“Presentation isn’t everything, it’s the only thing…” If you’ve never heard that quote before, it’s because it belongs to me. Your customers won’t get far enough to know whether your website or product works properly, fits their needs or has a great user experience, if they are immediately turned off by the packaging.
Visual Branding and Design is something you should never underestimate. Form matters just as much as function and from a sales and marketing standpoint it matter more. In the same sense that you would not show up to a meeting or a sales pitch disheveled, wrinkled an engrossed, you can’t let your website, logo or your product packaging show up looking less than amazing either.
The quality of content, the functionality all of these things are important, but we as human being judge a book by its cover. Good business advice coming from a woman in a power suit welding a Macbook Pro is going to mean more than the same exact advice coming from a twelve year old with chocolate smeared on their face. The optics do matter, and if you don’t invest in them, you’re leaving money on the table.
Bad Logo Designs Cost More Money than Good Ones.
You may think that you can get a quality logo for $5-50, and you’ve probably heard that Nike got theirs for $35 and that Twitter paid $15 and Google paid $0. Two out of three of these stories are just myths. Nike paid $35 to logo designer Carolyn Davidson in 1971, adjusted for inflation that logo today would cost $217. The story people don’t tell is that she was also hired on to the company and paid a good salary and received 500 shares of Nike company stock (a $600,000 value). So Did the Nike logo really cost $35? No.
As for Twitter, that image was artwork purchased from a stock photo site created by an illustrator, not a commissioned logo design. In fact to avoid legal liability for using it as a logo, which the stock site prohibited, Twitter had to have an in-house designer redevelop the concept into the logo they would use going forward. Which means it cost the salary of that employee, rather than $15, which helped them avoid the cost of either obtaining an exclusivity license from the stock site or any legal woes.
As for the original Google Logo it cost $0 because one of the Co-Founders created the logo in a Free program called GIMP (which if you look at the old logo it clearly screams “I DID IT MYSELF”). The current Google logo was designed by award winning Graphic Designer Ruth Kedar, for an undisclosed amount of money.
Getting a cheap logo that may have been ripped off from a known designer or company could have you facing not only embarrassment, but serious financial troubles later. If a logo is poorly designed or looks like you may have done it yourself to save money, it could reflect poorly on your business and keep customers and clients from taking you seriously. It’s hard to invest in someone who clearly hasn’t invested int themselves.
Web Design is About Marketing First, Experience Second and Functionality last.
Your first experience of a website is how it looks. Not how clean the code is, not well the menu system works, but whether or it is visually pleasing and has convinced you that you came to the right place. After you’ve decide its not going hurt your eyes to stay on this site for two more minutes you’ll start to concern yourself with how quickly things respond to your clicks, whether you can navigate easily and if it has the features you’re expecting. Then and only then will you worry about “how well it works”. Does it look good, does it make me feel good, does it get the job done. This may seem backwards but if people are honest, they’ll admit it is how they prioritize most things.
Apple’s stock prices seem to indicate this train of thought is consistent.
Good Design is Like a Good Suit, It’s an Investment.
Some people insist that bargain shopping is fine when it comes to developing the visual branding and presentation materials for their business. They will make every and any argument to justify doing so and insist that there is nothing wrong with it. Here is what it really comes down to, a simple metaphor:
“If you were looking for a plastic surgeon for your face after an accident, would you go to the bargain bin, or get the best you can afford?”
When you put it in that perspective, and understand that you’re investing in the “face of your business”, the price begins to seem very trivial. You’d do whatever it took to keep from being embarrassed if it came down to your actual face, so you should take the face of your business just as seriously.
Sometimes a Logo, a Business Card, a Website or an Advertisement is the first and last impression someone will have of you or your company. You have to invest what it takes to make it count.
Roberto Blake is a Graphic Designer who runs his own one man Design Studio, focusing on Brand Development and Advertising. Roberto has experience in design for print, web and multimedia and has worked on out of home campaigns including billboards featured in Times Square. He is a monthly contributor to Print Media Centr’s News From The Printerverse, and a frequent participant in #PrintChat on Twitter. He is also a contributor for publications such as Print Magazine and How Design and has had work featured in Advanced Photoshop Magazine. Roberto is extremely active in social media, producing multiple YouTube videos each week to assist designers and other creative professionals through advice and tutorials.