6 Top Reasons to Use a Graphic Designer for Your Business

  • Alessandro Fard,  Contributor

    Alessandro is a published UX/UI designer with a passion for amazing design and intelligent user experience. He has over 14 years of experience in web with a special focus in UI/UX. Alessandro has worked directly with brands such as Facebook, American Express, Bank of America, eBay, Sony, Yahoo, TrueCar, and many more. CreateApe, Inc.
6 Top Reasons to Use a Graphic Designer for Your Business

So you think your business doesn’t need a graphic designer? You better think again.

For most people, a graphic designer is just some sort of modern high tech artist. That means their value is up for endless debate, and most people are convinced that they’re not actually all that practical for a business.

Yet that’s hardly the case. A graphic designer handles the various visual images that your business uses. They deal with the look of every promotional item you use, including the look of the texts. Their goal is to make your brand look more visually appealing to your intended market.

Take a close at how your business operates and you’ll realize that you actually use a lot of images to help promote your business. You have a brand name, and that means you need to pick a font to represent that name. You probably have a logo as well. In all likelihood, you use a website for your business and that website will be full of images and graphics content.

So exactly what can a graphic designer do for your business? Here are a few examples:

  1. Saves you from tedious website tasks.

    If you’re any sort of small business owner or service provider, you most likely have a website. While a website is useful, many small business owners don’t realize until it’s too late that maintaining a site can take a lot of time and effort if you actually want that site to be of use. You have to update the images, and let’s not get started on the videos. You have to edit them and post them too.

Eventually, you’ll realize that you don’t have enough time in a workday to run your business and run your website as well. But some graphic designers will offer both design services and general web management. You get an expert who can actually make full use of graphic design and web management software so that you’re free to actually run your real business and make some money.

6 Top Reasons to Use a Graphic Designer for Your Business

  1. Gives your brand a unique identity.

    If you’re the only plumber in your area, then you don’t really need to boost your brand all that much. But if you’re one among many, then you have to start thinking about separating your brand from the rest of the pack. Your graphic designer can do that for you a lot more skillfully than you can do on your own.

You’d be surprised at how much of an impression your visual imagery can make on your potential customers and clients. That’s the area in which your graphic designer can help. They can come up with a unique logo that can encapsulate your brand identity. They can choose the right font for your brand name to use on your shop signs and website. They can pick the proper images, website fonts, and website layout to quickly define what your brand stands for. In the end, your brand can become much more memorable because you let the graphic designer do their thing.

  1. Enables you to spread your message across various media.

    There was a time when a simple business could get by with just a simple sign on their shop. Nowadays you have to market yourself across a variety of platforms in order to increase your audience. That means you may want to use printed marketing materials, emails, and websites designed for desktop PCs and smartphones. And that’s not even considering social media, which is a must if you want to stand out amongst your competition.

With a graphic designer, you have an expert who knows what kinds of images are most effective for these different types of platforms. At the very least, they’re much more technologically adept at using these platforms. They can make sure that you use the right imagery for your websites and for your oriented marketing materials to help convey your brand identity.

  1. Optimizes your online marketing effectiveness.

    Plenty of surveys have confirmed that imagery boosts the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. Post a blog, and it will get almost double the views when you have an image to accompany your text. The same goes for your Facebook and Twitter posts, and press releases. The products you sell online are more attractive to buyers when you have professional-looking images, which your graphic designer can create.

Buyers don’t really care much for marketing materials that only use blocks of text. You need photos and videos, and your graphic designer can provide those.

  1. Makes you message more consistent.

    It’s a pretty simple rule that when you use a brand name and logo, you have to use the same look every time. You can’t have your logo in a different color, nor can you use a different font for your brand name. It can confuse your potential customers, and it makes you seem unprofessional and inept.

But consistency is crucial in the tone of your messages as well, regardless of the platform you use. Whether you’re distributing pamphlets, sending out tweets and emails, or promoting your business on your website, you need to use the same kind of tone to maintain your brand identity. You can’t be somber in one platform (which works well for law firms, banks, and funeral parlors) and then playful in another platform.

