How to Measure Graphic Design Impact: A Guide for Small Businesses

Having design is imperative, but not enough. Want to learn how to measure design impact and optimize your graphics for business success? We’ll teach you!

August 4, 2022

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Graphic design is all around us, but few people understand its enormous impact. How does graphic design impact our daily lives? What is the impact of design on business success? How can you measure it and ensure you’re using design to its full potential? Let’s dive into the topic of graphic design impact!

Let’s start off with a famous design quote:

“Good design, when done well, should be invisible.”

Hang on - how can something that’s meant to be visual be invisible as well? Just take a good look at this web page. Each element (text, layout, logo, images, etc.) had to be designed separately. Is this something you’re going to consider while reading a blog post? Probably not. But are these elements significant in allowing you to enjoy the read? Absolutely.

How does graphic design impact our daily lives, then? The list is too long to get into. From this web page to every logo you see on your technology and clothes, to books and magazines you keep beside your bed.

It’s evident that graphic design is everywhere, and businesses simply can’t exist without it. But what kind of an impact does design have on the success of a business, and how can we measure that impact?


What is the impact of design on business success?

Let’s circle back to all the things in your daily life that had to be designed. Did their design prompt you to choose them from a sea of similar products?

Here are just a few of the ways graphic design impacts business success.


Not complicated, right? Well, these minor design/development changes doubled purchase quantities and boosted conversion rates from 1.83% to 1.96% in just 36 days of running the test design.

Source: VWO

After collecting some user data, they made what may seem pretty cosmetic changes to the page. They:

Or in the case of UI/UX design, graphic design is a key feature of the product. Think about a handy app with a terrible interface. A user would get frustrated, and all the fantastic functionalities would go to waste.

Image source: Lovely Package

Web designers also ensure that all the content is optimized for web use, especially images and videos. And considering 53% of people will leave websites that take longer than 3 seconds to load, you can see how loading speed is of the utmost importance.

It’s the foundation of a brand.

Let’s start with the most obvious way design impacts business success. Every brand needs a logo, which has a considerable impact on the success of a business.

For example, 60% of consumers will avoid brands with unattractive logos, and 75% recognize brands by their logo design.

Of course, there’s more to it than numbers. A logo represents your brand identity (your mission, vision, and values) and is designed to help you connect with your target audience. The entire look of your brand - website, product packaging, t-shirt, business card ideas - all of it stems from the logo design.

Without design, you may have a business, but you won’t have a brand.

It helps businesses stand out.

So, now you’re ready to start building your brand image. Bad news. Many other companies are trying to win over your potential customers.

Yet again, graphic design can help.

Why is it that among dozens of very similar technology companies, Apple still reigns supreme when it comes to customer loyalty? The answer is simple: stellar branding. People don’t buy Apple products because of their functionalities. There are many other products on the market with the same performance, and that often cost less. When buying Apple people also buy the brand.

And incidentally, the thing that makes Apple stand out from its competitors is design. Design is “in Apple’s DNA” and it's something the company has become known for. From the sleek look of their products, to always-innovative ads, Apple always knocks it competition out of the park

It’s a part of web design and content marketing.

You’ve hired an SEO expert and put a lot of effort into your content marketing strategy, because you know that content marketing is one of the most effective ways to achieve brand awareness and build credibility. But how does web design impact content marketing?

In more ways than you think.

People need just 50 milliseconds to form an impression of a website, and yet 75% will judge a company’s credibility based on it. Website design also has a significant impact on SEO. Good layout and easy navigation means a positive user experience, resulting in lower bounce rates and better ranking in search engines.


So how does web design impact content marketing? In a nutshell, it allows it to reach the right audience. You could create a useful infographic or write a superb blog post. But without a designer to make sure everything looks right, your content efforts will be in vain.

It’s a part of product design.

As you might have realized, design is much more than pure aesthetics. Design can also impact product effectiveness and usability.

Perhaps it's effective product packaging that entices customers to purchase or adds value to the product. This creative packaging for over-the-counter drugs is a terrific example of user-oriented design.


How to measure the business impact of design?

Now that we’re clear on the impact of graphic design on any business let’s tackle a much less straightforward topic: how can you measure design impact?

I’m here to tell you off the bat that there is no strict scientific method for measuring design impact. Although its importance has been proven repeatedly through numerous studies, it can be tricky to track the direct relationship between design and business success.

Design is an integral part of business. So, it can be challenging to ascertain whether success/failure results from design or something else (market positioning, messaging, budget spending, etc.)

Moreover, design is often a complex process, which often involves revisions and adjustments. That’s why understanding how you can measure design impact is vital for devising an effective design strategy.

