When it comes to creativity I'm of the school of thought that there's no special gene that separates creatives from everyone else, but it's the processes people go through when applying themselves to difficult questions that unlocks their innate creativity. (Check out Jake Knapp’s excellent book ‘Sprint’ for more in this vein). I've been bowled over many times by back-of-a-napkin logo concepts from clients and genius ideas from unlikely sources. But creative brilliance is nothing without execution. This is where a professional designer pays dividends. Designers in the digital age come with an extensive toolbox. From foundational skills such as typesetting and graphic design to more specialist areas like website design, video or motion graphics—a good designer will be able to bring your company’s multiple communications outputs together as a cohesive whole. A designer will be able to handle a broad range of assignments, from your company’s social media playbook, to A/B testing your landing pages and will bring a broad skillset to bear on unifying and rationalising your corporate image. This is a compelling benefit to a company keen to build brand recognition and get an edge over the competition.
While authenticity is the lifeblood of engagement on social media, a designer’s eye on your output is a good way to make sure you’re speaking your brand's language consistently across all channels. A designer will know how to tread lightly and advise, create, and engineer consistency without compromising authenticity. Your social media should be a trusted and integrated part of your overall communication strategy rather than a worrying liability. Most designers have camera skills in their tool kit, so photography and advice on photography will be readily available, and if it comes to video or motion graphics a designer will be able to apply themselves here too. In an era where a content pillar can be divided up into smaller and smaller pieces, remixed and reused over and over again across platforms, and in rapid time; an in-house capability to make the most of your content makes a lot of sense.
Redesigning your company’s website can be a costly and time consuming exercise, often with less than optimal results. This can often be the result of a lack of clarity at the concept stage. Designers with User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Design in their skill stack can rework your website and introduce the methodical test/iterate approach that successful web design is founded on. These skills can prove beneficial across other applications too, even in areas that are offline. If you have a designer on board already who isn't versed in UI/UX methods, consider investing in levelling them up, UXers have a customer-centred point of view and are highly skilled at empathising in detail with the ways your customers find you, buy and use your products or services. You may find UX unlocks business problems you didn't know you had. Even a designer who isn’t a web design specialist can help define your thinking as you scope the requirements of your website. If you know with conviction what purpose your website exists to fulfil and then pursue that single mindedly with a test/iterate mindset after launch, it will stand a good chance of becoming the powerful business tool you envisaged rather than a vaguely embarrassing white elephant five years later.
Presentation and persuasion are skills a designer can deploy to help you focus on the more important elements of your business. Instead of burning the midnight oil trying to force Powerpoint to comply to your will, a designer will make the problem go away–along with all the unnecessary slides in your deck. Designers tend to look at communication and design problems in terms of identifying what really need to be present, and eliminating the rest. This mindset applies across all design disciplines. Whether it’s dealing with over-ornamentation on a website or editing text for brevity, designers take a reductive stand point. This means that whatever it is, if it doesn’t have a compelling reason to exist, it’s gone. Designers are born streamliners, no matter their specialisation. Design thinking is a powerful tool that can be applied to a wide range of business problems. Get a UX designer to look at your Service Design for example, they'll probably make a valuable contribution.
If you're in the habit of outsourcing design for print you're probably aware of the expense, time lag and infinite possibility for errors. Bringing print design in house saves time, money and possibly stress as your designer guides the print bureau through your artwork without struggling with the jargon. No more nasty surprises when your boxes of freshly printed collateral arrive. A designer will build a relationship with your printer so that they will often be able to turn a project around quickly and often at a discount. This is because the bureau won’t have to rework your artwork or ask you a lot of questions before it is ready for print. Your process will be fast and efficient and your designer will be able to advise on paper stock, print finishes and presenting your message with the most impact, at the best quality and with the best value for your money.
If you'd like to chat about how an in-house designer can benefit your small business, or you want to talk content creation, web design or see my work; head over to my website here: www.atelier-k.co