Just like you have an accountant and a lawyer for your business, it’s important to have a graphic designer who’s there to help you on a daily basis with your business’ marketing and communication needs. A designer can help you avoid the pitfalls of the labyrinth of modern communication options.
The last few decades have seen an explosion in visual mediocrity. The avalanche of visual stimuli that assaults us on a daily basis is astounding, and growing; we react to it by becoming numb. The marketers’ respond by putting more flash and pop and sex and action into the content without any good reason other than making us look. Clever computerized graphics get ever more real — and surreal — and we become accustomed to casually watching animated images that used to be perceived as delusions or hallucinations. And we get even more numb.
But perhaps the most diabolical and banal of actors in this visual overload are themes and templates. Do you have Microsoft Word? You have themes and templates. Use Quickbooks? They're there, too. Every document-building program has them. You also can go online to any do-it-yourself print or web design site and find them: Pick from half a dozen color schemes, choose from hundreds of templates (most ranging from ugly to hideous), pick from 10 or 12 typefaces, add your own picture and a personal message and, presto: instant design for business cards, stationery, brochures, return address labels, etc., etc.
The resulting collateral looks nice enough, and it has the information you want, but it says nothing about you or your business, your vision of what your goods and services can provide: Instead of motivating your potential and repeat customers, you are supplying them with more numbing imagery. Not only that, you’ve now joined the masses who settle for meaningless visual mediocrity, and that’s what’s communicated to the public. You may have saved some money, but you’ve dedicated yourself to a bland visual image for a long time, because you’ll have to use up all those business cards and all that stationery before you have a chance to change your mind.
Like any professional, a designer is trained to find out about you and your business, he or she gets to know your personality and your outlook and how you approach working with your clients or customers; it’s part of his or her job. A designer can synthesize all that down to a unique visual solution that will fit you and your business' needs, and create a meaningful core identity for your communications with the public.
Another important point when choosing a graphic designer: you want to find someone who can create a seamless match for that visual image across all of today's communication platforms, from print to website to social networks. Find out if your designer builds your website from scratch or, instead, uses services like Wordpress or Drupal or Joomla. All these services are theme-based or template-based. And while lots of themes are available, they result in the same banal visual bromide as other prefabricated media design: Choose this theme, add this and that plug-in, change a color and a typeface and you’ve got a website.
A good graphic designer can provide thousands of color scheme choices, tens of thousands of typefaces (in print and online), and deliver a one-in-a-billion visual solution that will match you needs and be memorable in the public’s mind. Also, if you have specific interactive needs for your website, like online shopping or reservations, a good designer has the resources to create that functionality with your business in mind. And a good designer will work within your budget to create a unique identity and collateral that will grow and change along with your business.
So, revolt against the mundane. Look around and find a good designer to add to your list of business advisors. Because the visual image you present to the public should be as unique and important as you and the goods or services that you supply.