If there’s one thing that a huge number of business owners and sole traders seem to know about it is graphic design. Norfolk has a huge number of graphic designers, and yet even so a number of businesses still seem to think that graphic design is little more than making something look good by adding a few colours, perhaps a border, maybe a picture (hey, why not just insert a bit of Clip Art?) and then Robert’s your mother’s brother – you’re a graphic designer!
Who needs to pay those expensive studios for providing unnecessary graphic design? Norwich has a number of graphic studios, of varying skill and experience, and even this demonstrates that there are many people so confident about the idea of graphic design, and the fact that it seems so easy anyone can do it, that almost anyone is doing it, with studios being set up by people with little more experience that a quick trip to PC World, a rapid installation of a graphics programme and the ordering of a few business cards newbury graphic designers.
So if graphic design is not as easy as some people seem to assume, what it is that so many people are missing? So many businesses seem to overlook the need for professional graphic design, thinking that by doing it all in house they’re demonstrating a remarkable ability to adapt to any marketing need whilst saving a pocket load of money.
But what it is that they’re overlooking? The fact is that graphic design is an incredibly diverse business covering almost every conceivable aspect of a business’s marketing and communications.
Let’s take a simple example to begin with and see how some businesses approach the challenge, and how a graphic designer might approach it. Let’s say that you’re putting together a leaflet, and you’re planning the front page. You need to have a title at the top of the first page, and so you type in something short and catchy.
You feel it needs to be really clear so you write it in capitals. Then you make it bold, and perhaps think about the contrast of the colour of the writing with the colour of the background. Then you start to think about the rest of the leaflet’s cover. Perhaps a big picture, and maybe a few overlaid images or notable words or prices?
Perhaps this seems very familiar. Certainly for those schoolchildren who have been given the task of creating a leaflet before their biology class with Mr Perkins it will sound very familiar indeed. Sadly though it won’t achieve very much.
Far from attracting sales and boosting the image of the company it is more likely to give a very amateurish impression to an audience who are more discerning and more skeptical every day.
So how would a graphic designer approach it differently? Almost certainly they wouldn’t even begin the design process until they had explored the business itself, appreciating what it’s values are, its objectives, what makes it different from other business, who their target audience is, why they are trying to reach that audience and what they’re trying to achieve through the use of the leaflet.
Simply having a target of ‘boosting sales’ is invariably no good. To achieve success it’s important to have a very specific target in mind. The more specific the aim, the more likely it is that you’ll hit it. It’s a little like shooting an arrow with a bow. With no target to aim for your arrow really could go anywhere. Maybe it will hit a tree. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it isn’t.
But with a target to aim for, you may not hit it first time, but with practice, dedication, research and preparation you’ll get mighty close. So a graphic designer values research and understanding first. Then they’ll take every single assumption you made, and every single oversight and think about it carefully.
You assume the title would go at the top, but a graphic designer knows that often this means that the lower third of the leaflet isn’t even looked at. You didn’t even think about what font to write the title in, or the balance of text and images on the page.
The angle of the text, the style of the layout, the colours and a thousand and one other little aspects all come into play in graphic design. Norfolk based studios, at least the good ones, know this, and will be able to cover these points quickly and effectively having carried out the research necessary to be able to help your business hit the target first time, every time.