Design is everywhere and its importance should not be ignored. Yes, you already have your multi-million dollar idea. Yes, you already have the means to transfer that idea into an online plane. Yes, you already have your team ready to go. But you don't know what the colors of your brand are, what fonts you will use in your communications, or how you should appear on banners with other companies, among many other things. Design, also in the digital world, is something that you should take into account early in your endeavor, and we will tell you why.
What is design?
According to AIGA (The Professional Association for Design):
“The traditional role of design has been to improve the visual appearance and function of messages and information. (...) designers use typography, photographs, illustrations, and graphic elements to construct messages that attract attention, cause us to think about their meaning, and stay in our memories over time.”
This, of course, is a definition in the most general sense possible. When talking about design we can also talk about its subcategories, from advertising design, or information design to UX / UI or motion graphics. However, the core of the above quote must remain. Its objective, through different techniques or approaches, is to improve the appearance and function of messages and information, and to ensure that these remain in our minds.
So this should be enough to explain why it is important. But we can go further with some of the many reasons.
Why you should care
Design should matter to you for everything that has just been mentioned: it helps you to be clear with your message and to communicate it in a more efficient and memorable way. Besides that, a good design helps you get the audience you are really looking for.
Talk to the right audience
Design sometimes functions as a universal language made up of cultural markers. According to the references and cultural markers that you use, you will be able to communicate with one audience better than with another. A message written with comic sans font will probably not be very well received if it comes from a law firm, since the cultural marker in this group is that this is a font that does not denote professionalism. However, if this message comes from a preschool institution or from a foundation for people with dyslexia or literacy problems, the text may be very well received, as the font is friendly and clear, and has proven to help in processes of reading thanks to its distinguishable shapes.
Ease of use
And since we are talking about improvements in functionality, we can mention how design alters usability. In a digital environment, this has its own specializations, called UX (or User Experience) and UI (or User Interface).
UX, as its name implies, is interested in the user experience on your website or app. And its goal is to obtain and maintain user satisfaction at the highest possible levels. UX must always take into account the motivations and minds of potential users when planning its software and must be in constant iteration when starting to see results.
UI seeks to have the best possible presentation and interactivity in the software you are creating. Everything you see on a web page, from the images to the location of the buttons, is usually calculated by the UI designers so that users interact according to the planning made by UX and achieve your objective as a business, either achieving a sale, a visit, an enrollment or anything else.
It can also help build trust in your users, especially if we are talking about businesses that exist entirely on the internet. If you come across a page that looks out of date in terms of design, that is, it looks like software for Windows 98, you most likely don't want to give that brand your money, right? Even if this one has what you're looking for! That's what a bad design or lack of one can cause.
On the contrary, if you find a page with a striking, enveloping design, you want to stay on it, you explore the subpages that are present and it could even end up leading you to consume or acquire their product. A classic example of what I am talking about is Apple. The design is striking and, although sometimes it does not have the best product, its design generates greater trust and retention in its customers.
How do I get a good design?
Now that you know the importance of design in your online business, you may ask yourself: Ok, and how do I get a good design for my business? And the answer is not just one. Sure, you can hire a designer or a team of designers for your company and have them work with you all the time. This will guarantee consistency in your brand's image and will allow you to communicate constantly with your audience in an eye-catching way. But maybe you don't have the budget, or right now you don't feel like you need a full-time designer.
Well, there is always the option of hiring freelance designers. There are many —and very talented— who are constantly looking for work and, who knows, maybe one of them can be the person you need. You can also consider using the products of brands like Superside or Design Pickle, which allow you to get certain design options for a monthly subscription.
Lastly, you may want to tackle the problem yourself. There are thousands of online courses on design that you can start taking on platforms like Skillshare, or Coursera, and you can help yourself with free tools like Canva or more advanced ones like Photoshop or Illustrator.
The point is, however you can, you should incorporate design in your business.