Design is a major factor in how your business is perceived. From the way your products look and feel, to your letterhead, logo, and typeface, every part creates a greater whole for your audience to relate to. While these aren’t the sum total of what your business and brand represent, they are the visible aspects and must be up to the task of impressing and enticing customers.
Sound design principles mean different things to different people, but there are some universal guidelines that even the biggest brands adhere to for success.
You can’t schedule inspiration and brainstorming is an important step in design. However, the experimentation can’t last forever and once a direction is chosen it is vital to develop a clear plan. To ensure consistency and quality, everyone on your team must understand the direction you are headed. This will ensure that every level of the business is on the same page and will help create a cohesive final result. Without a clear path to success and a finish line, it can lead to an inferior finished product, or leave you entirely without one. Whether you are developing a new brand image or creating a new product, without a strategy your project won’t go anywhere.
Cohesion is vital
This is where the value of strategising will start to show. If your design is constantly being tinkered with unnecessarily throughout the process, it won’t end up as what you had originally envisioned. It will be a camel. Your ideas should be developed and mapped out, and then the design should include all the design aspects from the beginning. The time for testing and refinement will come, but during the initial stages of creation it should stick to the plan. This will enable the design to remain in line with the strategy.
Integrate from conception
Your design principles should be present from the first moment of creation. It is far harder to alter a finished product to fall in line than to integrate from the start. This can lead to a compromised final result, which can be an unsatisfying and costly failure that may need to be scrapped and reimagined.
Don’t over design
Simplicity, as ever, is the key to design success. This doesn’t mean a lack of effort or work though, and simple designs often require the most planning and conceptualising. They tend to be edited down from an initial idea until they reach the nugget of gold. Don’t be tempted to anticipate problems and try to fix them before they arise, this is why there is a testing phase. Instead, aim to solve the initial problem at hand in as few steps as possible.
Apple’s original logo is a perfect example of overthinking the design in the beginning. Its first incarnation was a full scene of an apple falling on Sir Isaac Newton’s head, complete with a tree and grass. The execution over complicated a simple idea and tried to over explain the concept of the apple and the innovation it represented. When they removed everything but the apple, the logo suddenly became iconic and instantly recognisable. This has since informed all of their brand decisions and their fame for uncluttered, clean and elegant design is evident in everything they create.
Design drives growth
Your design aesthetics are important for more than just creating products and logos. They are a vital branding element, with customers attracted to consistency and purposefulness when developing a relationship with a brand. People look for attention to detail, a sign of pride, professionalism and quality, when engaging with a company. This approach will create advocates and evangelists, not just people who buy your stuff. It is true of everything, from your website to your products, your brand image and reputation, and everything associated with your business.