Graphic design in franchising

Graphic design isn’t just about having a logo created or a brochure done; it’s about maintaining brand awareness and consistency throughout your business.

This can be in form of leaflets, website design, shop signage, uniforms, vehicle graphics, letterheads, PowerPoint presentations and so much more. Everything your company and/or your franchisees put out into the world is a reflection of your brand.

So of course, it’s imperative for franchisors to get design right; inconsistent design means inconsistent growth.

When designing, the important goals to focus on are awareness, engagement, and communication. Ideally we want to attract consumers, and get better engagement with audiences by the way we communicate our message through design.

But the office admin can design me a logo?

While this is true… can they convey the messaging you want and keep designs consistent? Do they know your brand inside out? Are they available on hand when you need them to whip you up a newsletter at 4:30pm on a Friday?

And most importantly: do they know how to design to attract franchisees?

Because it’s not just customers you’re attracting, but prospective franchisees too, your design has to be smarter and frankly better than in a non-franchised business.

After all: your design, brand reputation and visual identity make up a huge part of what is going to convince someone to invest their hard-earned money and precious future into starting a franchise with you.

Whether you have an in-house designer or a dedicated professional team to take care of this for you, it’s important to keep ultimate design responsibility with one person. They have their own style, their own spin on things and might have a better way to convey your messaging than you originally anticipated.

And let’s be honest, with design styles changing and creative cloud always updating, that’s another challenge for the office admin to keep on top of. Even Canva has its limitations.

When do I stop needing a graphic designer?

You’ll always need a graphic designer. It’s surprising how quickly design becomes dated, and what you think looks good for your business will always need refreshing. Just go back to look at the designs you were proud of 5 years ago to see if that’s true!

To keep your franchisees on point with your branding, have a design agency or an in-house designer that can be a point of contact for all their brand needs. This stops any wild graphic design or social media mishaps, you don’t want to go viral for the wrong reasons.

You’ll also need to think about having brand guidelines, a very important document which outlines the dos and don’t of your brand. This also helps any external agencies who are designing for you.

But it is so expensive…

In the long run, good design pays for itself. If you’re starting a business or beginning to franchise out, you will need all the collateral that comes naturally with that: franchise prospectuses, business cards, uniform, signage, exhibition stands… even a website!

To consumers, doing this properly makes you reputable and reliable.

To prospective franchisees, consistent strong design shows you’re an investment worth making.

Finally, while you may be tempted to design yourself, remember that it takes a lot of time to get it right. It takes less time approving or amending someone else’s work, rather than ‘whipping something up yourself’. Your time is money, and it’s almost certainly better spent elsewhere.