One of the questions on my design brief is how will the client measure the success of what I’ve done for them?
Graphic design has many benefits. The Design Council states that “for a design alert business every £100 spent on design, increases turnover by £225“, which is a good indication of how worthwhile design is. Investing in design does get results. The answers I get to my question vary from “I’ll just know because I’ll love it” to “I’ll sell more”, so the measure of success is very different depending on the objectives of the client. Success is different to everybody. Jayne Graham of Colleagues on Tap did a great talk at a Fast Forward event about success and how not only is it different for different people, but our own perceptions of success can change as we go through life.
Some of the answers I get are:
1. We’ll make more money
Design can help you make more money because it makes you look more professional. People trust you more when you have effective branding. It helps you to look like you know what you’re doing, instead of knowing what you’re doing but looking like you don’t have a clue. Therefore, people are more likely to spend. Of course, there will probably be a few different reasons why they spend, but making sure you look the business will definitely help! Design can also help your products to stand out on the shelf, or your leaflet to stand out in a sea of leaflets.
2. I’ll just know because I’ll love it
Great, but that’s why you buy shoes that hurt your feet. Buying design, whatever it might be, should have a better reason than that. Hopefully you will love it – but other reasons should come first. There’s no point in designing something that appeals to you and not to your target market – their opinions are more important.
3. It’ll be easier to communicate with people
Design is definitely about communication. There’s no point handing someone a leaflet if they’re not going to read it. You have to make sure that your message is communicated clearly and effectively and that people can find the information that they actually want. Good branding also helps to communicate your company message across all of your touch points
4. There’ll be more awareness of my business
There might be… if it’s a newspaper ad going out to the right audience – yes, if it’s a leaflet that will be handed out to the right people – yes, if you’ve got new branding – no. Unless you apply it to things and make sure that people see it. If it’s an exhibition stand to be used at an event full of your target market – yes. Designing something won’t create awareness of your business on it’s own. You need to find out exactly who your audience is and where they hang out and put your leaflet/ brochure/ ad/ banner in front of them. This applies to most of the points on this list – design can do great things, but only if you put it in front of the right people.
5. There’ll be more traffic to my website
Actually, there won’t. Design alone will not solve this problem – if indeed that’s what you want. Simon Raybould made a great point yesterday during a discussion that it doesn’t matter how many hits your website gets, it’s the sales that come from that which matter, and that’s the bit that design can help with. If you can get people to your website then make sure they want to stay when they get there and then they might spend some money. You can certainly measure that, and you can also measure the sign ups to your mailing list – which might lead to sales in the future.
6. People will tell me my business looks great
Lovely, but missing the point slightly. Yes we all love an ego boost, but it matters not one jot in terms of how worthwhile the project was. If they tell you that your business cards are beautiful but still don’t buy from you, is it still worth it? Although if people are attracted to your business because it looks great, tell you that and then they DO buy from you – then you have a result!
7. I’ll be more confident about my business
I love this one. Have you ever been to a networking event and been embarrassed to hand out your card, or ashamed to give out your website url? Sort this out and you’ll be desperate to hand out your cards just so you can show them off. There’s no need to lose business because you don’t like how you look. I love it when I work with a business and the design process helps them to become really excited about their brand! Design can also make you more confident about approaching larger companies knowing that you look really professional.
Do you have any other ways that you might measure the success of graphic design?