I recently ran across this wonderful illustration:

so you want to be a modern poster designer?

It’s funny because it’s true! How many times have you seen these same posters for one movie or another? But you know what? With a single glance, you instantly know lots of information about the movie & whether it’s something you’d like to learn more about. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to leverage that same idea for your business? Imagine a potential customer having the same instant recognition when they visit your website, for example, so you can capture their attention and encourage them to learn more about what you do or sell.

It’s not that simple, of course. Maybe your idea is new & there’s no precedent; maybe you’re going after a customer who doesn’t ordinarily purchase your product or service; or maybe you’re casting a wide net. But I bet with enough creative thought, you can come up with a way to design the visual presence of your business to capitalize on instant recognition to set yourself apart from the crowd.

I’m not suggesting that you appropriate existing designs as your own, nor am I suggesting foregoing a unique, creative design for your company, but I am suggesting you take a close look at what your customers already know & recognize so that you can strategically leverage it to your advantage in a way that makes sense for your company’s goals.

For example, let’s say you have a salon that specializes in removing headlice for kids. There are lots of angles you can take with that: iconic salon imagery, design that appeals to kids & parents, imagery from the medical community, etc… To narrow the field, think about your unique service and how you are different than the competition. In our example, let’s say your headlice removal salon uses natural techniques without chemicals, and keeps kids occupied & unafraid with entertainment during their appointment. That brings in some new information — parents will want to know their kids will have a good time (as much as possible given the circumstances), and that they don’t need to be worried about toxic chemicals — so any imagery will want to be fun, establish a sense of trust & comfort, and reference natural & ecofriendly materials. So take a look at websites designed for kids, specifically ones designed for them to have fun like at an activity center. What about salons for kids & ecofriendly salons? Take a look at holistic medical sites and sites for ecofriendly companies. What are common elements for each after looking at a bunch of them? Make a quick list for yourself & reference it when you’re coming up with your design.

If you’re working with a great web designer, they’ll learn from you about your business goals and do this research as part of their design process so that what they present to you is relevant & informed. But I encourage you to do this research yourself too. Keep yourself informed about trends that affect your brand recognition & take action to make sure you’re not losing out when it comes to instant brand recognition.

Thank you to Travis Pitts, an great freelance illustrator and designer, for allowing me to use his illustration in this blog post.