While there are many things that can make or break a new digital brand, few are more important for growing your initial audience than strong design sensibilities.

The need for strong design goes well beyond coming up with a logo. Design affects your website and all other marketing materials, and can influence everything from users' initial impressions to your ability to convert sales

By tapping into your audience's preferences, strong design can help you cultivate a memorable visual identity that ensures lasting results for your brand.

We are visual learners by nature.

It is estimated that 65 percent of the population are primarily visual learners: This means that pictures and other graphics are their main way of absorbing information.

This should hardly come as a surprise, as studies have consistently found that we are better at retaining visuals than written or spoken information. One study actually found that while only 10 percent of people were able to recall written content after three days, 65 percent were able to remember information that was presented with visuals.

In other words, images and graphic design both make a stronger first impression and are more likely to stick in the memory. 

This is why dominant brands like Nike have kept the same logo for years: Strong visual design can boost brand recall like nothing else. When done right and used consistently, a single image or combination of colors can instantly evoke your brand in the minds of your customers.

Strong design quickly communicates your brand identity.

Our brains are able to process images much quicker than text. And in an age when the average person's attention span has shrunk to eight seconds, that fast processing of visual information is vital for communicating your brand's identity.

This became especially clear during a recent conversation with Christiaan Huynen, founder and CEO of DesignBro. As part of his company's platform, Huynen has reviewed portfolios from countless designers, giving him ample insight into what works and what doesn't.

In our conversation, he was quick to point out that strong design can separate itself from weak design in a matter of seconds. The right combination of colors, images, typography, and symbols conveys identity and can even foster an emotional connection between the brand and the customer. 

Even when customers aren't design experts, they can inherently recognize strong, visually appealing design work--which in turn makes the brand more appealing.

Though it may be a cliche, the idea that "a picture is worth a thousand words" is very much applicable in quickly establishing and communicating a brand's visual identity. Strong design tells customers if a brand is playful or serious, traditional or unconventional.

Strong design can have a direct impact on your sales results.

Creating instant identity through strong design can have a very real impact on a digital brand's sales. A study in the United Kingdom found that for every £100 spent on design, a company's profits would increase by an additional £83. At the same time, customer turnover would dramatically increase. The companies increased profits while simultaneously cutting costs.

In the digital era, strong graphic design draws customers' eyes to the portions of your website that you most want them to visit. Bold menus and buttons make customers more likely to click through to view your products and services--and even more importantly, add them to their shopping cart.

A well-thought-out design also gives a professional appearance that can assure customers who might be wary of an unknown digital brand. Strong design leads to the assumption that your products or services are of similar quality. 

Of course, weak design can have the opposite effect, scaring off customers who judge poor design as an indicator of low-quality products or a potential scam website. 

Strong graphic design work that is utilized in your content marketing efforts will also boost engagement and sales. Social media graphics, infographics, or branded photos that are consistent with your brand's visual identity will boost online engagement and lead to more clicks to your website. 

Your brand's graphic design capabilities--or lack thereof--will go a long way in enhancing your credibility and appeal with your target audience. By making a meaningful investment in design and utilizing best practices throughout your website, you can set your digital brand up for success.