Does Investing in Graphic Design Make Good Business Sense?

For a small business, the last few years have been quite the economic roller coaster. We’re all cutting back and learning to do more with less, making strategic decisions when it comes to investing money in advertising and marketing. While there’s no need to spend big bucks on expensive advertising agencies or costly local TV spots, don’t gut your graphic design budget. Now, more than ever, graphic design makes good business sense.

It’s All About Graphic Design
Not convinced it pays to invest in the best graphic design services? Consider the opportunity cost of bad design. Bad graphic design not only hurts your brand, but it also scares off potential customers. The best design instantly communicates important information about your business, products and services. Bad design leaves potential customers confused, sending them away from your store or business. Investing in the best design up front may cost more initially, but you’ll save (and make) more in the long run.

Here are five smart graphic design tips for your small business:

  1. A timeless logo design. Great logo designs don’t just build a brand; great logos ARE the brand. From outdoor signage and magnetic decals to business cards and letterhead, your logo will be on everything that your business does. The best graphic designers can create a logo that instantly evokes your business, creating an emotional connection with potential customers through the use of design elements like color and typeface.
  2. Outdoor signage. Professionally announce your place of business with an outdoor sign. Advertise products and services any hour of the day or night. Reach hundreds of new potential customers daily without lifting a finger. Spending money on professional outdoor signage is a smart business choice. Just be sure to consult with a graphic designer and sign specialist to ensure your design is easily read day or night, no matter how quickly traffic goes speeding by.
  3. Vehicle graphics. Don’t just drive your car, turn it into an advertising machine with vinyl window graphics or a full body car wrap. In a crowded sea of advertisements, vehicle graphics instantly command attention. Unfortunately, bad graphic design and poor graphic application can turn your advertising machine into a sloppy looking vehicle. If incorrectly applied, your vehicle graphic could crack, bubble or peel after just a few months. Invest the money up front, and your graphic can last for up to seven years, while protecting your car’s finish from the elements. Talk about multitasking!
  4. Magnetic business cards. Traditional paper business cards are a huge waste of marketing dollars. Most cards end up forgotten in a desk drawer or tossed in the trash. Magnetic business card with your logo and contact information stick to filing cabinets, company break room fridges and home fridges, too! Your information will be instantly accessible.
  5. Point of sale signage. The fastest way to upsell or increase your sales is through point of sale signage. Rather than being a pushy salesman, let your signage doing the talking through powerful graphic design. A simple sign with a clean design clearly promotes your products, services and brand, providing the opportunity to upsell in group packages or other specials.

Vehicle Graphics Design For Impact

Here are some of the basic “MUST’S OF VEHICLE GRAPHIC DESIGN”

Focus on ONE Person. Your ideal customer. Don’t try to appeal to the masses as this will dilute your message and appeal to NO one. Your ideal customer must feel like you are the perfect solution to their problem and you are communicating directly to them.

Create EMOTIONAL attachment by using powerful graphics. Different Graphics create different emotion in different individuals. The graphic of a mother cuddling a baby, will have the most impact on a new mother. Not only will you get their attention but you will establish credibility with them. This is extremely powerful since statistics show that most people buy on emotion and justify with logic.

Use a powerful slogan to position yourself in the mind of the customer. If your objective is to create mind share, you need to occupy a position in their minds so they instinctively associate you with a desired product, service of need.

For example, be the computer specialists that caters to the elderly, or the dry cleaner that offers free delivery, or the restaurant that kids eat for free, or the financial planner that specializes in services for young couples.

Being first is powerful, but being perceived as first is even more powerful. Being the only one, or specializing is also good. It creates positioning in the customer’s mind.

You are an expert, a consultant. Think of how you can accomplish this with your vehicle graphics slogan. If should be short and designed to be effective, for repetitive viewing.

The design of your graphics should be consistent with the style and type of vehicle for maximum impact. Remember that there are millions of dollars spent on extremely competent automobile designers by companies like Toyota, Honda, BMW, Nissan, Ford GM, and others to come up with designs that appeal to the masses.

Why not take advantage of their expertise, by enhancing the look rather than contradicting it. It will only stand to confuse your target customer and result in little or no emotional impact. I have seen many vehicles with elaborate graphics that simply do not work with the vehicle. I must confess that some of them have also been produced by us, but only because the customer insisted that this is what they wanted despite our recommendations.