Basically, you can’t define your brand if your brand definition keeps changing. The graphic designer makes sure that your brand identity remains constant so you’re more easily remembered.

  1. Boosts company morale.

    Workers take pride in their company when they see that it’s professional and successful. They can then brag about working for such a business among their social circles, and they can take pride in their work. That’s what happens when you hire a graphic designer and your signs, brochures, and website becomes much more professional-looking. It makes your workers proud to work for such a business, and consequently, their performance improves. (Not to mention you’ll probably design a few awesome company t-shirts too!)

Basically, a graphic designer is more than an artist whose value is up for debate. A graphic artist is in fact one of the best communication tools for your brand. With the right use of images and typography, potential customers can tell at a glance what your brand stands for. With a graphic designer, you can stand out from the rest of the competition.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

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6 Simple Steps to Making a Mobile-Focused Website

6 Simple Steps to Making a Mobile-Focused Website

You’ll need a different mindset if your website is primarily designed for mobile users.

It’s funny when you think about it, but there was a time when websites weren’t really designed for smartphone screens. They were designed for the much larger monitors of desktop PCs. Of course, when you shrink those web pages you can hardly read and see anything, which became a problem when mobile Internet surfing became more popular. So the more farsighted website owners created their websites for PCs, and then they tried to have a different version for smartphones.

Nowadays, most serious websites have both a PC and a mobile version. In fact, more websites are actually being built for mobile surfing first, before a desktop PC version is created. That’s because more people are going online using the smartphones rather than their desktop PCs.

So how do you build a website that’s more focused on serving the needs of mobile visitors? Here are a few tips that can start you on your way:

1. Strip Your Pages Down

When you’re determined to build a website that’s actually geared for smartphone users, you can’t use overly complex webpages. You have to simply your web pages instead.

There are good reasons for this. One, with a small screen to work with you don’t want to overwhelm the user with too many details. A simple layout works much better so they know what to do. Two, with too many complex elements it’ll take too long for a web page to load, and we all know how impatient mobile surfers are. If it takes more than 3 seconds to load a page, chances are good they’ll press the back button and try another website.

2. Plan for Your User’s Needs

Will they be tapping buttons on the web page? If so, you need to make those buttons visible, and they should be large enough so that they can be tapped easily enough. Will they have to input a username and password? If that’s the case, you’ll have to put in a keyboard interface as well. What if they’re looking for a particular section? You may want to feature a clear outline of your site, and a search bar can certainly help.

You have to put yourself in your website user’s shoes. Pretend you’re the user and you need to find something on your website. You’ should then realize what kind of helpful elements you need to put in.

When you’ve designed your web pages, try them out first. You have to know for sure how they would work within a mobile browser.

3. Don’t Forget about Laptops

When you’re designing with a smartphone user in mind, at least you have a touchscreen working for you so your users can simply swipe along the way to navigate your site. But that’s not exactly the case when your mobile user is actually using a laptop. In some instances, they don’t have a mouse either.

What this also means is that you have to plan for various resolutions to make sure your web pages appear at their best. Laptops are often limited to 1024 x 768 resolutions, and that’s what you need to plan for. In fact, check out the various screen sizes of the most popular laptops so you can have a different version for each resolution.

4. Going with Responsive Layouts

Some people would rather opt for a responsive layout, rather than have a different type of website for each type of Internet device. With a responsive design, your website morphs to fit whatever type of resolution your website user is using.

This can be quite convenient for you. You’ll have the same HTML markup that works on all screens. You won’t have to go with specific stylesheets for different types of devices.

Since you’re focused on mobile users first, at least with this approach you take care of the needs of those using smaller screens. Of course, there’s a good chance that you won’t get an optimal look when you’re website visitor is using a desktop browser. But those are bugs that you can fix later. These guys aren’t your top priority after all.

To help you see just how responsive websites can work for different devices, you ought to do some research on the various responsive sites that are currently in operation these days. Just Google for them and you should find them easily enough. You can then cherry-pick the features that you want to appear on your own responsive website.

5. Don’t Forget about the Navigational Requirements

If you’ve been designing websites all this time with a focus on desktop users, then you’re probably more used to people who can just use a mouse to get around a webpage. That’s not going to fly with a mobile website.

