to pay attention to.
Darren Roberts is the owner of Oracle Print Management Limited ( based in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. They provide a range of print management services including Affordable Graphic Design.