Design means different things to different businesses and can be at the top or bottom of a company’s marketing priority list. I’ve worked in companies where they value design very highly and worked with companies where design is an afterthought.

So how can it really make you stand out amongst your competitors?

There’s a reason that some of the biggest companies out there work with huge marketing agencies and have specific design departments. What they show to consumers or other businesses needs to be professional. Even the most incredible sounding products can fall at the first hurdle if the design of their adverts makes it look untrustworthy and even the most well written and concise tender bid can fail due to it being poorly designed making things look thrown together.

Consumers need to trust a company before they make a purchasing decision.

When you buy your phone, do you go to O2, EE, Vodafone or Dave’z Fone Shack? The reason you avoid Dave’z is down to trust, and outward impressions are key to that. The impression those bigger companies give to the outside world is that they’re the real deal. They use effective advertising design, window displays that draw your attention when you’re walking up the high street, and have an extremely professional appearance alongside solid branding that includes a simple name and recognisable logo.

The first impression you give to a potential customer or client isn’t your amazing service or your incredible product. It’s how you look. During the awareness phase for potential customers, the first impression is crucial. You need to look the part, standing in town in a scruffy t-shirt handing out leaflets made with MS Word is not going to engage anywhere near as many people as the person down the road handing out brochures whilst wearing their smart, branded shirt. When a client comes to your office, do you have consistent signage? Do you have brochures for them to take away in order to leave that lasting impression?

By using professional design, you can make your business stand head and shoulders above your direct competitors. Handing out a brochure that looks the part, having window signage that catches the eye on the high street or simply having a business card with a glossy coating can make you stand out from the crowd.

Good design is a tool that can be utilised to great effect for businesses in a number of different ways. It can ensure businesses give potential clients the right first impression, it can help people trust your service and give you an edge over your competitors. When you combine it with your product and your service, it’s a recipe for success.

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