Art and business can often feel as though they exist on opposite sides of some sort of spectrum. Those with a penchant for one might not even feel there is much of a direct connection between the two, but there are several instances where design comes into play in the world of business – and these instances can allow for the artistic nature of those in question to really shine. Taking a close look at these circumstances can give you a deeper appreciation for the areas where art does emerge in the business world.
If you’re in business yourself, this might give you some inspiration as to how you can incorporate these artistic ideas into your own venture.
- 1-The Unseen Designs
When you think about design and art in business, the first thing that likely comes to mind is how they emerge in a customer-facing capacity. However, there are a lot of instances where design plays a role in how you operate your business. These designs might never see an external audience, but their function is more important than that. A prime example of this is the design work that goes into printed circuit boards (PCBs), a component that is used in an enormous variety of different industries. Designing the specific intricacies of such a small component isn’t easy, and with such varying applications, the minute details are what matter the most. Therefore, you’ll want the right software for the task – software that can have you exercising complete control over the design and having the results turn out exactly as you want, consistently. With tools like ORCAD Cadence, you can do exactly that, and while this might not be an area of business where you’re concerned about the aesthetic quality of PCB designs, you’ll know what differentiates the right result from something that you don’t want to see.
Other times, though, the uses aren’t quite as internal as that. On these occasions, it might be that something has been designed for internal use, perhaps for reasons such as testing, and therefore showcases a different design to how it will look when it releases to the public. This kind of thing can be seen in dev kits of game consoles, things that are designed to be tested before the consoles are even revealed – meaning that while designed with a purpose, it doesn’t need to fit the same design philosophies as the final product.
- 2-Your Logo and Its Meaning
Now, when you think about designs in business, logos might be the first thing that you think of. These icons tell you everything that you need to know – they often encapsulate the aesthetic of the brand and become absolutely inseparable from everything about the business. Looking at the logos of Starbucks or McDonald’s can show you this perfectly. Simply seeing the yellow and red color scheme of the latter can conjure up images of the brand in question, and even just indirectly referring to them as ‘the golden arches’ lets everyone know what you’re talking about. These aren’t the only two examples either: Pepsi, Subway, Apple, FedEx, Nike, Amazon – these are all immediately recognizable from their logos alone, even when those logos don’t contain the directly written name. It’s understandable that you would want your own logo to reach these heights, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and looking at these success stories might omit the number of redesigns that these companies had before they struck gold. Similarly, having more means at your disposal (specifically in the financial department) means that you’ll have more resources to spend on professionals who can achieve the results that you want. Therefore, trying to feel free of the pressure and accepting that things might change along the way can give you the time to ensure the rest of your business is ready to deliver the quality that keeps people around.
It’s also worth considering the difficulty that goes into iconic designs. Many of these logos are famous because they stand out as textbook examples of the right way to go about it. Simplicity is key, perhaps, but that simplicity is deceptive – nestled within a seemingly straightforward image are layers of meanings that might not even be immediately noticeable to someone looking at it.
A popular example is the FedEx logo, with the hidden arrow nestled in the back half of it. This arrow not only gives the indication of direction of delivery, but along with the compact nature of the logo, it also gives off connotations of speed as well – subtly assuring the audience of their efficiency as a delivery company. Even without noticing that, the block and bold coloring capture your attention, and the way in which each letter is compacted together naturally draws your eye to the gaps between, eventually leading you to the arrow in question.
However, another example that is even more simple at first is Apple. The famous apple with a bite taken out of it hasn’t changed all that much over the years, and when it has, it’s been in subtle ways. The sleek, muted presentation of it reflects exactly how they want their products to be seen. An iPhone is meant to be seen as cool, understated – it’s something that speaks for itself. Similarly, the simplicity of the brand name of Apple and the logo being exactly that unifies them closely together, creating a consistent, effective and streamlined approach.
This is something to think about when it comes to your own logo. It might not be possible to stuff all of this into a design without overthinking it massively – and again, that’s why you work with graphic design teams – but it’s important to remember that some of that meaning might come retroactively. Apple has had the logo it’s had (more or less) for decades, long before it acquired the prestige it has as a brand now. People can read meaning back into something even if that wasn’t intended to be there in the first place – so what you need to worry about is creating a logo that’s aesthetically pleasing and true to your brand.
