Is your design losing you business?

By: Fiona Humberstone

Date: 24 November 2010

Most of us realise that great design can win us more business. And many of us invest in professional graphic design for our brochures, leaflets and website.

But what about the rest? What about that PowerPoint presentation you send to clients? How about leaflets you take to networking events? What about the checklist for businesses you’ve uploaded to your website?

If we accept that great design will engage, inspire and build trust with your customers (existing and prospective), what effect do you think bad design will have? You probably don’t need me to spell it out…

Many businesses design things in house. Even marketing executives at big blue chips design some pieces of collateral. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It can save time and money. But it’s those bits of collateral – your leaflet, your PowerPoint, your case studies or your self-designed blog – that can undermine your professionalism.

The bad news is that usually people don’t realise there is anything wrong with their designs. Oversized logos compete with standard colours and standard fonts to create a look that jars with all your well-produced work. The result? Your clients are confused and lack conviction in you.

It’s unrealistic to expect you to use a graphic designer for every piece of communication you produce, but you can learn some simple graphic design rules that you can apply to everything you do. And you can reduce the gap between the professionally produced stuff and your own stuff.

Do a bit of research into what makes design work. Read magazines, books (Robyn Williams’ The Non-Designer’s Design Book is excellent) and learn important from designs that inspire you. You can also find advice here on the Donut sites, too, of course.

Fiona Humberstone, Flourish design & marketing

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