First impressions matter. Turn up to a meeting 10 minutes late and you’ve already created a negative impression of yourself. Then let’s say, for that same meeting, you decided to rock up in your favourite Hawaiian shorts. Presentation matters.

Thereafter; it doesn’t matter how perfectly you rehearsed, or how much sense you’re actually talking, you’ll be wading against initial impressions for the rest of the meeting. Go for a more considered look however, and it will only reinforce what you have to say and your audience will know you mean business – websites or branding is no different. Design matters.

What Your Website Says About You

So much of business is about communication. What does a badly designed website, difficult to navigate or hard to find what your after, say about the competency of your company? Consider what a neglected or out dated website might say about how well your business is doing to potential clients. Mobile phones and tablets are used more than ever to browse the web, (over half of web browsing is now done on a mobile or tablet) – what does it say about your companies ability to cater your client when your website doesn’t responsively work on their devices? (Not to mention Google will penalise you in mobile listings*)

What assumption can be made from a website which isn’t very user friendly, or one hard to navigate?
Randall Smith, founder of Salt Lake City’s brand management agency Modern 8, notes that “If good design is doing its job, it is managing your perception of an experience in many ways—both obvious and not so obvious. How you feel, and therefore if whether you’re going to engage and buy, is directly influenced by the design of a website, a package or a business card.”

Design Vs Content… Fight!

But if having ‘design matters’ bashed over your head repeatedly has you yelling back ’content matters more!’ in defence, then it’s time to rethink your approach. Smith continues “Why present a content vs. design argument? The Holy Grail is found in nesting great content within brilliant design—don’t think ‘either/or,’ think ‘and’.”

Apple is a prime example of a company making no distinction between its design quality and its content or products. No over company has raised the worlds awareness about the importance of design further then the California based company. From their online experience of Apple Music to their products and phones used the world over, they are a company where trying to make the distinction where design ends and content begins is futile. Their pioneering blending of design and engineering has resulted in Apple becoming the most profitable company in the world.

Design is about so much more then just how something looks. Trying to define it warrants more than any one blog could surmise. Good design will take into account what the end user is after, and help them navigate to their needs quickly and efficiently. All the while, people won’t necessarily be able to tell you why one site has a better design then another, but they will still trust a good looking site more.

Ian Wishingrad, founder of the branding company BigEyedWish.com, suggests business owners to view art and design as the “wardrobe” of their business, and always think of the impression it will make on your customers. “Good design is like a great suit — everyone takes notice,” Wishingrad said. “With a little time, consideration and style, your business can have that elegant and professional polish that resonates with consumers.”

Leave the bad websites and Hawaiian shorts at home.

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