If you’ve ever been in charge of running a business, it’s likely that you’ve made a few key relationships with professionals in the fields of accounting, tax preparation, or legal. It’s easy to turn work over to a professional when you have zero idea what tax bracket you fall into, or you know that you need a contract written.
When it comes to hiring a graphic designer, the line gets a little fuzzier. You might know of Photoshop or understand what a font is, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. It can be difficult to know when it’s time to pick up the phone and find a professional designer to help your company out.
To help, I’ve picked five common scenarios that say it’s time to take the next step:
1. Your print shop mentioned a bunch of funny words you had to look up
Does this scenario sound familiar? You were getting simple business cards quickly put together and decided to do the work yourself. After finding a printer and sending out your files to them, they came back and told you they needed a PDF in CMYK format at 300 DPI. If you didn’t know any better, you’d have sworn your print representative started speaking in a different language!
2. You’ve been using images straight off of Google Image Search
The Internet is one of the most amazing resources mankind has ever developed. How exciting was it when you could type a keyword into Google and get images as a result? Even in today’s age of everything at your fingertips, copyright lawyers are still sending out cease and desist orders because people forget that every image has a rights holder.
3. You’re struggling to get noticed
Have you tried bright colors? Making everything bigger? Comic Sans font?
It’s getting harder than ever to get a potential client’s attention, and once you do, even harder to keep it. On top of that, people still judge a book by its cover—even after they learned not to in elementary school.
4. Your logo looks different on everything that has your company name on it
Did you go through different printers, sign companies, and Web developers as you started to build your company brand? Did each of them sell you on their own version of your logo because it was “easy for them”?
Your brand is your most valuable asset. An effective brand doesn’t compromise because the format in which it’s being used is changing. It stays the same no matter where you put it. And when it stays the same, it builds brand consistency. And people trust consistency.
5. You just don’t have the time
Running a business takes a lot of time out of your day. Perhaps you have projects or duties that can easily monopolize your schedule.
If there’s one thing that both my clients and I will always agree on, it’s that creativity isn’t a spontaneous thing. It’s a process that takes time and energy, and it can show when you’re not able to put in the effort.
I get it. I need a designer. What do I do next?
There’s going to be a bit of homework involved when you start to find a designer to work with. A few tips worth keeping in mind to help you along:
- Study their portfolio. Do you like the work they’ve done for their other clients?
- Don’t ask for work before you hire them. A good designer has a process they need to go through before they can create something that’s effective for you.
- Have a rough idea of what you’re able to spend to hire a designer. Keep in mind that you may have to adjust it to find the level of work you’re after.
- Write out a list of what you’re hoping to gain from the relationship. Don’t know where to start? There’s a lot of good information out there how to write a design brief.
I also recommend taking some time to create a shortlist and set up a short consultation with the designers you’re considering. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, and it can be over the phone if need be. Make sure that you feel comfortable communicating with them and that they’re listening to your concerns as well. A good designer should make you feel like you’re a part of the project rather than casting you aside to make something that simply looks good in their portfolio.
About the Author: You need someone with a great eye for design who understands that “looking pretty” still needs to move your product line or services. Dan Nisbet at Nisbet Creative can help. He has more than five years of experience working in brand design, identity design, print and publishing, advertising design and web design. Let him use his talent and passion for design and help make you a success.