I stared, dumbfounded, at the package on my lap, it was awesome in its elegant simplicity.

I am not a designer, I help people build their businesses, but this design was really cool. It was easy to use, obvious, simple, and very effective.

It left me thinking about design and how it links to a lot of what I do, I bet it’s the same for you too.

This article has a simple design technique that you can apply to your business.

Bad design sucks.

I see a lot presentations and HATE PowerPoint. You know, that wonderful tool that people use to support their presentation. But most actually use it to distract and bore their audience to death!

The best slides have a simple picture which can convey a thousand words, some good slides simply have a couple of words – the worst are packed with small text, changes in colour, font and are illegible.

Sitting there in reflective mood it struck me that design is much like that. The simplest possible image to get over your meaning, with every complexity removed ought to be the best.

Why design your own logo?

Many business owners, in the start up phase, can’t afford a professional designer. So they attempt to do it themselves. I remember that phase well. When we first started we designed what we thought was stunning, clever and clear. A few months later we got a professional to do it, the difference was outstanding. The difference in terms of the reaction that prospects had, they thought we were a much more established firm and our conversion rate went up. I cringe every time I think of our original.

A tip to help design your own logo

There are great arguments for initially getting a graphic designer to design your branding, but I know that it won’t always happen.

So whether you’re designing it yourself, or briefing an agency – think about simplicity. In fact before you even think about design, think about simplicity.

The 5 words exercise that will improve your design

Think about your brand, you, and what you stand for. I call the exercise 5 words and talk more about it here, but simply put:

1. Write down a series of one word answers to the following questions.

  • What do you give you customers (that’s NOT the same as what do you do)
  • What makes you really different, in the eyes customers
  • What motivates and excites you
  1. Now group those words and remove similar ones
  2. Now put them in order of importance
  3. Strike out all bar 5.

These 5 words are what represent you, your brand and your values. Your logo should embody them, and nothing else!

If you were wondering what was so simple and elegant, there were two things.

1: The envelope that a “Love Film” DVD arrives in (just consider its functionality
2: The Nike Logo, next to the tag line – just do it.

Perhaps now it’s time for you to go and just do it, but first – what do you think about design simplicity?

Jon Baker is a renowned business coach, Sales Trainer and public speaker.