Choice Digital Blog

Why Hiring a Professional Designer is Worth Your Money

Hire a Designer

Skilled labor comes at a cost.

At Choice, we’ve had our fair share of clients excitedly tell us about various services they’ve found that will take care of all of their design needs for just five dollars! (Or ten, or for trades for a pack of smokes, etc). We have to smile and nod politely when they talk about how fantastic it’s going to look, and at such a great price!

Here’s the deal: experts don’t charge five dollars for their services. This is skilled labor, a profession that people dedicate years of their life to. Would you sell your services as a consultant for 5 dollars, flat rate? No? Would you trust the advice of a consultant who charges a flat fee of 5 dollars?

Think of it this way – maybe you have an electrical short in your house. You could call up an electrician to fix the issue, or you could listen to your brother-in-law who says he ‘knows a guy who knows a guy’. Guy-your-brother-in-law-knows has the impressive resume of ‘has poked around his fuse box a couple of times’, and assures you that he could ‘figure it out’.

A designer is aware of the trends in the industry, of what is working well and what isn’t. It’s more than replicating something that looks nice, it’s understanding why certain decisions were made, and why others weren’t. It’s about understanding what makes a design effective. A designer needs to be able to inform, persuade, encourage, SELL! They need to know the ins and outs of the appropriate software for creating needed materials for both print and web. If it sounds like a lot of know-how required, well, it is. That’s exactly why you should entrust it to an expert.

A #designer is aware of the trends in the industry, of what is working well and what isn’t. It’s more than replicating something that looks nice, it’s understanding why certain decisions were made, and why others weren’t. #design Click To Tweet

 

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Quick example – the left is the logo in use for a podcast aimed at educators working at Illinois State University. The right is a quick exercise in our approach. We incorporated both the discussion based nature of the subject, as well as the focus of the subject matter being higher education. Seeing how the podcast focuses exclusively on ISU, we executed the logo using their university colors. The difference between hiring a proper designer, and going the frugal route is immediately evident to your audience and contributes heavily to their perception of your brand’s value.

 

Design ≠ art

It’s a common misconception that ‘graphic design’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘art’. Art is nice, and it’s fun to look at, but art isn’t intended as a means of problem-solving. Here’s the difference – design, by definition, is visual communication. Design solves problems.

For example: How do you convey ‘professionalism’ in your audience’s mind through the use of color? What font is appropriate for use in web, but is still legible for the fine print on a pamphlet? How do you create visual materials that accurately reflect your brand’s voice? How do you convince a consumer that your services are more closely aligned with their values than a similar offering? How do you tell a consumer that your brand is youthful, outside-the-box, outdoorsy, luxurious, or feminine, without handing them a list of adjectives?

Design, by definition, is visual communication. Design solves problems. #graphicdesign #marketing Click To Tweet

 

You’re hiring a collaborative partner

We’ve established that design aims to solve a problem, to communicate a message. Any designer worth their salt knows this and will take the time to sit down with you and hear who you are and what you’re about. Your designer is an ally who wants to bring your message to life but is also a collaborator, an expert who knows what works and what doesn’t. Together, you form a perfect team, co-existing to create the best representation of your brand, one that will have lasting impact and recognition in your customers’ eyes.

 

Design influences people instantaneously

This might be getting a little ‘artsy-fartsy’ for your tastes but let’s get into some facts.

Your visual identity forms an unconscious association in your consumer’s mind almost instantaneously. Humans are inherently visual creatures. When presented similar information, a big part of our decision making goes back to our values. Does this product look like it aligns with my values? Does it send a message that resonates with me? Does this appear to be a quality offering? Do you know what design decisions to make in order to ensure that your audience views your product the way you want them to? Food for thought: merely telling an audience what to think does not result in them thinking that way. By hiring a professional designer, you’re saving yourself time and energy by enlisting expert advice from someone who knows the ins and outs of effective design.

 

Perceived value influences customer purchasing behavior

Perceived value is a huge part of purchasing behavior. You think your offering is the best on the block, correct? Well, the trouble is, you need everyone else to think that as well.

Know what lowers your perceived value? Demonstrating to everyone that you skimped on your own visual branding. When the message you’re sending is ‘I’m not even willing to invest in myself’, how confident do you think your potential customers are that you’re willing to invest in them? Conversely, by hiring an expert, you can present your brand as more credible and approachable than you ever thought possible.

When the message you’re sending is ‘I’m not even willing to invest in myself’, how confident do you think your potential customers are that you’re willing to invest in them? #design #marketing Click To Tweet

 

Consistency across mediums

Alright, maybe you can use a template on Vistaprint for your business cards, a template on WordPress for your site, a template in Word for your printed materials. The problem is that all of these lack your voice, your brand. They’re white noise at best.

Many designers are powerhouses across print and pixel. Whether you need a logo and a website, or stationary and business cards, you’re much more likely to keep your brand consistent having hired a professional. Having consistent colors, type, imagery, etc, will help establish your tone and create recognition amongst your followers. If everything you produce looks drastically different, how will audiences ever know it’s you?

 

Recognition

You want to stand out from the crowd. Crazy as it may sound, utilizing the same cut-budget resources everyone else uses produces an end result completely identical to theirs. Think about it – templates are crafted for mass use. Do you think WordPress is making their themes unique, just for you? What about your clipart logo? Surely it stands apart from the ten thousand other people using it?

Your brand is unique, one of a kind; working with a professional will help ensure that it comes across that way too. With a comprehensive, calculated visual identity in place, people will begin to take notice. They’ll recognize your palette on a printed piece here, or nod in recognition when they see your familiar graphics in place there. Consistency breeds recognition and keeps your brand in your customer’s mind.

 

Your brand is unique, one of a kind; working with a professional will help ensure that it comes across that way too. #branding #design Click To Tweet

 

Considering all of this, the importance of good design and the amount of expertise that goes into it – is this something you would entrust someone to deliver the care your brand needs for the cost of a Happy Meal?

If you want to look like a five dollar brand, then be a five dollar brand. You get all the perks that come with it. Five dollar customers with five dollar budgets, and five dollar notoriety for your five dollar brand.

Listen. We’re not telling you that you have to spend 2 grand an hour. All we’re advocating is that you consider the investment you’re making into your brand.

Great design lends credibility, trust, and recognition to your brand. It shows a level of care and attention and establishes you as an expert when done correctly. Poor design does the opposite – it shows carelessness, indifference, and unprofessionalism. Design influences buyer decisions whether consciously or not, so while your wallet may be sweating the upfront costs, it’ll thank you in the long run.

 

If you’d like to see some examples of our design capabilities, check out our portfolio here. Looking for more advice on how to craft your brand? Click here to read our blog on important questions you should ask yourself when deciding the voice your brand will take.