4 Steps to a Great First (Graphic) Impression

Brand Basics

When customers first approach and enter your place of business, they’re forming an opinion.

So, when you’re creating the signature graphics for your business—including choosing colors and typography and designing your logos, signage, and wraps—good design principles are essential. Follow these four rules to create an impeccable first impression.

1. Think it through

How will your design elements be integrated into your business? That important question will help you make choices about your design elements, says Jeff Fisher, founder of graphic design firm LogoMotives, based in Portland, Oregon. For example, if you’re planning on using your logo in various media—on your website, employee t-shirts, and vehicle wraps—work with a designer to create elements and choose colors that will work well in each of those formats

2. Consider your “color consequences”

You may love a specific shade of purple, but that isn’t a good enough reason to make it the signature color for your business, says Dean Logan, creative director at French West Vaughan, an advertising and public relations firm in Raleigh, North Carolina. Color reproduces differently in digital platforms, which uses the RGB (red, green, blue) color spectrum, than print, which uses a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color spectrum. RGB can produce many more colors than CMYK, so shades may differ in digital platforms.

3. Find the right type

Sans serif fonts (typefaces that don’t have small projecting features called “serifs” at the end of strokes) typically scale well, so they’re increasingly popular design choices for companies that want to keep a consistent look, Logan says. “A font that may look good on a business card may not on a digital screen,” he adds. Your graphic designer may also recommend font pairings that work well together. Beware of mixing fonts without knowing what you’re doing, because the effect can look unprofessional.

4. Follow the golden rule

From your interior design to your digital presence, your choice of graphics will likely have an impact, Fisher says. You’ve likely heard the design acronym KISS—keep it simple, stupid—but it’s so well-known because it’s important, he adds. When you’re working on the foundational elements of your company, such as logo design and signage, simple imagery and typography often reproduce best across a variety of media.

“Sometimes, we have to show people what the logo or design will look like with everything they want us to put in it to show that overly complex designs and 20-word taglines don’t really work,” he says.

Explore simple, effective ways to build your brand and business with graphics.

If you do not already work with one, connect with a branding graphics professional by entering your zip code and searching for a professional near you.

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