One morning you woke up with a vision – an idea that you just couldn’t get out of your head that inspired something deep within you.
Maybe there was a problem that a lot of people were facing that you came up with a unique solution to. Perhaps you had an idea for a product that would address a gap in a particular marketplace and if nobody else was going to get around to executing it, why shouldn’t it be you?
Regardless, from that moment on, you officially became an entrepreneur. At that point, your entire life changed forever.
But what a lot of people don’t immediately realize – especially those out there who are starting their first business – is that this vision is only one small part of a much larger story. The vision is what inspired you to strike out on your own and start a business in the first place. But to take your efforts to the next level, you need more than just products and services – you need a way to get them out into the world and help them stand out in a marketplace that is becoming increasingly crowded all the time.
That, of course, is where your marketing comes into play.
The right marketing campaign is equal parts educational and inspiring. You don’t just need to make people aware of what you do – you need them to believe that this is something only you can do. Likewise, you need to make sure that marketing collateral effortlessly stands out from every other piece of advertising that someone will be exposed to that day.
All of this is why design isn’t just important for an entrepreneur – it’s critically so.
The Importance of Proper Design: Breaking Things Down
One of the most important things to understand about why design matters so much to an entrepreneur is that, ultimately, your design drives the conversation that you’re having with the largest possible audience.
Take something as seemingly simple as a business card, for example. When you sit down with a business card maker like Visme(which I founded), your goal isn’t simply to convey basic information like your name, phone number, and address. If you start building that piece of collateral with only that basic goal in mind, all you’ve really done is a guarantee that someone will politely accept your business card, put it into their wallet and probably never think about it again.
Instead, you want to make someone pay attention to. You want to make them want to pick up the phone and give you a call or keep talking about what it is that you do and how, specifically, you do it.
A focus on the right kind of design elements – ones that visually convey the spirit behind your business – can do that for you.
A large part of this has to do with the fact that the elements that go into a striking visual design immediately invoke an emotional response in an individual. Even going beyond the information itself, it’s a way to give people something to latch onto about your brand. The colors, the shapes, the font – all of these elements come together to convey the feeling of your business. This is something that words alone cannot do, which is why design needs to always be at the front of your mind whenever you’re designing anything that will ultimately be seen by members of your target audience.
Tapping Into a Visual Language
At the same time, you also have to understand that human beings are visual learners – they always have been, and they always will be.
If you put two choices in front of someone – a 1,000-word blog post or a 10-minute video – the vast majority of the time people would choose to watch the video, even if those two pieces of collateral contained literally the exact same information.
This isn’t because people are “lazy” or “nobody reads anymore.” It’s because this type of visual element plays directly into the way that the human brain works in the first place.
In a broader sense, none of your marketing materials exist in a vacuum. They’re all telling small portions of the story that is your brand. Because of that, and because human beings learn visually, you need to take as many parts of your “story” as possible and express them as visually as you possibly can.
This is why an Infographic maker will quickly become one of the most invaluable tools you have as an entrepreneur. There will be times when you need to take large, complicated ideas and break them down in a way that literally anyone can understand. As a format, Infographics are a perfect opportunity to do this – and that is always an opportunity worth capitalizing on.
Even during the initial stages of content planning – when you’re using a site like Respona to research the ideas and topics that people in your audience care about – you need to be thinking about design. Yes, there will be certain ideas that absolutely need to be expressed via text alone – there simply won’t be another way to get that information across, and that’s okay.
But once you start to train yourself to think with an eye towards design, you’d be truly surprised by just how much can be expressed with minimal words and a heavy emphasis on visual design.
Even those topics that do demand the use of the blog format can still be “spruced up” if you’re paying attention to design. You should always be pairing up your text with relevant images as often as you can. If you find yourself in a situation where there aren’t really any relevant images for you to draw from, that’s perfectly okay because design best practices manifest themselves in other ways, too.
Small, subtle design choices can be just as important – like using bullet points wherever possible, changing font sizes to emphasize certain bits of information and using shorter sentences to emphasize the structure of the piece, can all make a big difference in terms of how that collateral is eventually “received.”
But above all else, remember that design cannot become an afterthought. It needs to be an organic part of your content creation process and you should be thinking about it as soon in that process as you possibly can.
If you’re able to train yourself to think in this design-centric way, regardless of what you’re trying to create at the moment, you’ll have mastered your ability to communicate as an entrepreneur. Make no mistake about it – that is an incredibly exciting position to be in, regardless of the business you’re running or the products and services you’re trying to get out there into the world.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience, and web app development.
Why Design Matters for Entrepreneurs