March 8, 2022

Why Startup Founders Should Learn Design Basics

branding consistency

Learn why branding consistency is vital for startup founders to learn from the start.

Have you ever wondered why some startups seem to succeed while others fail?

Design, design, design. It's the backbone of any successful startup. A well-designed product can make or break a company's success. Design basics are not hard to learn and will help you grow your business in more ways than one. Understanding the difference between product, web, and branding design is important to ensure your business remains successful!

So if you want to succeed truly, you need to understand why basic design knowledge is essential. And that's why we've put together a guide on why you should understand more about the basics of designing.

So let's get started so you can be well on your way to crushing your branding game consistently!

Common Design Types for StartUp Businesses

Before jumping into the whys, let's look at a few key concepts one must fundamentally know on designing.

In the early stage of startups, founders must effectively define these three critical components in their business' design components.

1. Brand Design 

Brand Design is about telling people what your company does. It's about how you present yourself to others by defining how you express yourself on all platforms.

It's important to understand the following aspects of your brand design:

  • Company Name and Vision - What is the company's name, and what is the vision? The company's story should be easy to understand and engaging.
  • Logo - What does the logo look like? Is it memorable, and does it stand out against competitors?
  • Typeface - What font is used on all branding collateral? Is it legible and easy to read for all audiences?
  • Colors - What colors are used in branding and marketing materials? Are they consistent with the company's desired persona?
  • Brand story - the emotions and values you want your brand to evoke in others. This should be communicated through all aspects of your branding, from your website to the tone of voice in your social media posts.

A few key questions to guide brand design can be:

  1. What's the vision of the brand?
  2. What kind of solution is your company known about?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. What are some adjectives that best describe your company?
  5. What is your brand personality?

2. Product Design 

The user experience of your service or product is known as product design. This includes every other touchpoint with your consumers or prospects, whether it's the software you create yourself or not. Product design isn't limited to creating user interfaces; it also includes wireframing, user research, and usability testing.

A few key questions to guide product design can be:

  1. What features do you want to include?
  2. What's the user flow for this product?
  3. How does this product solve the user's problem?
  4. How often will they use it?
  5. What makes it difficult for the user to use my product?

3. Web Design 

Website design is making sure users interact with your website. It's the overall structure and layout of the site and the types of content included on each page. To have a successful web design, you must keep the following in mind:

A few key questions to guide web design can be:

  1. What is the overall look and feel of your site?
  2. What's the main message you want to communicate on your website?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. What is your traffic flow?
  5. What elements in my brand strategy can be utilized to maximize my web design?

For both web and product design, the key aspects all fall under very similar categories, so it's essential to understand the following key aspects. 

  • Layout - refers to how you organize the content on your website
  • Typography - the use of typefaces to convey a message
  • Color - how you want your website to be perceived by users
  • Hierarchy - what's the most important thing on this page, and how do I make sure users see it?
  • Calls to Action - what do you want users to do when they visit your website?
  • Responsive Design - how your website looks and behaves on different devices
  • Functionality - does the website work properly and as intended?
  • User Experience - how easy is it for users to use your website/product to find the information they're looking for or take the action you want them to do?

These three aspects of design should ultimately work together to give your brand, product, and business the best chances of winning.

Why Should You Learn Design Basics

1. Design is the backbone of any successful startup

Design is the backbone of any successful startup. It's what makes customers want to buy your product and keeps them coming back for more. Good design can set you apart from your competition and make you a household name.

There are many different aspects to design, and it's important to understand them all if you want your business to be successful. Product design is what you use to create your actual product. Web design is how your website looks and functions. Branding design is the overall look and feel, including your logo, fonts, and colors.

All of these aspects work together to create a cohesive branding strategy.

2. Helps the startup founder better create a better branding strategy

It's not enough to pick a few typefaces and hues, slap them up on a PowerPoint and say, "Hey, this is what our brand will look like." There's a deeper science to branding strategy requiring study, awareness of color psychology, human behavior, and even some consumer psychology.

You'll be able to come up with a logo, colors, and fonts that work well together and represent your company in the best way possible. You'll also be able to create marketing materials that are consistent with your branding. This is important for building customer trust and loyalty.

Follow the footsteps of consistent branding examples like Coca-Cola, Nike, Dropbox, Google etc.

