Competition among brands is intensifying, and the war is increasingly being fought in a new battleground called “customer experience.” By 2018, Gartner predicts that “more than 50 percent of organizations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience.”
Graphic design and the making of an exceptional customer experience
There’s a reason why graphic designers are in such huge demand. Well-executed design eases communication and simplifies potentially confusing concepts. It conveys your brand’s story in a way that resonates with your target audience, and emphasizes the essential from the trivial.
Graphic design impacts customer experiences in a number of ways, including:
Branding starts with elements such as logos and taglines, but your total brand image spans all facets of your business. A brand’s unique identifying mark tells customers they’re dealing with the brand they expect to be dealing with, and not some “me too” company providing substandard products or services.
In the mobile gadget space, there’s Apple, Samsung, and everyone else. Despite the hefty price they have to pay to own an Apple product, throngs of Apple fans brave long queues to get their hands on the latest releases, which, often, aren’t very different from the ones they already own. That’s not to say other brands are inferior, but Apple’s brand value is “so powerful, and so compelling, that people want to attach themselves to it, or attach the brand to themselves,” says a HubSpot article.
The company’s reputation is also rock solid that loyal consumers wouldn’t mind paying extra for a product that’s familiar and evokes positive mental images that go beyond quality.
People won’t risk doing business with scam artists or fly-by-nights. Good design, according to graphic designer Andrew Williams, equals trustworthiness and reliability. “[I]f you have spent the time and money on good design, then you are obviously invested in your project and the people involved in your project, not some fly-by-night scammer with a cheap front cobbled together just to make a buck.”
Rahul Aggarwal, co-founder of Designhill, a design crowdsourcing site, adds in an interview: “Business owners must also understand that quality designs represent their business and who they are. Going for a cheap option may sound appealing, but eventually, they lose much more in terms of lost business simply because of how their branding represented them.”
As technology embeds itself deeper into people’s lives, the last thing you want a customer to remember about your brand is “getting lost in the middle of nowhere,” trying all possible alternatives on their own to get back on track. Social media, among other technological breakthroughs, is a powerful tool they can wield to either prop up or pound your company to smithereens via negative commentary that can go viral in the blink of an eye.
A sign pointing to the escalators in a subway, if not visible enough or strategically positioned, won’t amount to much for a harried commuter who’s not familiar with the place. The same can be said about web or landing page CTAs. You include a call to action because you want your site visitors to perform an action, something they will have trouble doing if the button you intend for them to click blends with the rest of the page.
One cardinal rule to follow when designing CTA buttons is using contrasting colors so they stand out and are difficult to miss.
Better information absorption
“A picture paints a thousand words,” they say. You can insist that to be a fallacy and argue that it’s the story that’s worth a thousand words, but the fact remains that information presented as visuals, such as infographics, charts, and graphs, are more digestible than text-heavy formats. Comparisons are easier to make, and trends, if any, can be spotted without much effort.
Knowledge retention is also a key reason why most learning materials include images between paragraphs of explanatory text to better illustrate a concept.
Between text and images, humans, by nature, gravitate towards imagery, particularly those that are easy on the eyes. In Adobe’s “The State of Content: Expectations on the Rise,” 66% of the study’s participants preferred beautifully designed content versus plain and simple, if given a meager 15 minutes to consume content.
But graphic design isn’t just about satisfying people’s penchant for pretty things. When done right, it balances artistry with functionality, such as in the case of “buy” buttons, page-specific sidebars, custom web forms, personalized product listings, and so on.
Crafting positive experiences your customers will remember you by is no cakewalk. But keeping their overall well-being top of mind the next time you choose fonts, colors, and images for your visuals is a step in the right direction.
Image from Pixabay