Why your small business should care about commercial art

By Lexie Lu

Whether business owners realize it immediately or not, art is an important aspect of running a company. Art is all around the corporate world, from the feel of an office setting to the graphic design of a brand website. Commercial art often gets overlooked in the process but is a vital part of any advertising campaign.

In the United States, the total revenue from art sales is around $2 billion a year with an annual growth rate of 11.3%. However, those figures don’t include the intrinsic value of commercial art to businesses and encompass a wide range of art forms.

Even if you’ve never thought much about art and your business before, you should pay closer attention because commercial art can help grow your customer base and give you a professional edge. Businesses should care about commercial art because:

-Add aesthetic beauty

Office spaces can be bland and boring. Adding a beautiful piece of art showing the outside of your building, your product in action or your workers hard at their tasks changes the look of your plain walls. For people visiting your business for the first time, they get to experience victories and challenges through the images you share.

-Solidify your branding

No matter what you put out into the world, it should have a distinct voice that matches your company’s tone. Commercial photographers, for example, can ensure all the photos you put on social media have a similar look and feel. Staying consistent in the look and content of photos speaks loudly about your company image and helps customers understand who you are as a brand.

-Tap into user emotions

A well-done photograph evokes some type of emotion in the viewer. About 37% of marketers feel visual marketing is a vital part of their industry. Commercial art tells a story to the viewer. It takes a snapshot of a moment in time and captures the feeling of that instance. Evoke happy family memories, a sad emotion or any other feeling that taps into what your users care about most.

-Sponsor local art

One area small businesses sometimes overlooking in their local outreach efforts is sponsorships. Sponsorships for arts organizations are around $1.03 billion each year but much of that was from larger corporations. Still, every donation helps support art. Sure, you can sponsor a little league team, but what if your target audience isn’t parents? Perhaps you want to reach people who are interested in a specific type of art. Sponsoring a local artist or a small foundation is a great way to get your business’ name out in the community and help a worthy cause at the same time.

-Find talented workers

In a recent survey by advisory firm PwC, researchers polled about 1,200 CEOs and found 79% were worried about finding workers with the necessary skills. When it comes to marketing, your graphic designers and marketing professionals are at the forefront of your company’s image. Your small business can benefit greatly by hiring talented workers—even on a freelance basis. Some of the best artists out there freelance on the side to keep their income at a livable level.

Attend local art shows and seek out work that matches the goals of your brand. Approach those artists and gauge their level of interest in doing some work for you on the side.

-Embrace the arts

Cultivate a corporate attitude of appreciating the arts. Buy your employees season passes to local museums, attend an art show and commission paintings from a local artist to hang in your business. If you own a restaurant or some type of establishment where people visit frequently, allow local artists to hang their work on the walls and offer it for sale. You’ll gain beautiful art while it is there and help other small business owners in the process.

-Stimulate creativity

Being surrounded by beautiful art sparks creativity and encourages employees to try something new. Simply adding some beautiful art to your building is a good first step, but look for other ways of incorporating commercial art into your everyday business dealings.


Lexie Lu is a freelance designer and writer based in Williamsport, PA. She co-founded the blog, Design Roast, a resource for web designers and marketers, in 2015. She specializes in graphic design, web design, branding, UX design, and mobile app wireframes. She earned her BA from Lycoming College. While not working in her home office, she enjoys walking her goldendoodle, cooking for friends and family, and watching way too much HGTV.

Lexie’s work and writing can be found on well-known sites such as Business.com, Website Magazine, Marketo, and Envato. Feel free to connect with her on Design Roast or via Twitter @lexieludesigner.


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