As a wee finale to my last couple of posts, I’m going to further my “graphic-designers-are-good-for-business” theory.
I’m writing this as a person who is passionate about the success of small businesses, a person who shrinks inside when she sees badly designed visuals attached to a great business run by terrific folks—design that doesn’t come close to adequately reflecting who they are or what they do.
There are so many different design pieces you can use to tell your story, to build your brand. But some business owners are inclined to cut corners with their visuals, because hey—running a business isn’t cheap. And there’s like a zillion YouTube videos out there to show you how to find your way around design software. And if that doesn’t work, your sister’s kid is a dab hand at Photoshop who could surely put something cool together for a quarter of the cost of a professional.
But in the same way that you wouldn’t try to fix the rattle in your car’s engine yourself—because you know that’d be a waste of your time (you don’t have the expertise!) and money (it’ll just cost you more in the end!)—if you have design needs that require specific knowledge, problem-solving abilities and technical skills, it really and truly is best to hire a pro.
If you’re not yet convinced by this theory, consider these four ways in which a professional designer can be of benefit to you and your business:
A designer can save you money. The hours you would spend creating a design piece for your business is time you could have spent doing what you do best—running your business. And will this design piece you created stand out amongst your competition and catch the eye of your target market? Will it communicate your message with elegance and strength? Will it be printed or uploaded without a hitch? A designer has laboured at great length to develop their skills and hone their craft. A good designer is an investment that will pay off every single time.
A designer is strategic. Hiring a designer means you don’t have to spend time trying to figure out how best to present yourself to your target audience— a good designer will ask the right questions, gather all the necessary information and develop strong concepts that effectively and attractively communicate your message. A good designer will not just put together a pretty picture to sell your story—they will research, review, analyze, consider, brainstorm, develop and design elements that are targeted, thoughtful solutions customized for your specific needs and requirements.
A designer knows their stuff. A professional graphic designer has an advanced knowledge of design principles, typography, colour, software, materials, printing processes and much, much more. A designer can also offer—or contract out— other services such as illustration, photography or web design, and work directly with printers to ensure your project is pulled off smoothly, on-time and on-budget.
A designer will help you succeed. A professional designer knows what it takes to help you build your brand, maintain a consistent image in the marketplace, and stand out from the crowd. Great design will help catch the eye of your customers, your investors, your clients and competition. It’ll make people take notice, and they’ll recognize that you’re serious about who you are and what you’re doing. And while helping you to look great, a designer understands that eye-catching good looks are just a part of your design strategy. Ultimately design has to communicate the right message in the right way to the right audience. In the words of Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like… Design is how it works.”
A graphic designer does so much more than build a digital file. A good designer is a strategist, artist and technician who will take all the different aspects of your business—your products, services, mission and message—and deliver a cohesive, elegant visual design that communicates your brand in a distinct and memorable manner. A graphic designer has the potential to become an integral part of your support team, an adviser and collaborator who can help build your business over the long term. Go on, try it out. Ask around, do some research, and see if you can bring a designer on board who can fix that rattle and help you move forward, in the right direction.