What is Graphic Design?
To define graphic design, let’s start with what it isn’t. Graphic design isn’t art. Graphic designers, while employing creativity, are not artists.
Design is a service with the purpose of creating a successful commercial outcome for the client. It’s purpose is to create positioning, to sell products and to communicate.
The Value of Design
Typically, those companies that value graphic design are market leaders.
A study by the Design Council UK showed how design impacts business. It looked at 63 companies recognised as effective users of design and discovered that over a 10 year period shares in these companies had out-performed the FTSE 100 Index (an index of the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange) by 200%.
Used well, design meets the expectations of consumers and fulfills the needs of business. It aids companies by favourably shaping consumer perception and helps them communicate their most important messages to their customers, shareholders, employees and the public.
Another study by the Journal of Advertising Research concluded that design was twice as important as facts when consumers were making buying decisions. 23,000 US consumers were subjected to 240 advertising messages covering 13 categories of goods. In each of the 13 categories, emotion was found to be much more important than facts in the decision making process.
The Role of Branding
As human beings, we’re driven by primitive instincts. We’ll often surround ourselves with things that give us a sense of where we fit into the world. And these things give us comfort and reassurance that we belong.
Since the dawn of time, humans have grouped together as tribes. Tribes of all different kinds. Cultures, villages, families, friends, teams, religions, armies. When we group together, we have the need to find where we fit into the group and try to position ourselves where we’d like to be seen by others.
We do this in different ways to not only fit into one tribe, but often to fit into many. We align ourselves with beliefs such as Christianity or Buddhism to become part of those tribes. We become supporters such as Sydney Swans football fans to become part of that tribe. And with the same human insticts that drive us to do these things, we also subscribe to the Country Road tribe or the Jeep tribe.
Part of joining a tribe is feeling that you’re understood. So, when an Apple campaign said “think different” they were appealing to people who belive that they think differently. If you are a creative person, you get the feeling Apple understands you and if they understand you, there’s a good chance that they know what you need in a computer. The same can be said for Nike when they said “just do it”. They know you find it hard to fit exercise into your busy schedule. They understand you.
We subscribe to these brand tribes because while we’ve never been more technologically connected, we’ve never been so physically and emotionally disconnected as we are now. There’s an ever-increasing feeling of tribelessness.
It’s human nature for people to want to to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. The connection we make with brands gives us the feeling that we are included and part of a family of like-minded people. And sub-consciously, with that feeling of inclusion comes a sense of self-worth and personal satisfaction.
Brand association helps us feel good. So, as marketers, it’s our job to make our customers and prospects feel good by joining our tribe. To make them feel confident and comfortable that they’ve made the correct decision to subscribe to your brand.