WHY BOTHER? Design helps you stand out

This is part of a series of posts entitled “WHY BOTHER?” – covering why you should bother with branding and design in your business.

Imagine for a moment that you’re just starting your business (or maybe this is you, so no imagination required!) and you’ve sat down for the first time to get started. You have no clients. You have no work to be doing for anyone else. Right now it’s you, a computer and a blank sheet of paper. You need some work so of course you’ll call everyone you know and make various social media accounts, set up your email and buy a domain name. You might even book to attend some events and schedule in some meetings with people. Great.

How are you going to stand out when you are interacting with people? How are you going to make sure that your business is getting looked at over all the other noise that’s out there? Say in a Twitter feed or on Instagram, how are you going to make sure that your business is the one that people are clicking on to and want to look at?

Working on your branding is crucial because this is what helps people to sit up and pay attention. You can’t even BEGIN to design a leaflet or an image for your Facebook page or a header for your website, if you don’t have any idea how it’s all going to look. Not if you want it to look good. Not if you want it to make people zone in on it. Not if you want to make sure that your materials give off not just the BEST impression of you, but the RIGHT impression.

So what can you do to help your business stand out?

  • Keep it simple. The simpler things are then the less there is to take in at once and the easier it will be to stand out. Next time you pick up a newspaper or magazine flick to the adverts and see which ones stand out to you. It’ll be the simplest ones. The ones with the least information. These are the ones that make the most impact.

  • Be consistent. Yep. There I go again!

  • Choose your business colours and stick to them. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use images that don’t have those colours in, it means that when you take a photograph you apply your branding to it in some way, if you’re creating a document you use the colours you’ve chosen for the text or the background or as a strip of colour somewhere to show that it’s you. Like Cadbury’s is remembered for it’s purple, your colours will stick in peoples minds too and if they’ve noticed you before then they may well click on your link or pick up your leaflet because they recognise who you are.

  • Choose a couple of fonts and only use those. You’ll notice I said a “couple” that means two. Maybe three. Certainly no more than that. Make sure that at least one of them is really really clear and if the others are more swooshy/ complex then use them sparingly so that people can read your words.

  • Test. Keeping your colours, text and brand imagery in mind, try different things and see what works. This is great for social media because you can try different things quickly and if a particular style gets more engagement then you know that worked and can move forward with it.

  • When you think you’ve finished, stand up and walk away. Then look at it from a distance. Does it stand out? Is it bold or simple enough? Will it grab you on Instagram or have you reaching for it in a pile of other literature?

It's your difference that sets you apart not your similarity, stand out!" - Bernard Kelvin Clive

It’s your difference that sets you apart not your similarity, stand out!” – Bernard Kelvin Clive

Notice that I didn’t mention your logo. Your logo is important, of course it is, but it’s only a very tiny element of your business image. To stand out you need to make a big impact and whilst your logo may be capable of making a big impact, using it alongside the other elements that build up your brand will be stronger and enable your business to stand out more. Make sure that your business image sets you apart so that your social media graphics, leaflets, banners or adverts practically leap out at your prospects by following the tips above and ensuring that your business stands out.

Why bother with design? If you stand out, you’ll get the business. If you don’t, someone else will. (Click to tweet)

Mini Series: Five steps to grow your brand
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