When Is Design Productive for Business? 5 Basic Rules of Efficiency

How to succeed faster with design, avoid mistakes and unnecessary expenses

Erik Messaki     |       August 14, 2022

Why is it that some businesses use design to increase their efficiency many times over while others see no tangible success?

“They chose the wrong designers”? Wrong answer!

There are five critical mistakes that business owners can make in commissioning design for their business. Violating any one of the five principles of promoting business through graphic design leads to failure.

Understanding the importance of each principle and knowing how to apply them in practice brings great results. Namely, a unified and organic design that promotes the brand’s image and recognition, ensures high conversion rates, and improves profits.

Test yourself: do you know and follow these principles?

Hire me — Web Design for Recruiting Platform

1. Design is part of marketing strategy

Design is part of the marketing strategy. Moreover, it’s a direct consequence of how you handle this side of business.

No design will save a company if it lags behind in marketing, i.e.:

- brand and product positioning is not neglected;

- the business goal is primitive (profiting and nothing more);

- no regular business analysis is done;

- there is no strategic vision;

- there is no testing of ideas, products, competitors, target audience, KPI, etc.

With marketing such as this, design is simply incapable of accomplishing business goals. It’s just wasted money.

If you’re lucky enough to find a competent design firm, they will inevitably encourage you to get to the basics of marketing. Through joint effort, you may be able to create a reasonably good product. But this success will be temporary unless you continually address the above-listed issues.

Wave — Web App Design for Crypto Wallet

To design anything, you need to set a business task. It becomes the basis of the design task. Those who only have vague business tasks cannot give clear instructions to the designer. This means they can’t formulate the list of necessary tasks, assess their relevance, and estimate the cost. The results can be unpredictable (and rarely in a good sense).

Conversely, a clear vision of your business and its goals helps you formulate a task that even a mediocre designer will understand, resulting in an effective project without excessive spending.

Your design is a product of your marketing strategy.

2. Design is a means of communication

Graphic design in all its forms accomplishes one task: it conveys information to people. It’s not decor or art. Misunderstanding the essence of design leads to a dismissive attitude toward it. As a result, the presentation of information suffers. Untrustworthy identity, incorrectly formatted letters, intrusive advertising, unattractive packaging and goods, ugly websites — all these are the natural results of this misunderstanding.

If you have no problems with Paragraph 1 above, then you know exactly what information you want to convey to the market and consumers. You know what impression this information should make, and what goals it should achieve. You have a beautiful idea. The designer will merely “dress it up.” He will give it a face that inspires confidence and welcomes communication.

Your design is the face of your business and its language of communication.

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3. Design is inseparable from the company and product

In the eyes of the market, design is as much your product as anything else you produce and offer. This is very important to understand.

For your partners, employees, and clients, the design you present is part of your brand.

Many businesspeople unwittingly separate design from their business, as it is usually not done by their own company. This is nonsense. The customer doesn’t care where and how the manufacturer got the material. They only care about the product’s quality. Design is associated with the brand and is perceived as an integral part of it.

Kidzy — Landing Page for Montessori Kindergarten

Graphic design is a product, even if you can’t touch it with your hands. Isn’t it in your best interest to offer users a good product? Brand design and visual identity are the visible shell of your company. In the same way, the packaging and appearance of the product are visual shells. However, just by looking at the product before even touching it, the customer decides whether it’s worth being examined or whether they should keep looking.

High-quality, attractive design gives people confidence in the brand and product, even if they aren’t familiar with it yet. And no, it would never occur to them to separate design from product. Design is the product’s attribute and a sign of quality (or lack thereof).

Your design is relevant to your business and is its organic product.

4. Design is a unified system of recognition

Most companies start with small and easily manageable things: logos, social media pages, and ads. As they grow and develop, the demands increase; now they need a landing page, newsletters, correspondence, printed materials… Then they design a more substantial website and an app.

All this work is spread out in time and done by different designer teams. The result is mismatched, chaotic design with no unity of style at the points of contact between the business and the clients. Which means no brand recognition.

Corporate style and visual unity must be present everywhere:

Unity of style is a principle that has to apply to all visual communications in order to foster brand recognition and memorability. This unity helps people navigate and perceive information faster, making the content more structured and understandable.

Style unity is a sign of professionalism; it signifies quality and a responsible attitude of the company toward its business and clients.

Re-examine your points of contact with the users and make sure each one makes your company and product look seamless, recognizable, and in accordance with the corporate style.

Your design has unified visuals at all business / customer touchpoints.

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5. Design is a process, not a result

To succeed in business, you should view design as a process.

The contemporary market is dynamic. Those who can’t keep up get left behind. The same applies to graphic design.

Business grows and changes on the inside, and this should always be reflected on the outside. Trends, users’ values, and even the users themselves change all the time. Competitors are always hot on your heels. If you do nothing, your design will become outdated and lose its appeal, shrinking your audience.

Trying to correct it once the users have already started leaving is a bad idea. You will need a fundamental redesign, which doesn’t come cheap. It’s much better to keep working on your design continuously, gradually updating the content and visuals instead of scaring users away with revolutionary changes.

It’s very useful to monitor the competition, follow the current design trends, and always stay on top.

You are constantly working on your design, testing and updating it.

UP — Onboarding Screen for Mobile App


The effectiveness of design or redesign for promoting your business grows exponentially when you:

- make design a part of your marketing strategy;

- use all the communicative possibilities of design;

- view design as one of your products and monitor its quality;

- follow a unity of corporate style across all communication platforms;

- regularly update the content and visual elements.

Don’t be upset if you have missed one of these principles. It’s a good opportunity to examine the problem, catch up, and take a big step toward success.