Do it yourself or Professional Designer?
First impressions are always important and that is never more true than when you’re in business. Whether you’re a small sole trader, or a large multinational and no matter what industry you operate within your design assets are the key to creating the right first impression.
Business news daily identifies – “As a small business, (design) can mean the difference between gaining an edge over your competitors and turning customers off completely”
Good design can be transformation, but only if it is completely aligned with your business strategy, values and culture. Branding is no longer just a set of images and taglines which represent your business, “it’s also about what it does and how it makes the customer feel. In fact, for many of today’s most innovative and up-and-coming brands, it’s the experience that is driving growth and differentiation. These companies are harnessing the power of design to craft experiences that immerse customers in a bigger, emotionally centred idea — an idea reinforced at every stage of the customer journey.” – Adobe.com
Of course given the importance of creating the right design assets and branding for your business, we would all love to spend all the time and money necessary to get it completely perfect and give ourselves the best competitive edge we can. However, this is not always feasible, especially if your just starting out and money and time are limited.
In fact, if you’re anything like me when starting your business, not only is time and money tight, but you may not have a completely clear idea of what your business is or what it’s future direction will be. Circumstances change, you change, clients requirements change and under those circumstances it may not be wise to spend time and money creating a a brand which may soon need to change with you.
So, if you’re just starting out the most important thing is to START – MOVE FORWARD, don’t let imperfections or a lack of a professionally created suite of design assets stop you. There are other options open to you.
This blog post explores the pros and cons of the three main methods available for creating design assets for our business – Do it yourself, purchase off the shelf and hire a professional designer.
Do it your self:
Do it yourself is becoming an increasingly attractive option for a lot of start-ups and the growing number of online tools and resources are making it easier than ever.
- Increasing number of tools availble for free e.g. CANVA and Free logo makers
- Lots of useful blog posts and tutorials on line to help you get started – 10 design hacks to make you a better designer from post blogger
- Can be quick – you are in control and can action changes you want instantly
- Cheap or even free (apart from your time)
- Requires you to have some design skill or the time to learn
- Requires your time, which may be better spent elsewhere.
- Can take longer due to your inexperience
- May result in design assets which look unprofessional and don’t follow normal design rules e.g. colours which clash, too many fonts.
Obviously, this is often the only option open to many and can result is some amazing design assets for your business. If you do go down this route then I would highly recommend reading this article from The Design School: 20 Design Rules You Should Never Break
Buy off the shelf
- You’re freed up to spend your time elsewhere
- You benefit from some design input
- Cheaper than hiring a professional designer
- An increasing number of design assets available for sale
- Quick and simple purchase process
- Customisation will be limited.
- Designs will not be unique to your business
- Designs will not be aligned to your company values and business strategy
- If you don’t hit on the right design immediately a lot of time can be wasted re-purchasing or searching marketplaces for the look you want.
A word of warning when using these sites, especially Fiverr and the UK equivalent Fivesquid, you will get what you pay for. If you’re looking for creative inspiration you’ll be disappointed. They are fantastic if you know exactly what you want or for small jobs that require little or no creative input such as removing the background from a photo or changing the colour or updating wording on existing material.
However, if you have an idea of the look you want or you just need a logo to get you started I have seen some very successful results.
Hiring a professional Designer
Despite this ever increasing range of DIY options and it becoming easier than ever to create your own marketing material and design assets, more and more businesses are turning their back on the DIY approach and instead looking for a professional designer. Why? The business environment is getting increasingly competitive and getting seen and more importantly getting your message understood is vital to any business’ survival. Professional Graphic Design is about more than just creating an image or leaflet, it’s about creating brand awareness and developing brand advocates who will go out and champion your business.
- It will save you time
- It will give you a unique brand, which is fully aligned to your business strategy and company values – Read more about the importance of standing by you company values here.
- Will create consistency and instant recognition – It’s been great seeing Lisa over at Smiley for Life really express her brand and company values through consistent use of the design elements we created together.
- Increase your confidence and belief in your brand
- Allow effective communication with customers
- Great brand advocates
- Introduces a fresh perspective
- Finding the ‘right’ designer for you can take time
- You need to be able to communicate your business strategy and company values to someone else.
- You need to be comfortable releasing control over an important aspect of your business.
- Can be costly – Though probably not as expensive as you think, why not get in touch today for more information.
For advice on how to find the perfect designer for your business I’d highly recommend reading this article by Big Brand System.
If you have a design project you need help with or if you just want to chat further about any of the information above I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any resources or tools you’d recommend then please do leave me a comment below.