3. A well-designed product can make or break a company's success

A well-designed product can mean the difference between success and failure for a startup. It's the first impression customers will have of your company, and it's what will keep them coming back for more. If your product looks and feels dated or is difficult to use, customers will quickly lose interest.

On the other hand, a well-designed product can make customers fall in love with your company. It's the thing that sets you apart from your competition and makes you a household name. A good design will make customers want to buy your product and keep them coming back for more.

To create a successful product, you need to understand the basics of design. This includes everything from product design to web design to branding design.

4. Allows you to stay close to your vision for your business

As the saying goes, "Too many cooks spoil the broth", well, it's the same in business. Especially in the early stages of your business where you are still trying to find your identity. As a startup founder, you know the kind of business, product, and brand you would like to have and put out there. You are the heart and the soul of the business. If you rely too heavily on other people without your design direction, your company may end up far from where you originally wanted to go.

When you have a basic understanding of design, you can communicate your vision to the designer and make sure they stay close to your vision. This will help keep your business on track and maintain the branding strategy and look you originally wanted.

5. You can up your social media game

Having a basic knowledge of design can greatly improve your social media presence. From knowing the right media sizes, design rules, compositions, you can create branding consistency across your assets.

People tend to respond better to visuals than text, so a well-designed social media post is more likely to get attention and result in more shares.

When you understand the basics of design, you can create better visuals for your social media posts. This will help you stand out from the crowd and attract more attention. You'll also be able to create marketing materials that are consistent with your branding.

6. Knowledge of design basics allows you to create prototypes

Being able to express your concepts, designs, and branding visually can help members of your team understand where you want to go.

When you have a good understanding of design, you can communicate your vision to the designer and make sure they stay close to your vision. This will help keep your business on track and maintain the branding strategy and look you originally wanted.

Creating prototypes with a good understanding of design can speed up the design process and help get your product to market faster. It can also help save on costs, as you'll be able to create some of the designs yourself.

Examples of prototypes:

  • Wireframes - are low-fidelity sketches that show the skeletal framework of a website or app.
  • Moodboards - are boards with images, text, and other design elements that represent the style and feel of a website or app.
  • Mock-Ups - are high-fidelity images that show what a website or app will look like when it's finished.
  • Mind Maps - are diagrams that show the connections between ideas.

7. Allows you to tackle challenges holistically

As a startup founder, you deal with problems coming from all directions. Finance, Marketing, Accounting, Logistics. By understanding the importance of design basics, you can take into consideration the impact of certain changes or decisions on your design elements. You'll be able to tackle challenges holistically and come up with better solutions. Will a different material affect my branding consistency? Or is this current design fit with the current channel?

When you understand the basics of design, you can take a more holistic approach to solve problems. This will help you develop better solutions and avoid making decisions that might damage your design.

8. You can guide branding consistency across all your channels

A social media post refitted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or Thumbnails being resized or re-layout for Youtube and TikTok are just a few consistent branding examples. Meaning whether it's a Facebook ad or a billboard on a highway, the message conveyed by your design should be the same.

When it comes to branding, consistency is critical. Consumers can become confused if you don't keep your brand consistent. And disinterest follows as a result of this.

Just remember, if a confused shopper has too many questions in their head, they are more likely not to buy whatever it is you are selling.

Great design should lead to great customer experiences.

9. Helps you know and identify talent that can truly help you

It's easy to be scammed or overpriced if you don't know your design basics. There are a few out there who will take advantage of certain ignorance. So knowing design basics can protect you. At the same time, when interviewing potential candidates, it allows you to better communicate your vision, your requirements and see if the person you are hiring can catch your direction.

You can also be a more effective team member when you have some knowledge of design. Being able to communicate with designers and understand their language will help the whole team move faster and achieve better results.

10. Knowing design basics can save you a TON of money

Especially in a startup situation. Not having to hire that extra hand to do the design work can translate into savings in the thousands. With basic design knowledge, you can take on design grunt work and maybe couple it with a few automation tools out there that can easily help execute postings, resizing, and adjustments of your creatives.

Startup founders should learn design basics to maintain branding consistency across all channels, tackle challenges holistically, and guide branding consistency. Additionally, understanding the basics of design can help save on costs and identify talent that can truly help you. Finally, knowing design basics can save you a ton of money.

Your Turn…

So what are you waiting for? Get started and learn the basics, today!

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