How Do You Measure Return on Investment for Graphic Design?

How to see the ROI on your graphic design

I recently came across this question in our Quora Feed:

How do you measure return on investment for graphic design?

Return on Investment (ROI) is something that is regularly discussed in business, but for some reason is often left out of the marketing meeting.

This is something we work to combat every day here at Holmes. One way we do this is by showing the impact your visual marketing pieces have on your engagement, and more importantly, your ROI.

You can read my answer to this question below:

Measuring return on investment (ROI) for a designed piece takes some thought and input from the team. But it can be done! It is important for graphic designers to be thoughtful and intentional when executing a project.

At Holmes, we measure ROI by defining goals and building in trackable metrics before we even get started on the project execution.

Here is an example of our process:

The Scenario

Say we’re designing a print ad for a garden store. The ad will be published in two local newspapers for a large sale in a couple of weeks.

Main Goal

  • Increase foot traffic & purchases on the day of a big sale

Secondary Goals

  • Determine which publication generates the most engagement
  • Drive traffic to website for more information


In order to determine which publication generates the most engagement, we will use different coupon codes for each publication. That way, when the redeemed coupons are collected at the register, we will be able to count them after and determine which publication was more popular.

Moving forward, we will be able to focus our designs to mimic the style and feel of the more successful ad.

In order to drive traffic to the website for more information, we will include a trackable URL to monitor prospects looking for more information.

By using a unique URL, we ensure clean data.

How to Use the Collected Metrics

Knowing which channels generate the biggest customer response means informed marketing decisions. If a channel isn’t producing a response, you can reallocate those dollars on a channel that does.

Tracking responses gives you a clear overview of what is and isn’t working. You work hard for your money, make sure your marketing dollars are working for you.

How does this help me as a designer?

We can all create, but taking the extra step to create value for your customer will launch you miles ahead of your competition.

While graphic designers are artists, we are also partly marketers. If we create a captivating and beautiful piece, but there is no Call to Action or next step, then the piece is useless. This is why we work closely with our on-staff marketer when pairing down and determining the perfect wording for each piece.

I hope this brought some clarity on how to see the ROI with your graphic designs!

Happy Marketing!

-The Holmes Team

Jenny Reolfi

Designer for Holmes. Born and raised in North Canton, Ohio, animal lover, amateur knitter and recreational painter.