4 Reasons Design is Crucial for Small Businesses

A diagram showing that many considerations such as usability, professionalism, and simplicity are all manifested through design.Whether it’s the product itself, or a logo, flyer, business card, or website, everything employing design helps customers understand a business. It can be particularly useful for a small business, which doesn’t have a large budget or wide brand recognition, to invest in visual design to show why consumers should buy in.

In this post, we offer four reasons why your small company should consider design as a key business asset.

1. Design is Often a First Impression

Your corporate branding isn’t just an image, it’s an interaction with your potential clients, oftentimes kicking off their awareness of you and your brand. A good design clearly communicates your company’s brand and its value, and can inspire trust before they’ve even met you.

We designed a postcard advertisement used to help build anticipation over a new yoga studio.

A great logo, brochure or print ad can help start this relationship off on the right foot. For instance, a new gym or yoga studio opening up in a neighbourhood can distribute a flyer to local residents to give them an idea of what they can expect from the new business. In this case, a local resident can form a positive opinion before even stepping through the door.

2. Great Design is Becoming the Norm

Good design is no longer the realm of elites – it’s showing up everywhere and it’s becoming an expectation rather than a luxury, says Adam Swann, VP group director of account planning at Digitas. “[T]here’s a new, mass expectation of good design: that products and services will be better thought through, simplified, made more intuitive, elegant and more enjoyable to use.”

Design-led organizations such as Apple (which has sold a total of 85 million iPhones in the US alone since 2007) and Ikea (the world’s largest furniture retailer) have raised the “design bar”. And although Apple and Ikea aren’t small businesses, they show that great design’s not just for design snobs, but that it can have mass appeal.

3. Design Appeals to Our Emotions

People don’t always buy products and services based on functionality alone. They’re often swayed by the emotional appeal of a product and the way it’s marketed. Attaining the right emotional reaction can elicit a positive emotional response.

The homepage for Electronics Recycling Services shows an enormous tree towering over the Earth and skyscrapers.

The homepage we designed for Electronics Recycling Services (in collaboration with Grace Marketing) provides relevant information for visitors, as well as a sense of the company’s values and mission.

Emotional response is, in fact, so important that marketers have even developed something called “Bi-Polar Emotional Response Testing “as a method of gauge reactions to a visual design (for more on “Desirability Testing” see Mojo Leaf’s free ebook – PDF). Whether people find your company design friendly, dull, sophisticated, or dated, people are going to have emotional reactions to your corporate design. Positive reactions bode well for your business.

4. Design Gives Your Company an Edge

In a competitive field, design can be a way to gain an advantage. Whether it’s a logo that inspires trust, or a product with clever design, consumers will, more often than not, pay attention to and buy good design over mediocre design.

As you can see, design is a great way to make a great first impression, keep up with (and lead) the pack, communicate with customers on an emotional level, build trust and gain a key advantage over competitors.

At Kobayashi Online, our design work has helped many Toronto small businesses differentiate themselves through branding and corporate identity. We’re experienced in designing logos, brochures, websites, flyers, print ads, signs, business cards, stationery, newsletters and more. If you’re interested in building trust through design, we can help. Contact us today!