Good design is priceless - any designer will tell you. Then again, the ability to create good design (and the time and effort that comes with it) can depend on who's holding the purse strings. After all, without a measurable gain to be made from investing in quality graphic design, how can worth be proven?
Here are just a few of the many ways in which investing in good graphic design pays off in dividends.
One of the toughest ways to convince an executive or person in a leadership position of the importance of good design is proving return on investment. Not the feel-good, immeasurable returns, either. They want numbers. But it turns out that studies have shown good design has a positive effect on a company's bottom line in very direct ways. A study from the Design Management Institute indicated that companies who place value on design in their marketing and branding tend to perform better than those who don't. They estimated that if you were to invest specifically in design-conscious companies, over a 10-year term, your investment would be 228 percent more valuable than if you'd invested in the S&P Index. These companies are excelling and have a great deal of financial value.
Where else does graphic design make or break you? Investing in quality design means investing in your customers. The user experience of companies who have taken time to cultivate a design aesthetic vastly outweighs the experience of those who have not. There are endless case studies in which companies have devoted time amongst team members to solving user problems through more useful, attractive and engaging designs - Disney, for example, engaged in a five-year investment in "delightful" designs in its amusement parks that made customers happier and more ready to buy. It resulted in that division of the company spiking to the top of revenue builders for the year following the concerted effort. Delighting your customers through great design affects buying decisions.
This should go without saying, but a brand that incorporates great design has a better sense of self and thus has a positive impact on corporate culture. While there's not necessarily a direct revenue basis for valuing corporate culture, a positive work environment builds retention rates and limits the need to put funds toward hiring and training processes. Taking the time to design an atmosphere that has an identity and makes believers out of its occupants (the employees) greatly improves culture. There's a reason there's so much crossover between Fortune's "Best Companies" list and lists of "The Best Places to Work" - companies who value culture succeed.
Nothing is worse than a forgettable or poorly conceived piece of visual marketing. From logos to websites, the design choices you're making can make or break your memorability factor. (And remember we're talking about positive memorability, not notoriety.) While the value of brand awareness is something that builds over time rather than yielding overnight results, creating an element of high-quality design impacts whether or not you're top of mind with consumers and affects buying decisions when it's time to check out. After all, the more consumers innately think to seek you out due to brand awareness, the less you'll have to work (and spend) at getting them to notice your products and services.
The next time you're working at "proving ROI" or "showing results," just remember these key reasons that design can have just as important an impact on sales and brand strength as any other aspect of marketing. Don't skimp on design, and you'll see companywide positive impact on your investment.
Sources: Design Management Institute