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Understand Your Design and Communications Needs

As a small, creative business owner, you probably wear a lot of hats. In fact, your closet is probably brimming with hats. And not only does it take you a lot of time and energy to change those hats every hour, the expenses of all that headwear can really add up.  

If you’re in the early stages of your business, graphic design is likely to be one of those hats you wear, and to be honest, it’s a pretty big one. Why? Because design is one of your main forms of communication, and whether you mean it to or not, it’s always communicating something.

There are a few forms of communication that impact your business

  • Verbal: Speaking face to face to with anyone, Insta Stories counts!
  • Non-Verbal: Your body language, again what people get from you in a face to face setting.
  • Written: All of your copy, from the words  on your website to the ones in your social posts
  • Visual:  Absolutely everything that everyone sees that isn’t text

Every single time you want to communicate something to potential clients/customers, you’re likely using more than one of these forms of communication. So for every written bit of content, every social media post, anything you’re putting out there, you’re likely using written and visual forms of communication.  The typefaces and colours of those written words, they’re communicating too. Which is why designers and copywriters are so, so important.

Do you understand design as a communication form?

1. Raise your hand if you think you have good taste and know what you like visually?

Yes, you, I see you – great!

2. Now, raise your hand if you understand exactly what visual cues are communicating what? 

Ehhh, a few of you, okay!

3. Now, raise your hand if you’re sure that everything you’re putting out there is communicating the exact right tone, voice and message to the exactly customers/clients you want to have!

If you just raised your hand, please leave this blogpost immediately, you do not need this, but if you’re feeling a bit freaked out, don’t fret, just keep reading.

As a business owner, it is not your job to know everything, because none of us can. But it is all of our jobs to be honest about what we don't know, and to take responsibility for those things! So if you aren’t someone who know how’s to strategically use visual language, what can you do?

Be honest if you don’t truly understand how to use design, that's totally okay!

Before we go further, I need to pause here and say this – design is more than knowing how to use photoshop. Okay, let me just repeat that.


Photoshop is just one of the many tools that designers know how to use, just like you know how to use a computer, but that probably isn’t your whole business. It just allows you to do your business. 

Design is a form of communication – it’s a whole different language form!

Think about learning a new language, it’s more than looking at a word and knowing it’s French, you have to learn a new way of reading and communicate and understanding things. As designers we are constantly studying this language, honing it, growing our vocabulary. We understand how to read it, and how to communicate through it. 

Which is why having good taste, or knowing what you like, is not the same thing as understanding design. You can appreciate something, without knowing how to implement it. 

So if you are a creative business owner, it’s pretty clear that you’ll need things designed for your business.

I know I need things designed for my business, what now?

From printed materials like business cards and shop tags to digital materials like Pinterest posts and ads, there are a lot of bits and bobs you’ll need designed to keep your business on track.

And good news, you have a few options!

  1. Design it yourself £
  2. Hire/Outsource a designer for custom designs ££££
  3. Use Templates, which are a compromise on price, but not on style ££

Next week, we’re going to break down the pro’s, con’s of each of those options and what you need to know to get started with each!