Do you want it good? Fast? Or cheap? We have all heard this as consumers. Think of cheap toilet paper. It’s on sale at Target, off-brand, and you need it in bulk. It is a dream come true. You drop your $10.99 and bring it home to replace the bathroom roll. Later that evening you quickly find out that maybe you should have gone with a quality brand. Because when you buy cheap, a lot of times you’ll end up with shi-.
When it comes to design, thinking critically about your long-term business goals should be the deciding factor in your branding/marketing materials. As a designer with over a decade of experience, I have seen the full spectrum of design vs cost. I have seen a premiere agency make hundreds of thousands of dollars selling a company its old logo without its previous text treatment. I have seen newer designers charge $80 for a stunning logo and flyer. This conversation is not about the talent of the designer or agency but rather the client’s ask.
If you are a small business with a monthly revenue of $10,000 or less it is beneficial for you to work in the “good but affordable” range. You don’t have to blow your budget out but should invest in a design that has the potential to grow with you. If you go the “cheap and fast” route you should make plans to replace the logo in the next 2 to 5 years. I can guarantee that your business will outgrow that cheap logo.
But why does this matter? Would it be easier to prompt AI for a logo, grab a display font from Da Fonts, and use a template on Vista Print? YES, yes it would…but does that reflect the quality of your business? If so, please continue forward. But check out our post on AI vs Humans before you pull up Chat GPT. Your business is unique, and niche, and deserves branding that represents those qualities. To not invest in great design means you aren’t willing to invest in your business’s long-term success.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind when investing in graphic design for your business:
Time is your friend
A good thing is always worth waiting for. Flex those virtuous muscles and be a little patient when working with a designer. Taking the time to brainstorm, concept ideas, A/B test, and develop the right copy can make all the difference. Consumers can tell when something is rushed and without thought. I often hear new clients say “Yeah, we needed the logo in a week. We got it, paid the designer, and ran our campaign. But the logo seems off.” Who is the culprit in this crime of bad design? Is it the client or the designer? I’d like to think it is a combination of both. The Client wanted “cheap and fast” and ended up with something that ultimately didn’t work. The Designer didn’t educate the client on why more time would yield a better result. The true villain was time. If you wouldn’t buy something that looked cooked up in a day in a half, bring that same mindset to your business.
How this can be avoided:
Clients: Have a plan before contacting a designer. If you need a fast turn around bring something to the table for the designer to springboard off. Don’t be afraid to give as much information as possible in the discovery phase. Try to send any notes or ideas to the designer before or after the meeting.
If there are any designs that you have seen that inspire you please share them. Designers love insight into client’s minds. We don’t know what we don’t know, and the same goes for you.
Designers: ask as many questions as possible. Capitalize off everything the client says that sounds like a clue to their ultimate need. Manage time, and be mindful of future time creeps. If the client needs a logo in 5 days ask why. There may be insight on how you will approach the project.
Sometimes things don’t click, so don’t dig yourself into a hole you can’t get out of. Your reputation is everything. If you feel that this project won’t reflect your work and/or the client’s brand, do not wait to express that. Clients respect the truth, but it is also your responsibility to make that call before promises are made.
Honor among thieves
Whatever your competitor is doing….steal it and make it better. The market you are in may be saturated with copycat businesses that have the same products and services. Don’t let that get you down, use it to bring your company up. Everyone has a golden idea that is successful. It can be big or small, it doesn’t matter just steal it. Sit with it, brainstorm, hire a designer, and figure out what could be better.
There is always a way to improve your brand that can be low effort. Make Instagram posts that are square instead of landscape. Put your logo in the top right corner of your marketing collateral. There are so many small things that you can implement within your brand that can make your company look refreshed and relevant.
Don’t compete... Pioneer.
When your branding is top of the class it is hard to see those gunning for second. When you focus on your branding to support your business you are already ahead. I have seen many small businesses (and big ones) that decided to take the easy way out and suffer. You would be surprised at how many companies did not check to see if their logo and branding looked like another company’s.
The companies that pioneer and shake the market are the iconic ones. Have you ever seen a logo that looks like Nike logo? Even after several decades, Nike is the premiere athletic apparel company. With a logo and supporting branding that cannot be touched.
Rushing your branding will lead to a rushed public perception. You have invested time, sweat, tears, and opportunities to get to a place where your company can thrive. Don’t overlook the care needed to create a solid brand. Work with a designer who shares your vision and can help bring that directly to your audience.
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