If you just start your business, you might think that your budget can’t cover the cost of hiring a graphic designer. And that’s ok until a certain point. There are several things you can buy cheap: pre-made logos, WordPress themes for your website or low cost business cards printed in Staples. Or you can make these on your own if you have the time and skills.
But I strongly advise to save up money from to hire a designer at least after your first business year. I’m not suggesting this because I’m a designer, I do it because I’m a consumer too. Yep, I might be your client once. But let me tell you: if your logo looks home-made, your product packaging doesn’t match your brand and I can’t navigate your web shop on my iPhone, I won’t buy from you. This is the sad truth. And possible other clients will also search for a business, with a more professional look. And this is the main reason why it worths to pay for a designer… for a good one.[bctt tweet=”A good graphic designer gives your business the professional look that can convince people to buy from you.”]
Let’s see how!
#1 A good designer helps you finding your “visual voice”
Maybe you are struggling with your style. While all your printed marketing materials are cute, full of vivid colors, your products are actually very soft, pastel colored silk scarves… and your Instagram shots are done in ultra minimalistic, industrial looking environment? Hey, you can’t cover everything from art deco to minimalism. But picking one style and keeping ourselves to that one sounds boring, doesn’t it? Well, it shouldn’t be boring. And even mixing different styles can work for your business if you stay consistent. For example I kinda’ like the product photo idea of soft silk scarves on concrete floors.
A good designer first asks you a lot of questions to find out more about you, your products and your clients. She summarize this in a creative brief and then she creates you a mood board. This is a collage with colors, life style photos, patterns, textures, etc. It’s super useful to find the common voice between you and the designer and it also helps you to summarize what kind of style you want your business to reflect.
#2 A good designer creates you a logo that’s unique and stands out
While I think nicely made pre-made logos are fine and really useful for new businesses, I strongly recommend to go further and hire a designer to create you a custom logo. This can be pricey (from $300 to $1500 depending on the designer’s experience) but it really worth the extra money. After all, your logo will be the main symbol of your business. People will recognize it while window-shopping on a sunny Saturday afternoon or while browsing Etsy in their lunch break. And please-please-please, don’t use Fiverr and the other cheap design solutions. They can only give you mediocre results and it hurts the whole graphic design industry. A good designer listens to all your requests and works hours to design an amazing logo for you. A logo that will work everywhere, printed in small onto fabric or projected on a wall in big, etc.
#3 A good designer gives you a style sheet
Your visual identity isn’t just your logo. It consist of the logo, the colors, fonts, textures, patterns, symbols, icons and many other visual elements. It also covers the style of photos you should use on your blog and the way you present your products or even yourself. This is why a style sheet (or for bigger projects, a brand guide book) comes handy. Here’s mine, for Andimaginary Design.
So a good designer will provide these extra assets for your business which will make website design much easier.
#4 A good designer gives you the right file formats
I had several projects when a client asked me to create her a flyer or a poster but she could only provide me a tiny little logo in jpeg file format. Jpeg format is fine in some cases but not for using it in design projects. Here’s what you must get from a designer in terms of file format:
- Logo in png format, on transparent background and at least 2000×2000 px size.
- Logo in jpeg format, at least 2000×2000 px size, 300 dpi resolution, CMYK color mode.
- Logo in vector graphic format. This can be .ai (Adobe illustrator), and .svg is also common. Some designers won’t give you this, only for an additional fee. If you don’t plan to use your logo on special surfaces, or in extra big size (like on a big banner), you’ll be fine.
- Logo in black & white, png format on transparent background, this is useful for watermarking your product photos.
A good designer knows that you’ll use you logo in new, different ways in the future. Maybe you just asked for a logo and a business card, but she knows that you might need flyers in the future or a new website. So she’ll provide you all the formats that makes future design work easier.
#5 A good designer knows what’s the difference between producing for print and for the web
By the way, file format, color mode and resolution becomes very important when you plan to print something with your logo. Everything that you want to print must be at least 300 dpi (there are 300 tiny dots per inch in the image), otherwise the printed image or logo will be blurry and bad quality even if you print it on the finest photo paper.
Color mode is the other important aspect of printing. Small production digital printers ask for CMYK mode, which means Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, the four cartridges in the printer. On the other hand, if you need something for your website, that must be in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) mode, because your monitor uses these base colors to create the millions of colors and shades you see on the screen.
So a good designer always uses the right file settings depending on the final usage of her artwork. Because she wants you to have a professional looking business on all type of media surfaces.
#6 A good designer is honest and unselfish
The client’s requests are very important. But a good designer can tell you when you’re not right, when your color choice doesn’t fit your style or when your favorite font is unreadable. A good designer doesn’t want to force her own style on you, she wants to give you the perfect look. Something that you feel comfortable and it also fits your clients taste. A good designer won’t give you false compliments if you chose the wrong colors. She won’t laugh at you neither. She wants to be a partner in a very important and extremely exciting journey. She wants to be proud of the end result but only if you are happy with it too.
So what are your experiences? Have you worked with a designer before and what would you add to my list? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments below.