I have also seen vehicles with very simple designs or very little graphic treatment that look extremely powerful and produce outstanding results. They also cost very little for the customer and were easy to create and install. Usually they were customers who had little if any preconceived ideal and simply said, “Here is what I want to accomplish, surprise me”.

LESS is MORE, design for a glance, but create lasting impression. Remember that your target customer is trying to navigate a vehicle, sometimes at high speeds and only two to three seconds to glance at your vehicle. If they are interested, based on the first glance, you may get a second glance and they might even slow down to memorize your URL.

You need to decide what information you would like them to remember most. The graphic, your caption or, your URL. Unfortunately, all of the above is not usually a reality, so at best two out of three is excellent.

Focus on the areas of most impact on the vehicle. The rear window and the sides over the rear wheel are the most powerful viewing areas while driving. Even though graphics look much cooler, and flows better on the sides of the vehicle. It is not very effective design strategy if you are focused on communicating to prospects while driving.

It’s difficult to look at a vehicle beside you for more that a second, without feeling like you are going to slam into it. Try it for yourself. It’s almost impossible to read anything on the sides unless it is over the rear wheels and you are behind the vehicle.

What about parked vehicles you ask? The sides are definitely a great resource as it allows for more and larger information, but graphics focused on the back and rear still work well if parked strategically. We do emphasize the sides more when designing for contractors as they spend a significant amount of time parked in neighborhood driveways, targeting cars and nosy neighbors driving by.

Control the flow of the reader. It is critical to control the three second glance from the reader so that they leave with maximum impact and information. The glance should first create interest or emotional attachment and make them feel like they want to know more. It should result in a second glance and leave with your URL or Phone number in memory.

The eyes will tend to go to a graphic first and then flow from left to right, so don’t put the graphic at the end of the caption and expect the customer to read the caption. This will only confuse them and they tune out.

Your Take-Away is the key to getting results. Remember that you want them to call you or visit your URL so make it easy for them to find it and remember it. The phone number or URL should flow naturally, as the third part of the three second glance.

Remember that you are designing for your ideal customer. What’s most important to them, your phone number or URL? If your current URL is long, then get a second one that is simple and easy to remember and have it linked to your current site.

It’s relatively easy to be successful with Vehicle Graphics… IF you understand Marketing.

The biggest obstacle is effectively communicating with your ideal target customer… The one that’s the best fit for your business and you for theirs.

It all boils down to the design and unfortunately its not always obvious.. even for an experienced designer…

Because the concept of an irregular three dimensional moving billboard is unique to most designers… most are used to working on a flat two dimensional pallet.

Here are some of the basic guidelines for YOU the Business Owner to help you achieve success with Vehicle Graphics Marketing

Here are some of the basic “MUST’S OF VEHICLE WRAP DESIGN”

Focus on ONE Person. Your ideal customer. Don’t try to appeal to the masses as this will dilute your message and appeal to NO one. Your ideal customer must feel like you are the perfect solution to their problem and you are communicating directly to them.

Create EMOTIONAL attachment by using powerful graphics. Different Graphics create different emotion in different individuals. The graphic of a mother cuddling a baby, will have the most impact to a new mother. You will get their attention but you will establish credibility with them. Statistics show that people buy on emotion and justify with logic

Use a powerful slogan to position yourself in the mind of the customer. Your objective is to create mind share so they instinctively associate you with the desired product, service or need.

For example… You must be the computer specialists that caters to the elderly, or the dry-cleaner that provides free delivery, or the restaurant that kids eat for free, or the financial planner that specializes in programs for young couples.

Being first is powerful but being seen as first is even more powerful. Being the only one, or specializing is very powerful. It creates positioning in the customer’s mind.

You are an expert or a consultant. Think of how you can accomplish this with your vehicle wrap slogan. If should be short and designed to be effective, for repetitive viewing.

The design of your graphics should be consistent with the style and type of vehicle for maximum impact. Remember that there are millions of dollars spent on designing vehicles by companies like Toyota, Honda, BMW, Nissan, Ford GM, and others to come up with designs that appeal to the masses.

Why not take advantage of their expertise, by enhancing the look rather than contradicting it. It will confuse your target customer and result little if any emotional impact. I’ve seen many vehicles with elaborate graphics that simply do not work with the vehicle. I must confess that some of them have also been designed by us, but only because the customer insisted that this is what they wanted despite our recommendations.

