What is good design worth to you?

I am proud to have built a good network of talented graphic designers to work with who are worth their weight in gold and, though they have their own distinctive styles, always put my client’s vision first and strive to take initial seeds of ideas and turn them into things of beauty.

I’m not going to tell you who you should use for the design needs of your business, but since going freelance I’ve reviewed the marketing strategy of many businesses, social enterprises, creatives  and artists who are all trying to expose their brand and promote their services or products (with most doing a brilliant job by the way). So why are they not getting the results they anticipated? Nine times out of ten this comes down to poor design or a stab at some DIY creation of marketing material… Most entrepreneurs have probably engaged in this at some level with different degrees of success and many get my full admiration for levels of effort and will power. But really with the shed of sweat, blood and tears, not to mention TIME, surely it would have made more sense to hand this one aspect over to a pro?!

Good design is an important investment.

There are many innovative ways to save vital pennies in the business world, but the stress and damage that creating ineffective, amateur looking websites or marketing material can cause should not be one of them. It is the outside world’s window into your business and regardless of the insane amount of effort, the sleepless nights, money, risk and passion that you have poured into your beloved company, it can all be undone by simply not looking like you mean business.

Of course getting professional help does cost money, so when hiring a design wizard, here are a few tips to keep expenditure on professional design as low as possible:

  • Sketch a storyboard (this doesn’t have to be amazing, just something visual to show your designer so they understand what you have in mind)
  • Write a brief- Be clear and specific, what exactly do you want?
  • Create a mood board- collect colour palettes, cut-outs from magazines, favourite links of online material, snip fabric.. anything that again you can give to your designer as a starting point. Pinterest is a brilliant tool for this by the way.
  • Be absolutely clear on your end objectives- what do you want this logo to say about you? Who are you trying to reach with this poster?

All the above saves your time, your designers’ time and ultimately your budget.

Once you have a clear idea of what you’re after, select the right designer, and think about the following:

  • Skill level-Look at their portfolio, who have they worked with, what’s their style and does it appeal to you and your business?
  • How do they work? –  For a website build as an example, is your designer ofay with Google analytics, ideally they should be using data to influence their design decisions. Are they methodical? Have they looked at your customer base, they should be building around that.
  • Lastly confidence- sometimes you’ll need your designer to say “no” to you and do what’s best for your business…yes this hurts, but allow them to be creative, you’ll thank them in the long run : )

Trust me on this one, there is nothing more exciting than seeing your idea come to life visually.

Good design is good business” (Thomas J Watson Jr)

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