Starting a new business is hard work. You’ve got business plans to make, hiring to do, marketing strategies to develop and a dedicated team to build.

I know – sounds like a lot. That’s because it is.

But despite the ever-growing list of tasks you need to complete each day, there’s one unexpected aspect of your new startup that shouldn’t fall by the wayside: design.

The way that your business presents itself visually across many mediums and platforms is just as important as your mission or your products – maybe even more so! According to Steve Vassallo, general partner at Foundation Capital, investing in design is “non-negotiable” for modern startups. His detailed explanation dives into a need for a seamless, user-centric experience on all platforms – social, website and otherwise.

Plus, users are more likely to gravitate towards with a brand that has a stunning and cohesive design across every channel. Thus, investing in design in its many forms is imperative.

We rounded up the top five areas of a startup that need strong design to survive. The good news? That investment will pay off in a better bottom line.

1. A Unique Logo Design

We’re in a time where everything is in your face, all the time – whether you’re walking through a subway system, flipping through a magazine or scrolling on your phone. The renders the need for a smart, unique and beautiful logo design even more important.

Not only should you utilise trends that reflect both your product and demographics — such as minimalism for a quiet, classic company, or brightly colored gradients for a trendy brand with a young demographic – but you should ensure you make your logo design responsive, meaning it has a recognisable symbol that can adjust to various products and screen sizes without augmenting the shape beyond perception. This will allow you to subtle brand so much more content and products, ultimately broadening your audience.

Need a good example? Look no further than Nike! While the official logo includes the name, the iconic swoosh stands on its own two feet just fine and is easily adapted to any design or screen size.

2. A User-Friendly Website Design

A strong website design is a necessity for any business these days, and your first mistake would be not investing in one at all. (I mean, don’t you Google every business you hear of?) However, your second mistake would be not ensuring it is totally and completely user-friendly.

The numbers prove this, too. According to a study from Adobe, 38 percent of visitors would completely leave a website if its design was unattractive. This goes for content AND layout.

That said, there are a lot of bells and whistles you can add to your design, but flashy and shiny does not a functional website make. However, strong UX does create a functional website that people will enjoy interacting with, and those pleasant experiences could turn into a revenue boost of up to 200 percent, according to a study from Forrester. Plus, if your users can’t find your online store, calls to action or that content you worked oh-so-hard on, what’s the point?

(Hint: There isn’t one.)

Trulia is an excellent example of a user-friendly website. The navigation is simple and intuitive, allowing users to go from house hunting to reading a blog post in no time.

Also read: he importance of product design and why it hooks customers

3. An Engaging Social Media Presence

Social media isn’t just hashtags and retweets – just as Instagram. In fact, imagery plays a large role in engagement, shares and click-through rates!

According to the Social Media Examiner, users are more likely to interact with a brand that posts pictures on their social media channels. This idea supports the immense growth of Instagram, which overtook Twitter in popularity in 2012, and Pinterest, which is the fourth largest traffic driver. Plus, 74 percent of social media marketers prioritise using images in their posts over blogs and videos – and if nearly three-quarters of experts swear by this strategy, there must be some truth to it!

Instead of using boring stock images or low-quality photos, enlist designers to create custom illustrations or square quote-based images, like online lifestyle publication Refinery29 does. This will ensure that all of your social media content is shareable, fits within your brand identity, and speaks to your consumers.

4. Informative Email Marketing

Email marketing itself is something you should put some effort behind – studies show that it has a return on investment of about 122 percent, making it a worthwhile initiative. But just like social media marketing, mass emails aren’t all about words, word, words.

Emails will often need banners or custom images to pair with the information you’re writing – and can improve your click-through rate by up to 42 percent! You can also use a designer to create a custom template for your email newsletters and integrate those with email providers such as Emma and Sailthru, ensuring your customers have an experience that is tailored to both them AND the company.

5. Unforeseen Additional Collateral

The fact of the matter is that you’re likely to run into situations where you need certain collateral designed that you didn’t anticipate. Maybe it’s business cards, flyers or signage for a brick-and-mortar store. Whatever the case may be, you are bound to find yourself in a pinch where you need something designed that’s on-brand, beautiful, and completed quickly.

So, what happens if you outsourced your other design jobs and still don’t have a go-to creative to help you with this collateral? Free programs such as Canva will let you design almost anything under the sun with the help of pre-approved templates, an array of font styles and automatic sizing that optimal for any project.


As you can see, taking the time and effort to invest in design will have big payoffs for your startup down the road. Just focus on the items below, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong brand identity with a highly-converting website.

  • Design a unique and responsive logo to brand all content and websites with
  • Invest in a beautiful and – most importantly – user-friendly website design
  • Design custom images for your social media channels
  • Create applicable designs to complement your email marketing campaigns
  • Don’t let last-minute design needs slip through the cracks


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