While it may seem like a basic question, the answer is anything but simple — because just as every business is different, the form, scale and impact of graphic design varies widely as well.
In all situations, however, two things hold true when it comes to graphic design:
- Good design has the power to engage, delight, make complex information easily digestible and move people to action.
- Poorly executed design (or no design) can repel and discourage, miscommunicate and misrepresent. This also can move people to action — away from your business, and often toward your competitors.
This has been the case for thousands of years, because the roots of graphic design go all the way back to the very first symbols created to communicate ideas — well before the existence of language as we know it today. The form and methods of production have evolved over the course of human history, from cave paintings to the printing press to the computer screen. And with that evolution, graphic design itself has become more complex, its purpose increasingly diverse.
Is it text on a page? A nice illustration? A logo? A website? Or is it something more?
In general, graphic design is defined as anything "projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content," according to AIGA, the professional association for design. It can be physical or virtual. It can include words, images or other forms. And it can happen at any scale, for any purpose.
Generalities aren't adequate for specific business needs, though. How you look at graphic design should depend on your business, your audience and your objectives — whether you're a small-business owner or the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation.
Let's take a logo, for example. If approached correctly, a well-executed logo adds up to more than just a bunch of shapes on a page. It is a signifier, the result of research, thought and intent. And while it represents your company as a visual identifier, it also creates expectations around the quality of work you provide and the caliber of the people who perform that work. An expertly designed logo doesn't just look good — it makes an audience more likely to engage with you.
This effect isn't limited to logos; it extends across the spectrum of graphic design, including websites, business cards, magazines, brochures, packaging, user interfaces, posters and more.
If you're that small-business owner, perhaps you'll determine it's best to focus your resources on an attractive new logo and website. That Fortune 500 company, meanwhile, might gravitate more toward big-picture projects, such as multi-stage marketing campaigns, microsites and annual reports for investors.
No matter how minor your needs might seem, however, don't make the mistake of thinking quality graphic design is a luxury. Working with experienced, professional designers is an investment — one that will help your organization thrive and grow. Design can be a catalyst for success, or it can create a foundation for failure. The choice is yours.
If you’re ready to make that investment, or you just want to learn more about how professional graphic design can help your business, email Chalkbox Creative or give us a call at (206) 932-8080. There won’t be any pressure — we’re designers, not salespeople. We'd love to talk about your project. And to help you find the right designer for your business, check out these tips on how to evaluate a graphic designer.