Graphic and Web Design are tough industries to be in when it comes to communicating value. The tools (software) that we use to produce designs are too expensive to be accessible or to be considered a good investment for anyone who doesn’t work as a designer. As a result, most customers are unaware of the working process and therefore exactly how much work goes into any given service. Add to that the competition from overseas created by the ability to provide services remotely and you have a market with a complex value system, with customers often confused as to what creates the most value for their brand.
One of my missions as Director of Perfect Design is to provide you all with as much information as I can to give you the ability to better understand the value of design. In time, I will post videos of some of our work processes but before that, and starting with this article, I will give you a few elements to consider when assessing who should take care of your branding and design.
It is difficult to know what is really involved in creating different designs when the tools used are so exclusive to this industry. These tools are necessary to create professional designs in formats that are acceptable to printers, digital platforms and various forms of marketing communications. These tools take time to learn in order to produce professional designs and this is the first element to consider in valuing the final product and service delivered. I’ve had clients ask me if I was designing their product catalogues in Publisher – if you are wondering the answer is a firm “no” – any publication or design involving page layouts is produced in Adobe InDesign (follow the link to learn more, it will give you a good insight).
There are plenty of junior or aspiring designers out there who will charge a lower rate but may end up wasting a lot of time…which brings us to the next point.
This is actually a very simple equation to take into account. When you hire a junior designer at $20 per hour, but the junior takes 32 hours to create the initial concept and 3 revisions to get to something acceptable to you – is it really worth it?
Compare that to a senior designer who may charge, say $60 per hour, with 3 professional and original concepts created in 16 hours and say 2 revisions to get to the perfect design. Revisions, if any, will also be quicker because a senior designer also has enough experience to determine what you want. With the senior designer, and this is crucial, you will also get designs that are created to be applied to any of your future marketing communications, no matter the size or medium it is applied to. This is not guaranteed with less experienced or cheaper designers and this may cost you more in the long run.
Time is money
With a senior designer you can expect realistic targets in terms of turnaround – they will be able to organize any printing without delays caused by file preparation issues. An less experienced designer will find it hard to predict timelines and might struggle to deliver more creative designs (like logo designs) in a specific time frame. If a cheaper designer sends you good looking logos in a short time, I would be suspicious that they are using purchased vectors and that your logo is therefore not original.
Depending on the type of business you run and how much the branding can impact your sales, you may choose to go for a relatively cheap design service for a generic logo or you may need specialized and in-depth branding services. One thing is sure: you cannot afford to put your branding on the backbench anymore.
Access to technology enables any Tom, Dick and Harry to setup a business, create their own website, start selling online and that means more competition. More things to look at means that people have less time to look at them. Sending a message with visuals is becoming necessary to cut through the noise.
As Giovanni Agnese; Consumer Products, Retail and Private Equity expert from Bain & Co. states: “Tougher competition is making retailers strive even harder to increase store productivity. And each year sees a rise in the number of shoppers waiting until they’re in the aisle to choose a brand, often making up their minds in just a few seconds – and reconsidering their choice every other time they buy.” (From Shelf to Checkout: How Brands Can Stand Out At Stores, Giovanni Arnese, https://www.forbes.com/sites/baininsights/2014/07/10/from-shelf-to-checkout-how-brands-can-stand-out-at-stores/#3df6653d13c1)