top of page
  • katedesign4

The Value of Design - Insights for Startups

Over the last couple of months Somerset Business Agency (SBA) kindly invited me to be a guest speaker at several of their Somerset Business Startup Sessions.

I thought I'd publish my session on the Value of Design as a blog for anyone who is thinking about starting up or a refreshing a business.

Hi everyone it’s great to join you at the start of your new and exciting business journeys.

I’m Kate Phelps from Design on-line.

This morning, I’d like to share with you some insight into the vast possibilities, importance and impact design can have on your business in about 7 minutes so hang on to your hats!

You’re here today because you have a great idea, a better way, a vision for a new business.

The key to realising this purpose and to inspiring your audience is to create a great brand.

Spending time now thinking about design will be incredibly rewarding and it will save you a lot of heartache further along the line.

“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand”

Paul Rand’s quote encapsulates this so well.

With good design, branding can change how people see your company, product or service. Good design builds credibility, separates you out from competition, drives new business and helps you to retain existing customers (who are also ambassadors of your brand) and it will help make your business a great success!

The purpose of a brand is to be readable, engaging, appropriate, to reflect the ethos of your business, to create an emotional bond with the customer and ultimately to inspire action.

It’s Important to Define Your Business Ethos

There are numerous qualities/aspects you need to take into consideration which might include:

Environmental awareness

Fair Trade










Dynamism, or…calm…..



Health orientated

The qualities and aspects that are important to you should be taken into account when choosing colours, fonts and images for branding to reflect elements of your business ethos.

Keep culturally aware, look at what your target demographic are looking at as well as looking at what other businesses in your market area are doing.

Another Key Aspect is the Role of a Logo

A successful logo identifies a business. It needs to be appropriate, simple, easily recognizable and memorable. A logo needs to work across a wide variety of media and sizes, for all main business communications and marketing applications.

This may include stationery in the form of business cards, letterheads, compliment slips, brochures, adverts, vehicle signage, social media, websites and email signatures.

Keep in mind, if it’s colour, how will it look in black and white or reversed out.

A logo may be floated over a photograph or a coloured background, so take this into consideration. Create a vector graphic as well as a jpg or tiff. It’s also a good idea to define a minimum size.

Keep it simple – less is more.

A logo doesn’t have to be a graphic image it can be just text.

The logo for FedEx seems perfectly straight-forward, but looking closely you see the designers hidden bonus of the arrow – making the association and joining in with the visual pun helps build customer engagement.

What makes a Creative Design? You need to ask yourself these sort of questions:

All these aspects and more need consideration.

Typography is amazing. We take it for granted but type is everywhere everyday.

There are thousands of different typefaces available.

Typography serves two main purposes.

Firstly it has to be legible, can the user read it?

Secondly, how can you use typography to create a mood or design aesthetic to attract a specific audience to convey the style, message and purpose of a brand or design?

Choosing the right typography can make or break your design. There’s an infinite number of ways you can play with type to add character, evoke a certain mood, or achieve a specific goal. You can adjust the type size, line spacing, alignment, and colour just to name a few.

Choose a primary font for headlines, a secondary font for sub-titles and a font for body text.

Choose fonts that compliment each other.

Choose fonts that reflect your unique identity.

Keep a consistent look throughout all your marketing material.

There are various types of typefaces* the 3 main ones being Serif, Sans Serif and Decorative or Display:

Serif typefaces

A serif is a small line or stroke attached to the end of a larger stroke.

Serif typefaces are more formal and traditional. They’re often used editorially such as in newspapers, magazines, and the body copy of books. One of the most well-known serif typefaces and possibly one of the first font’s, some of you, would have used on a computer is Times New Roman.

Sans serif typefaces

The term sans serif comes from the French word sans, meaning “without”, it’s a typeface without serifs. These typefaces are more modern, bold, and tend to make good choices for large headlines.

Decorative or display typefaces

These typefaces are mostly used for titles and headlines.

They’re not recommended for large amounts of body copy due to issues with legibility.

They’re fun to use to add flair to your design but use them sparingly.

*A typeface is a collection of fonts while a font refers to a specific style or weight within a typeface family.

So to recap… here’s a check list

*Jot down/sketch ideas (stick ideas on a wall and look at them for at least a week!), brainstorm, ask friends and family, create a mood board (Pinterest is great for collecting ideas easily in one place).

“Design is the silent ambassador of the brand”

Paul Rand’s quote encapsulates this so well.

With good design, branding can change how people see your company, product or service, it can drive new business and build credibility and make your business a great success.

This concludes our whirlwind race through the Value of Design, thanks for listening and does anyone have any questions?

Please get in touch if you'd like any further information or would like to chat through some ideas with no obligation.

Kate Phelps Design on-line

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page