What is Graphic Design?

In the commercial sense, graphic design is the skillful combination of images, words and ideas to get a message across in the most powerful way possible. 

Graphic design is therefore critical when it comes to branding because it brings your brand to life across all your communications via a multitude of channels; these include websites, digital brochures & emails, social media, stationery, advertising & print, internal employee apps & notice boards, events, flyers, signage, video and ambient media.

From the initial design of a brand logo to its application at each brand touchpoint with customers and employees, graphic design is critical to the success of your business.  

How graphic design adds value to your brand

Every element of graphic design used in creating your brand conveys something about your business and what it stands for.  

If you break down these elements you will find each adds to or detracts from your overall brand positioning in the market and your competitive edge, because graphic design always triggers a reaction of some kind. 

Shapes, colours, words and imagery all play a part in creating that reaction; this is why a regular brand review or even a brand audit is helpful to ensure that the way you are presenting your business through graphic design remains true to what you stand for and the image you want to project. 

You can start a brand review with these 4 key elements of graphic design:

  1. Logomark
  2. Brand fonts 
  3. Colours 
  4. Images  

Brand logos emblems or marks, by their shape and size, can signal all sorts of reactions, some obvious and others subliminal – for example strength and power vs gentle and soft, high quality versus budget brand, natural vs highly manufactured or local craftsmanship versus global professionalism.    

Combined with a specific style of font whether traditional, contemporary, complex or simple the graphic design of your logo and use of fonts sets the whole tone for your business.  

As an example, IM recently helped a property developer launch a successful new eco-friendly luxury brand; the brand positioning is projected through a bespoke logomark reflecting the local Caribbean culture and a contemporary font that signals the modernity of this fabulous resort product.

Colours and images are elements that add a real emotional dimension to the aesthetics of branding. Both are instant indicators of quality, target audiences and brand values.  

Colours in fact play a fundamental role in helping people make purchase decisions. According to statistics, over 85% of people believe that colours are their main reason for a purchase choice. 

Leading image bank Shutterstock puts it well.  

Meanwhile, recent studies tell us that our brains process images 60,000 times faster than they process text. 

The professional combination, therefore, of colour, images and words by the use of graphic design in your brand identity is essential to projecting the right aura for your brand to your target audiences.

Why good graphic design will engage your target audience

As well as having the right image, you need to become smarter in engaging your target customers than the competition. This can be hard since Research by Forbes shows that 76% of buying decisions are based simply on a customer’s perception of a brand. 

Moreover, customers expect choice, which has driven a proliferation of brands over the years, with many sectors now oversupplied.  

Crowd mentality drives people more often than not to go for famous brands because it feels like a good, easy choice; according to Nielson, 60% of consumers prefer purchasing products from a familiar brand than switching to a new one. 

If you are an SME or start-up, having a great high-quality product is not enough to take market share away from big brands.  Creating an image that appeals to and engages your target groups of customers is needed and this is where Graphic Design comes into its own.  

Your brand at the very least needs to be considered as a desirable option by your prospects if you want to increase your market share.   

For instance, you might start by considering the graphic design of your website because 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of a company. 

However, for your overall business, engaging with customers and prospects in the short term is not enough.   

Why graphic design is key to the long-term value of your business 

Building your business and your brand is about continually creating awareness, reaching new customers, building trust, remaining relevant and inspiring them to choose you over your competitors.

The right kind of graphic design can give you the edge to achieve this because the look and feel of your brand offers an amazing opportunity to set your business apart from similar companies.

Most importantly, it allows you to create a recognisable and consistent platform for communicating with all your customers and potential customers over time – thereby turning awareness and recognition into market share. 

The channels to reach customers may have fragmented and proliferated beyond recognition in the last few years. However, basic behaviour remains constant when it comes to human reactions and their commitment to buy, so brand consistency is more important than ever. 

The classic 4 stage marketing funnel is still a great reminder that your brand must be at the top of its game at each stage of consumer decision making.  

  1. Discovery – a potential customer needs to find you and what you offer 
  2. Consideration – they will weigh their perception of your brand against the competition and their personal needs
  3. Conversion – if there’s a fit, they will ‘buy into’ your brand and make a purchase
  4. Retention – now you need to ensure they enjoy the brand and buy again! 

With that in mind, it’s clear that to remain at your best as a business, brand consistency as portrayed through graphic design is essential.