The importance of visual design in building a strong brand

It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person. People make snap judgments. Branding is no different.

As a branding agency, you might think we are slightly biased in our belief in the power of design. But we’ve got the facts to prove it – a staggering 94% of first impressions on a website are design related. 

There’s no point in having the best product or service in the world if your brand and website isn’t doing it justice. We’ve seen it time and time again where a company pours everything they have into what they do – but they neglect their brand and can’t figure out why they’re not getting the sales.

It can be confronting to look at your brand with a fresh and critical eye. It’s such a familiar and accepted part of the business, and something you’ve spent time and money on, to bring to life. One of our core values at Tiny Hunter is ‘always ask why’, something you can apply in this circumstance…

DOES IT LOOK ‘CHEAP’?

There are times in business where you can absolutely go budget, but design is not one of them. This is the first thing your potential consumer is going to see to determine how they feel about your brand. It’s an investment that will last into the future and has a significant influence on perception. The look and feel of your brand is literally a reflection of the quality of your work in the eyes of your customer. Getting it right is invaluable.

HAVE YOU PUT CARE INTO YOUR WEBSITE?

Data shows “it takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave.” There are many factors at play which we’ll be exploring in a future article. For now, visual appeal, how long your website takes to load and how easy it is to find information are critical places to start.

DOES YOUR DESIGN COMMUNICATE WHO YOU REALLY ARE? 

The business can focus heavily on amazing products or services but it’s wasted energy if the brand identity doesn’t effectively convey what you stand for to the outside world. Consumers connect with authentic storytelling, so make sure the brand personality and values shine through. This includes tone of voice and imagery. 

HOW TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION WITH VISUAL DESIGN

  • Differentiate with design. How are you different from your competitors? Your unique selling point comes from being able to solve a problem in a way no one else can. Do you communicate those differences through your typography, images, design, and website? Or are you blending in with competitors? You want to have a design that stands out by communicating who you are, and what makes you different.
  • Embrace simplicity. Keep the messaging succinct and the visuals uncluttered. The more laser focused you are in the way you communicate the less confusing it is for your customers and the more likely you will create a connection. Less is more.
  • Brand imagery. When it comes to imagery, we strongly recommend a brand shoot. It can be a consideration in terms of investment but you’ll gain assets that are unique to your brand, capture what the brand stands for and what you want to communicate, plus you will get a lot of value out of them across time (apply a cost per wear mindset). The hero image used for this article we created for our client Aura-Soma as part of their rebrand, the suite of powerful images are unique to them and have been a very valuable asset. If a brand shoot isn’t in your budget right now, an alternative is to invest in a skilled creative who can build a suite of carefully selected stock images that align to the brand. The goal? That it doesn’t feel ‘stocky’. 
  • Be consistent. As Jim Collins likes to say ‘The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency’. Whatever you are doing in terms of the visual presentation of your brand above all you need to be consistent. It creates familiarity and trust. While you might start getting creative fatigue it’s not a good gauge – consider your audience and what they want rather than dabbling.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS LAST

Despite how much we think we’re in control of our minds, first impressions set the tone of how we perceive a brand long into the future; and if a first impression is negative it’s hard to recover. Set off on the right foot, so you’re not fighting against preconceived ideas.

You have milliseconds to make a positive impression on a potential consumer, so make it count. 

Sophie Coldham

Written by: Sophie Coldham
Published: October 25, 2021

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