One of the most frustrating things as a web design agency is the inability to prove exactly how valuable your design and work is. As a company we focus on eCommerce because it is easy to prove ROI and real results, but often the true value is not realized.

Business owners can look at the cut and dry metrics such as increased website visitors, website engagement, eCommerce sales, but that doesn’t tell the whole picture.

Simply put, good design can bring a whole new light to your brand and business in the eyes of the customers that the basic statistics won’t tell you. This goes for any type of design such as print design, branding, web design, or anything else that is design related to your business.

Many people make an assessment about your brand and business in as little as 50 milliseconds! Most of this assessment is based on the visual cues related to your design assets such as your website, business cards, or something else design related.

So if this is true, why don’t businesses invest more in high quality design? Well it is simply hard to measure the business impact of design, and something that is hard to measure is hard to justify investing heavily into. Here are a few reasons as to why design is so hard to measure.

You don’t know how many customers converted from your design

You don’t know how many new or repeat customers converted from your design related assets such as business cards, brand & identity, website, or other design related materials & assets. Sure, you can try and track down the sales related to all your different marketing and design related materials but that is a very difficult task. Additionally, it will be hard to say whether it was a good sales person versus the overall design assets of your company.

Its difficult to create accurate metrics

What do you use to measure good design? There are many metrics that design could influence such as an increase in phone calls, eCommerce sales, website visits, time on website, percentage of closed sales.

Determining true perception is hard

One customer may love your design and another may hate it. For instance I find the new Google logo to be a beat , but others might think it’s an improvement. Determining the overall perception of your design assets is difficult, especially if you only rely on a small sample size or internal employees for insight.

So how do you measure it?

Total sales is really the only way to get a good sense of the big picture, and of course everything your company does influences that.

Unfortunately design is just part of the overall effort to improve every aspect of your business. If sales as a company are increasing and you have invested recently into new design projects, chances are they are part of the reason.

Ask your customers, friends, and partners what they think about your design assets. Try and get an honest opinion from as many people as you can about your design assets compared to your competitors design assets. Chances are you will get a clearer picture from that as to whether your design is helping or hurting your sales and business.

How much should you spend on design?

This is probably the most difficult problem businesses face because they cannot accurately measure the true value of design. My advice would be to try out a wide range of designers, whether it be agencies, freelancers, internal resources or in between. At the end of the day you get what you pay for and if you can afford a premium or high quality design it is usually worth it.  It should give you an edge over competitors who might not be able to afford that level of quality.

At the end of the day spend what it takes to be competitive or to be the best in your space from a design perspective.

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