For most website designers, the simplest solution here is to just have your page sections cascade down. Your visitors can just swipe downward to see more of your content. You can also have your links appear constantly at the top or at the bottom of the screen so that they can get around your site more easily.

Just don’t go overboard and put in too many links on your navigational menu bar. Just go with the basic root items instead.

6. Set Up Your Images Properly

Dealing with image content can be problematic when you have such a small screen to work with. One solution is to have a set of images solely for small smartphone screens, while you have another set for normal displays. However, you can’t overlook the need for high-resolution images for iPhone retina displays.

Another solution is to set up all your images to contract and then expand up to the maximum point. This can work just as well for desktop users too. Even HTML5 video supports this setup, so it’s convenient.

It does require a different mindset when you’re building a website that’s more focused on mobile users. The old ways won’t work if you’re used to traditional desktop websites. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to give it a test run on your own smartphone first!

Here are 5 Steps You Can Do to Prepare Your Website for Google’s Mobile-First Index

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

How to Maximize Your Digital Marketing Budget in 2019

How to Maximize your Digital Marketing Budget in 2019

Many businesses don’t really regard themselves as digital companies, because they may offer “analog” consumer products and services. After all, they’re not selling high-tech products and software programs. Common small businesses include restaurants, arts, and crafts sales, and plumbing services. So since these are traditional businesses, often they employ traditional marketing strategies—and that’s a mistake. Instead, digital marketing must be at the forefront of any sensible marketing strategy these days.

It’s true that many of these old-school marketing departments have now added more modern online marketing elements like mobile marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and website operations. Yet often the focus is on traditional marketing methods like print ads and retail store promos. The digital marketing teams receive a far smaller share of the marketing budget.

If you’re running your own business, you have to increase the budget for digital marketing. In fact, the bulk of your marketing budget should probably go to digital marketing instead. Your digital marketing team should be at the forefront of your marketing efforts, leading the charge in promoting your brand and gathering data about your customers.

If you’re not convinced, here are some facts that should change your mind:

  • The vast majority of your customers are online. In the US, about 89% of the people use the Internet. Among the Internet users, 77% go online every day, 43% are online several times a day, and a staggering 26% are online almost constantly. The percentage of the constantly connected jumps to 39% for the 18 to 29 age bracket.
  • According to expert consumer marketers, the most effective marketing tactics include digital marketing techniques like social media, email newsletters, videos, mobile apps, website articles, and blogs. Online marketing is quite versatile, as it can also include webinars, webcasts, online presentations, white papers, infographics, and case studies.
  • With so many digital channels, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the message stays consistent throughout. Every platform should have the same information regarding your business, such as your location and your contact information. Your prices and promos should also appear the same for each channel. Your offline channels must also fall in line with your online promos, though this can be a challenge when you’re prone to quick reactive promotions.
  • The speed of digital marketing is significantly faster compared the traditional offline channels. This is in terms of fulfilling consumer demand for information. Direct mail and even telephone channels can’t compare to having all the information readily available on your website. You can also chat with your consumers and respond quickly via forum posts and emails.
  • The analytic tools for online marketing are also superior as you’re able to really track your marketing ROI. These tools can track how each digital marketing method is actually contributing to your bottom line. You can find out which methods are increasing your brand visibility, increasing your website visitors, and boosting your sales.

The basic truth is that all business these days are digital. You may offer traditional services like food products and plumbing services, yet marketing today must be online.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

100 Best Coworking Spaces in Los Angeles

100 Best Coworking Spaces to Work in Los Angeles

Coworking spaces these days are all about well-designed, health-conscious zones styled to look more like a members’ lounge than a meeting room. It’s no wonder freelancers, creatives and startups are turning to coworking spaces as an alternative to the traditional office. The communal environment and the amazing amenities are definite perks, but mainly for the sheer beauty of the spaces themselves.

We have compiled a complete list of the best coworking spaces in Los Angeles for you to work – HERE

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Read on … How is Coworking Great For The Los Angeles Tech Scene

 

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.