Here are a few simple tactics that will help you measure the impact of graphic design.


Set up KPIs

This is perhaps the most challenging and also vital part of measuring the impact of design. The thing about design KPIs is that on the surface, they might look exactly the same as sales and marketing KPIs. For example, you might want to look at:

  • sales/profit numbers
  • social media metrics
  • clicks on display ads
  • sign-ups to your newsletter
  • website visitors
  • new product purchases

And the list goes on. But, as you might expect, none of these things depend on design alone. So, to use them in refining your design strategy, you should also note the next step.

Match design projects to KPIs

Once you have your performance indicators in place, you must assign specific design chunks to them. This way, you can go deeper into the metrics and customer behavior to properly assess whether the success/failure of certain aspects is design-related or not.

Here are a few ideas on how to match different types of design to KPIs.

Views & brand identity

At face value, it’s the most crucial metric for anything design-related. If people overlook the design, you might need to overhaul your strategy. Perhaps you should go back to your brand guidelines and check if your designs are aligned with your brand image. Alternatively, you may consider rebranding to reach a selected target audience more effectively.  

Airbnb was founded in 2007 as co-founders Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia looked for a way to secure the much-needed rent money. Only 7 years later, the company was a global brand, and the cheap-looking logo simply didn’t work anymore.

So, the company came up with a trendy new logo and a look to match it. The result? In just 2 years, the company increased its profit by 80%

airbnb old and new.png

Click-throughs & CTA buttons

This metric is tied to the previous one. Suppose you’re getting a lot of views, but your CTR is still low. In that case, you may want to revamp the look of your call-to-action buttons or redesign the layout so that information is more straightforward.

For example, Hubspot ran a test where the change in the color of the CTA button from green to red led to a 21% increase in clicks. Although we usually associate green with actions such as “go” and “confirm,” in this case, the green CTA button didn’t provide enough contrast with the rest of the page.

hubspot cta button test.png

Conversions & landing page layout

So the views and click-through rates are high, but you’re still not getting the desired conversions. What can you do?

Make sure you optimize your e-commerce page: improve the presentation of your products and make the cart easy to navigate and manage.

Here’s a compelling case study from a Polish e-commerce company called Grene. The test in question was run on their mini cart page, and here’s what the page looked like initially.

grene website.png
  • added a CTA button at the top as well as the bottom of the mini cart.
  • made the main CTA button bigger and more prominent;
  • included a remove button on the side of each item for accidental clicks.
grene website redesign.png

Review customer feedback

You might think that customer surveys are a bit dated, but they’re still a valuable source of qualitative data. For example, you can have an email survey or a simple poll on social media.

Of course, you should never take them at face value. Instead, cross-check the feedback you get from customers with the other data you have collected. This doesn’t just help you filter out the genuinely actionable and relevant feedback; it also helps you identify the exact impact designs have on a set of metrics.

Look at your website heatmap

A website heatmap is a visual representation of how people interact with your website. It shows which sections get the most attention/clicks and which areas might be overlooked.

This is an essential tool for assessing the impact of graphic design.

If you notice that people are spending a reasonable amount of time browsing through your website but not making the desired conversion, the issue might be a lot deeper than design alone. On the other hand, if a particular design element, like a menu or CTA button, seems to be overlooked, the issue might be with an unimpressive design.

Run A/B tests

As with many other areas of digital marketing, design can also be optimized. How can you do that? By trying out different variations, of course!

Remember that design is closely tied to user experience. What may seem like a change in color or text size can significantly change the overall customer experience.

The context will always affect the design, so don’t assume that the same strategies apply in all cases (e.g., bigger CTA button = more conversions). Collect feedback and data, and test a few options to see what works.

Final word

As you can see, measuring the impact of graphic design is no easy feat. And yet, you definitely don’t need an MS in design to develop a killer design strategy.

All it takes is a little time, patience, and, naturally, a reliable design team. Testing different options and the ability to alter designs easily are necessary for optimizing your design strategy and improving your business results through the power of design.

But as a small business, you probably don’t have the funds to employ a whole team of designers that would allow you to do that. Never fear! There’s a fantastic solution right at your fingertips: ManyPixels.

We’re an unlimited design service, which means you can get all your designs at a fixed monthly fee. As many revisions or variations as you need, without any extra charge. Plus, you get access to a team of designers with skills to match your needs. Need to revamp a landing page? No problem! Your display ads feel a bit flat? We’ll lift them up!

Ready to give it a go? Sign up today with our 14-days money-back guarantee! Or, if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call.

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.

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