What is the ROI of graphic design?
Big business: Design gives a great return on investment according to the Design Business Association. Each year they give out awards to products and services in which design has contributed to breakthrough growth.
Your business: You’re at a business schmooze fest. And you see someone you know. You want to talk to her — and you would, if only you could remember her name.
You — and hundreds of companies — just demonstrated something as old as humankind.
You’ve proven the power of pictures over words.
Hi. I’m Dan Coggins. I’m the main guy here at Pitchgreen. We’re a design firm, going full-time since 1999. We’ve created this marketing course for small businesses looking to grow.
Mostly, we design logos and websites for people just like you.
But what we really want to do is make you rich.
The ROI of graphic design: More than pretty colors
While other designers are excited about nice shapes and pretty colors, we’re pumped about the ROI of graphic design. Graphic design is part of a toolkit to get more people buying more stuff from you more often. (ROI means “return on investment”, by the way.)
We’re different from most graphic designers that way. Most graphic designers aren’t thinking about you selling more stuff — take a look at any graphic design magazine. In the issue we just pulled up, it featured advertising for a farmers’ market. Witty images. Funny headlines. Done by an award-winning agency.
Did the posters get more people to come to the farmers’ market? We don’t know. No one asked.
We realize that, to you the business owner, design is an investment. And for a startup business, money is the ultimate award — not to mention the thing that’s going to power your payroll, send your kids to college, support worthy causes, and fund your retirement.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to make you rich
Sure, you want the nice-looking stuff that designers create. But at the prices we charge, the things we make had better play a major role in helping you make more money.
If you like pictures, you’re not as smart as the rest of us, right?
I was on the honour roll in high school. I graduated with a 93% average and degreed with honours from university. My friends became physicians and scientists. But because I went to art school, I’ve always felt dumber than my scientist buddies, because pictures were just … so easy.
Experts come with academic degrees. And words are the major thing that universities produce, created by a cadre of people who talk for a living. So it’s not surprising that images have to sit at the back of the plane while words get to fly first-class. And all those “word” people continue to kid themselves that advertising and its images don’t affect them.
But words are often a distant second behind pictures when it comes to the influence game. So now it’s time to show you how pictures often do a better job than words. And to illustrate how graphic design can play a central role in turning people into your customers: That’s the ROI of graphic design.
1. Graphic design is mental candy — and your customers like candy
Pictures reward the reader. Pictures ignore the green beans and head straight for the ice cream. Consequently, there’s no waiting with pictures. With words you have to wait. That’s because words are linear:
- Here’s the beginning of an argument about the ROI of graphic design.
- Here is another point to the argument.
- Here’s the conclusion to the argument.
Words are linear, pictures aren’t. Pictures jump to the front of the line. Pictures take an amazing shortcut past linear logic and come up with their own reasoning.
2. Graphic design communicates more quickly than words
Consider traffic signs: there is a good reason why many of them are pictures and not text — pictures communicate more quickly than words. Pictures make it easier for people to find you as they drive to your office. The envelope with your logo on it saves your invoice from going in the trash with the junk mail.
3. Graphic design can say things that you shouldn’t say with words
A good logo can communicate messages that might be too heavy-handed when conveyed with words. For example, implying “we’re competent” is far more believable than saying “we’re competent”. Your logo and how you use it — business cards, ads, and website — says one thing in words, but under the radar it sends the message that you’re a real pro.
4. Graphic design makes customers think your product works better
And there’s even a medical study that proves this. (Braithwaite and Cooper, 1981)
The study tested whether branded medicine was more powerful than generic medicine. The study surveyed 835 women who reported they took aspirin for headaches.
Unknown to them, some of these women were given fake aspirin — a placebo. Some were given the placebo in a generic package, the others in a branded package.
When each participant had a headache, she took the pills she was given. After one hour, she rated how much better she felt on a scale of zero to four. The women who took the fake aspirin in a branded package reported feeling better by 25% more than their counterparts who took the fake aspirin in a generic package.
Graphic design can make your customers 25% more satisfied with you, so there must be something to it.
Are you seeing that graphic design isn’t just window dressing but a critical component of your business’ survival?
Graphic design is a part of advertising. And some people are afraid to advertise. Maybe even you. You can review the nine reasons why people are afraid to advertise here.