Here’s a fun fact. When big Hollywood movie studios set out to market their big summer blockbusters (and in fact, most of their movies these days) they’ll spend money equal to anywhere from 70% to 150% of that movie’s production budget on marketing and distribution. That means they are likely spending as much or more on the design of their posters, print ads, billboards and banner ads as they are on casting Toms Cruise, Hanks or Hardy.
So if some of the most successful companies in the world are willing to place that high of a value on designers, why is it that so many people think it’s just fine to spend nothing or next to nothing on designing the look and feel of their entire brand?
If you ask people, everyone will say that they want their company to have a great looking logo and beautifully designed website. But when it comes to creating and executing these things, they refuse to pay real money for a designer. They think they can do it themselves just as well. They download something stock from an online marketplace. They get a college student off Craigslist to do the work for $50.
Clearly, not everybody who says they care about what their branding and website look like actually value those things enough to pay for them. Clearly, not everyone is willing to put their money where their mouth is.
If you’re among the crowd that isn’t convinced professional design services are truly worth paying for, it’s time to adjust your thinking. Here’s why.
For most working professionals, and especially for entrepreneurs or small business owners, you are expected to wear many hats, and the one thing you never seem to have enough of is time. Your time is your most precious and limited resource. So while, yes it might be technically possible for you to design your own logo, website or print collateral, you have to ask yourself if that is really going to be the best use of your time? For one thing, it is almost certainly going to take you longer to accomplish these tasks than it would take a professional, so you’ll be delaying the final product – in some cases substantially. Second, every second that you spend doing work that you could be delegating or outsourcing to someone else (design or otherwise) is a second you can’t spend doing other important tasks that only you can accomplish.
Even if you possess some of the technical skills required to do some of your own design work, unless you are a professional designer or were in a former life, chances are you are not going to do as good of a job as the real deal. Is that really the position you want to start from? Your logo, your website, your overall brand design – these are important first impressions to your potential clients and customers. Do you really want to take the chance that your first impression will be anything other than stellar?
Aside from the creative skills of a designer, you have to keep in mind that they employ technical skills as well. Things like color profiles, resolutions, layers, and so on – all need to be set correctly and maintained properly in order to be useful. A professional designer will ensure that your files will all be created and maintained with the highest standards, using professional-level software. That means any deliverables you receive will be not only right for your needs now, they’ll also be adaptable for the future.
Paying for professional design services is not a purchase. It is an investment. Aside from the value of your own time that you’ll be saving by not attempting to do the design work yourself, paying for a designer on the front-end is sure to save you money down the road.
Think about it. Say you want to get your logo printed on business cards. The printer is going to have certain file submission and formatting requirements that you might either not know how to meet, or might not have the technical expertise to execute. And if you have to pay the printer to do it for you, they will almost certainly charge you as much or more than a designer would have in the first place. And that’s just one example.
Hiring a professional designer off the bat is going to save you both headaches and cash later on as your business grows and your design needs become more complex.
Brand design is not a commodity item. When you download a stock logo from an online marketplace, you are signaling to your audience that you really don’t care if your company has the same look and feel as loads of other companies.
Any entrepreneur worth their salt is going to feel and be passionate about the things that make their company unique. Shouldn’t that uniqueness be reflected in your company’s branding? It certainly won’t if you are working with a cookie cutter logo.
A company’s branding should be a reflection of their tone and core values. People should be able to look at your logo, your fonts, your website – and immediately glean something about what kind of company you are. That can only happen if you work with a professional designer who can help you find that uniqueness, bring it out, and put it on display.
Design for your company is about more than just creating a single logo. Brand design is broad and far reaching. First, your logo isn’t just a logo. You are going to want multiple variations of that logo for different uses and to fit different spaces. You are going to want a few fonts that are considered “on brand” for print and web collateral. You are going to want a color palette that can be used for design elements across your website and social media. And most importantly, you are going to want to maintain a consistent look across all pages of all websites on all platforms on which your company is present. And that same consistency should be applied to business cards, letterhead and other print collateral. It should even be consistent in your PowerPoint presentations. A professional designer is going to be able to adapt the look and feel cultivated for your brand across all of these mediums and use cases.
This may be difficult to admit to yourself, but you might need to consider the possibility that you are potentially not the easiest client to work with. Maybe you have no idea what you want and just want somebody to “wow” you. Maybe you have an incredibly specific idea of what you want and need to find somebody who can execute the vision in your head. You know what? That’s okay.
A designer’s job is to work with you to get to a point to where you are happy. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have good communication with your designer before they ever start working on their first comp. And that’s all the more reason to work with a well-respected professional. If you are skimping on design, you are missing out on the benefit of someone’s experience in knowing what works, what doesn’t, and how to pull off that great vision that is – or isn’t yet – in your head.
There are definitely people with horror stories about shelling out loads of money to “professional” designers, only to end up with a product they hate. Certainly, not every designer is going to be created equally, and not everything you pay for is going to be guaranteed to be great. But a truly great designer is worth their weight in gold, and creating a lasting and memorable design for your brand is something that will mean a great deal to your clients, customers, and even employees – and it should mean a great deal to you.
At 10twelve, we care about our client's branding and all executions of it as much as we do our own. Looking to design or re-design your company logo? Need help executing your branding on your website, business cards, a direct mail piece or other form of collateral? Contact us today to discuss!