Design Check List for New Businesses

Charlee Alexeev
5 min readJun 15, 2020

Everything you need to set your business up for success.

So you’ve got a product or service, you know your audience, and maybe have a team member or two. But do you know how you’re going to present yourself to that audience? Can you ensure that the product can wow that audience? That is where the power of design really plays in.

Design is a differentiator between competitors for nearly all the aspects of today’s growing startups and businesses. Users expect all brands and businesses to not only understand them, but offer solutions in a beautifully designed and thoughtfully wrapped manner.

“The last best experience that anyone has anywhere, becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere.”
— Bridget van Kranlingen, IBM

As a new business, you’ve got your hands full, we get that. That’s why we’ve got you covered. Here is the design check list you shouldn’t neglect if you want to realize your businesses full potential.

1. Logo + Brand

Why are these lumped together? All too often non-designers assume having a logo, means they have a brand. That just isn’t the case. Your logo is part of your brand, but is in no way all of your brand. Your brand encompasses your vibe, your colors, your imagery, your messaging, and really every single way you might interact with your users.

2. Web Presence

You likely haven’t forgotten this one. Picking a company name these days often starts with scoping out available domains. Your website is an early and essential touch point that shouldn’t be neglected. Tell your users who you are and what you do. Give them an easy way to get in touch with you or purchase your product.

3. Pitch Deck

This one can be majorly important in the survival of startups. A well-designed template and pitch deck will not only impress your investors and help unify your mission, but also save loads of time for you down the road.

Examples of unified brand across web and pitch decks.

4. Your Product!

This one’s pretty obvious, but a digital product (or a great e-commerce, or digital sales process, what have you) users can’t stop coming back to use is vital. The reason you’re doing what you’re doing. Your raison d’être. The last thing you want is to wow your customers along the sales journey, only to have them be let down by the actual product itself. Set yourself up for success by ensuring your product is worth the hype.

5. Social Media + Marketing Content

You’ve launched your business, but now it’s time to start rolling in the customers. Use your beautiful new brand to create engaging content that speaks to your user base. These days, you don’t need a large marketing team to get this done, there are loads of free/inexpensive tools available to use.

6. Conference Collateral

Conferences are a wonderful way to get in front of your future customers, and try out new concepts. But you’re going to need some collateral at your booth: a banner, table cloth, handouts, product demo, swag etc.

7. Business Cards

Make your brand recognizable and memorable by investing some time into business cards. Look like a serious business with some seriously great business cards. Fun fact: In Japan, business cards are so important that how you even handle it physically can show great disrespect to the person handing it out (full Japanese business card etiquette here).

8. Ads

Whether digital or print, ads of your product are incredibly important. Don’t waste your hard earned $$ on ads that don’t perform well. Keep things engaging and consistent with your brand.

9. Swag

Yep, it’s so important, it’s in here twice! However, as opposed to just being used in conferences, you can also wow your new hires or clients with some great swag.

10. Signage

Think of signage as the body language of a conversation. It’s especially important if you plan to host any in-person meetings, or give your VCs a tour of your work-place. Give yourself a leg up!

Alright! I hope you feel like you have a better grasp on design next steps for your new business.

Find yourself needing a little design help or feel overwhelmed? That’s what we do. Reach out to us at Emerald, and we would love to work together to make your new business the best it can be. Find us at



Charlee Alexeev

Designer, entrepreneur, creative. Living in the wonderful circle city, Indianapolis, Indianapolis.