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Small Business Tips \ NOV 1st 2016

Design Tips for Start-Ups without a Full-Time Designer

Beginnings can be difficult, especially in the business world. Making the very first steps involves challenges and strains for any type of small business. For start-up companies, these challenges can be rather intense. Start-ups are expected to be on the cutting edge of their industries. Even before they receive any funding, they need to present a savvy and professional image if they want to be taken seriously. But how do you attain that image when you don’t have the resources yet?

Every start-up team needs a great look but few budding start-up have the budget to hire a full-time designer to answer all of their design needs – develop a visual identity, create a website, prepare promotional material and so forth. To accomplish these crucial tasks without a dedicated graphic designer you need to tap into your inner entrepreneur. With some flexibility, ingenuity and innovation – anything is possible!

To point you in the right direction, we created this list of options you can explore as you start to realize your start-up dream.

Design Tips for Start-Ups without a Full-Time Designer

Create Your Own Website with Wix

One design territory that start-ups can conquer without the help of a professional is that of website building. The Wix DIY editor allows you and your team to create a website that excels in both looks and functionality.

You start by choosing one of Wix’s beautiful templates. In the editor, you then easily customize it by editing texts, media and info. With the help of the Wix App Market, you can add a number of features that help make your website even more effective. It’s SEO-friendly, it saves you so much time, and most importantly, the result is that you have a powerful website to act as the foundation of your online presence.

Though your choice of template may vary according to your company’s focus and target market, here’s a selection of gorgeous templates that we think are especially suitable for start-ups:

Trademark Advertising & Marketing: Clean look, simple layout, extremely simple to customize.

Startup Landing Page: Gorgeous long-scroll experience that gives a sensation of movement and action.

Personal Trainer: Ideal for companies whose product or service requires visualization through images. This template is one of our most popular templates and is used for many different types of businesses.

Startup Company: Introduces your company’s message and vision persuasively with a bold color-palette and an effective content hierarchy.
design-tips-for-start-ups

Get a Professional Logo Designed Online

Your company logo is one of the core elements of your brand identity. You need a logo design that really captures your company in an image. When it comes to creating a logo, there are many available tools that offer online logo design.

Depending on your own knowledge of graphic design, you can choose to use a DIY tool, like Logo Garden, Zillion Designs or the LogoScopic Studio app. You could also hire a freelance professional to design a custom logo, using platforms like 99designs, upwork  or 40DollarLogo.

Logo Garden

Think Ahead and Plan for Easy Adaptations

When you make your first steps in the visual branding of your company you will need to choose your brand’s color palette, your font scheme, the logo design, promotional images or illustrations and so forth. Companies that work with in-house designers can easily adapt the visual branding to various platforms and multiple marketing purposes.

As long as your team doesn’t employ a full-time designer, keep things easier for yourself by opting for a visual branding that is easy to replicate, something that doesn’t require a lot of adjustment when reproduced for different purposes. If you do hire a freelancer to design some of your branding materials, make sure you receive files that can be used on various platforms.

Use the Powers of Stock Images for Good

Stock image banks provide small business with a tremendously valuable service. They give you a massive variety of high-quality photographs and visuals for a fair price. The problem with image banks is that many of the photos they offer look like they’re going for the hard sale – unreal, inauthentic and even quite creepy.

When you use image banks, remember that the purpose of the images you buy is to engage your target market, not to alienate them. Choose images that can resonate with their real experiences, otherwise you’ll be pushing them away.

Looking for beautiful free solutions open to all? Check out Pexels or Unsplash.

Pexels

Organize a “Photoshop Retreat” for the Team

For tech workers, basic knowledge of a software like Photoshop is always a bonus. In a start-up team that can’t hire a full-time designer, it’s nothing short of a blessing. A fun, educational Photoshop workshop – organized in person or online – can really boost your team’s workflow.

Just think about how convenient it is to have someone readily available who can adjust sizes and tweak layers on the spot. Plus, you’ll be giving your colleagues useful training AND you can turn this into a fun team-building experience.

“Skill-Swap” with Freelancers

In the good old days, the economy functioned through exchanges – a homemade bread would be traded for custom-made horseshoes. Nowadays, people trade coding for a commercial photoshoot, or package design for SEO services.

As a start-up company, you have a set of skills that could be of potential interest to a designer, illustrator, photographer, video editor and other professionals that can contribute to upgrading your company’s look and feel. Start by understanding what your team can offer, and then seek your relevant partners. Not only will you be getting the services you need, you will also find build working relationships and cooperation networks that can come in handy later on.

Get Your Content from Your Audience

User-generated content is another avenue you should explore if you wish to amplify your branding with neat visual materials.

A common method of getting fans and followers to share their content with you is to hold a contest that elicits visual submissions. You can also encourage followers and clients to create content by integrating social sharing as a seamless element in the service flow – for instance, inviting them with a follow-up email to share images of themselves engaging with your product.

For many start-ups, the user-generated content comes from the product itself. Let’s say, for example, that your company offers a platform for users to design custom-made holiday cards. The nicest cards that your users created could then be used in your promotional material.

Ready to take your business online? Start by creating a website with Wix!


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