How to get more credibility and authority through design

seal of approval design expert

I had an opportunity to be an inspirational speaker during a graduation ceremony in my former school. Weeks prior to the event, the principal asked for my curriculum vitae so the host could introduce me properly.

Graduation day came and, because I had a programme with me, I knew it was my time to go up on stage. 

When the host started to introduce me, it felt like she was reading straight out of my 3-page resume. It felt so uncomfortable that I decided to stand up even before she finished.

Looking back, I realised there was nothing to be ashamed of. The roll call of my achievements was necessary to establish my credibility. 

No one in the graduating class knew me and I had to be hyped up as the only credible person, authorized to give them lifelong advice at that moment.

In business, credibility is the bedrock on which an owner-employee and a company-client relationship stand. It is the sense of security that each party is confident that promises will be kept.

Authority, on the other hand, brings your business to the top of a potential client’s mind whenever a particular problem needs to be solved.

Authority is needed to earn a good reputation and respect within your industry. It may feel embarrassing at first, but showing off your credibility and authority is necessary.

Did you know that there is a more subtle way of doing it? Through design, of course.

Here are four ways you can use design to earn more credibility and authority.

1. Keep consistency

Whatever you promise, deliver it. Don’t be like cunning freelancers who assemble a portfolio that isn’t 100% theirs, only to win an account.

If you have excellent design, you have to be consistent and make sure that you can deliver the same (or even better) to your clients.

Showing consistency is doable if you’ve taken your company’s branding by heart. That means, wherever your brand is posted – website, social media, print, merch – any client will immediately recognize it as yours.

Maintaining consistency is challenging though, because it takes a lot of planning and work, especially for non-designers.

But if you are subscribed to an on-demand design service, it’s easy as asking “Can you get me a version of this for all social media channels?” That’s it. Done.

2. Have an eye for detail

Only professionals see the needle in the haystack. You are expected by your clients to look after parts of their business under your expertise.

Because you have more experience in a certain field, you are more trained to see flaws that can be improved.

You can show this by delivering spotless designs every single time.

It doesn’t have to fit the client’s preference perfectly but all the elements and details must be on point. Alignment? Check. Contrast? Check. These are some of the basics elements you are in control of.

Here’s a cool test. A hawk’s eye can see the difference between these two images but only a full-fledged, professional designer knows why the difference is a game-changer. Use the slider to see the difference!

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3. Display feedback from your clients, beautifully

Like precious artwork on a frame, always display your client testimonials beautifully and proudly. Hours and days of hard work were dedicated to satisfying that client so you have all the rights to be proud of it.

Screenshots are a no-no. Even if it’s just a conversation on an online messenger, you have to have it redesigned to be posted on your website or social media like in a beautiful gallery.

Presenting it this way shows that you truly appreciate your client’s feedback and you value your work. Have a look at how we did it on our website.

4. Constantly produce content about your expertise

Don’t be shy. One way for clients to consider buying from you is if they actually know what you offer. That’s why with every opportunity, keep creating content that shows your products and services.

Mind you, you should design them in the best way possible. If you’re a non-designer, it’s best to have a professional designer do it for you. Design merch, produce YouTube tutorials, curate Instagram posts, and record a podcast.

There are tons of ways to showcase your expertise and all designs related to these must be on point.

Good design can’t save bad content

Even if you hire Leonardo Da Vinci as your graphic designer, your brand will fail if you break promises, provide poor customer service, or do not improve on feedback.

Design only reflects the company’s culture and values, and while great design can be your saving grace, it’s still best to work on credibility from the ground up in order to maintain your clients’ trust.

Credibility and authority in business are really hard to gain especially for starters. Nonetheless, the best tip is to have good design support your business goals, while continuing to work on building authority and credibility from one client to the next.

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