I have also seen vehicles with very simple designs or very little graphic that are extremely effective and produce outstanding results. They typically cost very little for the customer and were easy to create and install. Usually they were customers who had no preconceived idea and simply said, “Here is what I want to accomplish, surprise me”.

LESS is MORE, design for a glance, but create lasting impression. Remember that your target customer is trying to drive their vehicle, sometimes at high speeds and only two to three seconds to glance at your vehicle. If they are interested, based on the first glance, you may get a second glance and they might even slow down to memorize your URL.

You need to decide what you would like them to focus on. The graphic, your caption or, your URL. Unfortunately, all of the above is not usually a reality, so at best two out of three is excellent.

Focus on the areas of most impact on the vehicle. The rear window and the sides over the rear wheel are the most visible areas while driving. Even though graphics look much cooler, and flows better on the sides of the vehicle. It is not very effective vehicle graphics design strategy if you are focused on areas that are not visible while driving.

It’s very difficult to look at a vehicle that is driving beside you.. for more that a second, without feeling like you are going to crash into it. Try it for yourself. It’s almost impossible to read anything on the sides… unless it is over the rear wheels and you are behind the vehicle.

How about parked vehicles you ask? The sides are definitely a great resource as it allows for more and larger information, but graphics focused on the back and rear still work well if parked strategically. We do emphasize the sides more when designing for contractors, since spend a lot amount of time parked in neighborhood driveways, targeting cars and nosy neighbors driving by.

Control the flow of the information. The driver has less than three seconds to read the information. The glance should first create interest or emotional attachment and make them want to know more. It should result in a second glance and leave them with your URL or Phone number in memory.

The eyes will tend to go to a graphic first and then flow from left to right, so don’t put the graphic at the end of the caption otherwise they will not read it. This will only confuse them and they tune out.

Effective Targeted communication is the key to getting results. Remember that you want them to call you or visit your URL so make it easy for them to find and remember it. The phone number or URL should flow naturally.

Now I must confess that we are not always able to follow all of the guidelines above because of circumstances beyond our control, but we always use the guidelines above to check the final design. So if you are designing for results the above should be an integral part of your design process.

I wish you success with your vehicle graphics… now you are ready to choose a company to Design Your Vehicle Graphics.

Home Decor Ideas to Deliver Instant Impact and Save You Money

If your current home decor is dull and boring, but your budget causes you to be hesitant to spend the money to completely redecorate, don’t despair. You don’t have to have the talents of an interior designer nor the budget to hire one to update your home decor. Simple, low-cost home decor ideas can make a remarkable difference in your home’s appearance.

Here are but a few home decor ideas which can perk up a room for around $100 or less:

One of the most used rooms in any home is the bathroom. If your bathroom is cluttered and none of the accessories match, it might be a good idea to spend a little money updating the look and organizing the clutter.

It won’t take much time or money to replace your old accessories like the tissue box cover, toothbrush holder, soap or lotion dispenser and trash can with a matched set. Home decor retailers, major department stores and most off-price retailers offer a wide selection of bathroom accessories in a variety of styles and colors. You can also find shower curtains, rug sets and window treatments to match or compliment your new bathroom accessories.

Nothing can spruce up your living space like green leafy plants and floral arrangements. You don’t even have to have a green thumb to add some greenery to your home. There are many low-maintenance plant varieties to choose from or select a life-like artificial plant or arrangement. Today’s imitation plants and arrangements appear so real, the only way to tell the difference is to touch them.

Adding strategic lighting can totally alter the appearance of your room, and affect the mood as well. So many people neglect the lighting fixtures when updating their home decor. And, let’s face it, the lighting fixtures which came with your home usually aren’t the most attractive nor does the glaring overhead light they emit enhance your space. Why not set the mood and add to the decorative aspect of your room using ornamental lamps. Indirect lighting from table and floor lamps add a warm, cozy feeling to your space.

Even if it’s not in your budget to replace your furniture, repainting your space in a trendy new color can give it a completely new appearance. You can also opt for a classic color which will remain in style for many years. Changing the wall color is an effective way to give your room a fresh, up-to-date look, no matter which color you select.

As a final low-cost home decor idea, don’t assume that you’ll have to buy new furniture to make-over the decor in your room. Believe it or not, simply rearranging your furniture and decorative items can be enough of a change to produce a new look which will achieve the results you want and work great for your room.