- 3- Design in Marketing
When you think of marketing, social media posts and video marketing might come to your mind first. Taking the former to begin with, it’s difficult to see how design could play a role in these other than by developing a consistent tone of voice that you apply to all of your marketing and how you deploy attachments to these posts. Even with just that to work with, however, you can see how design can extend to aspects far beyond the simply visual. Your brand is something that you design, and this design is cultivated over a long period of experience-gaining and trial and error. Your tone of voice, your logo, your personality, these are all a part of it. Eventually, you’ll learn the parts that resonate with people (either through observation or through market research) and you’ll lean more heavily into those until you’ve polished off the edges and left yourself with a version of your business that you can be truly happy with. That being said, it might be naïve to think that this process ever ends, as what’s popular today might not be so tomorrow.
Turning your attention to video marketing, however, it might become apparent just how much more room you have to work with in terms of design. You obviously have the script itself, the way you construct a message around the point that you’re trying to make, but you also have the camerawork, the framing, the acting, the editing. There’s so much room for people to interpret a message outside of the one that you intend with video marketing because it represents longer-form content than a lot of other examples. Take marketing that comes in the form of a piece of graphic design, for example. In this case, you (or whoever designs it) can control every aspect of it – what is seen, what is contained, and where the eyes of the audience will be drawn. It’s a single frame, and you get to pour as much time as you want into making sure it paints just the right image. Back to video marketing, this could be multiple minutes of footage, and the more time that passes, the less control you have over each aspect of it.
This is something that you could embrace, making a more freeform piece of marketing that focuses on fun and looks to get the community involved, even if it’s just through discussing the video. However, too much disagreement on what the video means and it might just be the case that you haven’t had as much success with it as you were hoping. You could rectify this by cutting down the amount of time that you aim for. A more concise and controlled advert might better convey what you want, while also being able to strike that simple yet effective balance that allows it to remain in the minds of those who see it. However, with a shorter runtime comes less time for you to explain yourself or say what you want to.
As you can see, there’s an awful lot for you to think about when it comes to designing your marketing content. This is all without even going into different audiences and how some modes of design are going to prove less effective than it would with others – meaning that an incredibly well-designed piece of marketing material might not land with as much of a splash as you were hoping if it was prepared with the wrong viewer in mind.
- 4-Your Products and Packaging
When you were thinking about how to design your logo, you might have thought about the aesthetic of your brand and how you hope to tie that in with your outward-facing logo – creating a type of consistency between everything that you do. The same is true when you come to think of your products. It’s not that you want every aspect of your company to appear completely uniform, as that might risk a sense of fatigue with your brand or image, but you want there to at least be consistency. You want your audiences to take a look at your interior, your product, or your logo and immediately recognize them as yours.
With a product, this can sometimes be difficult, as you have to balance the design and aesthetic of the thing without compromising the integrity or purpose of the item itself. Furthermore, in an attempt to ensure that your branding is obvious, you don’t want to risk making it unappealing from a visual standpoint. A small and tastefully included incorporation of your logo might be the way to go here, such as by embedding it in the corner or somewhere similar. This can not only get your point across without interfering too much with the design in other ways, but it can also showcase a degree of confidence through its sleek inclusion.
It’s difficult to think about the design of the product without thinking about the design of the packaging too. Packaging itself should be eye-catching but also impactful and informative. It needs to draw the eyes of those who might be unaware of what the product even is, and informative enough to incite their curiosity. However, it also has to be understated enough, in that it carries some of that visual appeal that you want the product itself to have. What can complicate things further is that the product and the packaging are likely going to come together, meaning that you might want to make their designs cohesive, if not overly similar.
There are ways to test your designs before you launch them into the wild, and it’s always good to listen to feedback about this kind of thing so that you can come back to these designs with a fresh set of eyes. Furthermore, learning from your past experience launching products and learning from professional designers who you work with can give you a lot of expertise to put to good use.