When Should You Hire A Graphic Designer
Graphic design is a quick way to tell people about your vibe, your brand, and how to distinguish your business from your competitors.
But graphic design is MORE than just logos...it's the visually way you express your brand. Because it's the first thing that people see and fall in love with, it also happens to be the first thing business owners focus on.
This is a mistake.
Since graphic design is an integral part of your business story - you need to be really clear and sure of who you are and what you stand for before you invest. Below are my recommendations on graphic design based on your business stage.
BABY BUSINESS OWNER
Graphic design is USUALLY the first place baby business owner go to when they put their businesses together - but this is a rookie mistake. Similar to my reasons stated in the copywriter blog post in this series, I don't recommend baby business owners investing in graphic design services yet. Because you're still exploring who you are and what you want your business to be about, spending money on graphic design is not a wise decision. If you invest now and then realize you want to go in another direction 3 months from today - you'll have to redo everything and spend even more money. Ouch!
So, I recommend going the do-it-yourself route by focusing more on creating a typography based logo or by using pre-made logo templates that can be easily customized (you can check out Etsy for these types of kits).
Bottom line: Save your money on graphic design until you know yourself a little better.
EMERGING BUSINESS OWNER
For the emerging business owner, now is the time to start thinking about your visual presence. I do recommend you begin looking into hiring a graphic designer for a more polished online presence. Now, at this point in your business, you have a good idea on how you want your vibe to come across to your audience. So, my suggestions for you are more guidelines.
How to make your design process go smoother:
- Investigate and vet the designer your want to go with. Ask for referrals, scope out the websites of work shown in their portfolio, and make sure they specialize in the aesthetic or style you want
- Be really clear what your contract states. How many revisions rounds do you get? What happens if you hate the direction the design is going? How do you terminate your contract? Do you own the copyright on the designs?
- Be willing to CLEARLY explain the vibe you're going for. Don't say " I want Marie Forleo's brand", say "I'm looking for a modern, clean but feminine vibe to my brand. An example would be Marie Forleo's style".
- Be clear on the expectation of communication. How long will your designer take to reply back to your emails? How long do they expect you to respond back to theirs?
- Know that any designer worth their salt WILL NOT copy another designer's work.
- Understand that YOU WILL GET what you pay for. In most cases, the higher the design fee the more experience and hands-on the professional will be. Again, investigate and vet BEFORE you sign on the dotted line and pay the deposit.
- Trust your gut. If something feels off - trust it. Likewise, if something feels like a "hell yes!" - trust it as well!
ESTABLISHED BUSINESS OWNER
As an established business owner, graphic design now serves the role of reinforcing your brand. You will need to make sure there is a sense of continuity in your customer's experience. You most likely already have a designer that you love working with. Below a list of suggestions to help reinforce your brand's recognition.
Reinforce your brand's recognition using graphic design in these areas:
- Your contracts and proposals
- Your social media headers (banners) - make them all consistent
- Your email headers
- Your invoices and proposals (if applicable)
- Your program / product PDFs
- Your sharable social media content (like quotables or tips)
- Your media channels headers or thumbnails (Youtube, Itunes, Stitcher)
- Your blog images
There are so many talented designers and graphic artists out there. But if you are looking for my top picks here they are in no particular order. I have either worked with them personally on various projects or I know their work ethics and characters really well. Regardless, of who you end up hiring, I know they'll create your vision beautifully - they are all good!
Braizen - Fun and badass. They did the A Freaking Great Company logo that you've seen and love. The folks at Braizen are magic geniuses. Working with them makes you feel like an A-lister (maybe because they've branded celebrity A-listers before?). If you're ready for your close up these folks will help you look the part.
JWatson Creative - Smart, beautiful and altrusive. That's the vibes you will get when you work with Jessica from Jwatson Creative. Trusted by businesses who want to make a BIG DIFFERENCE in the world, this design studio focuses on soul and sales.
Jennifer B Jacobs - Sweet and so inspiring. She helped create some of my very first proposals and contracts (in other words...she helped make me look good when I pitched my offers). Jennifer has that southern charm that just grabs you and makes you fall in love with her.
The Petite Co. - While I *technically* never worked with the talented Kara-Anne, we have worked together on projects before and let me tell you...she's just a powerhouse when it comes to translating pretty ideas into pretty pixels on a screen.
A Little Creative - Sassy, generous, and a little short (she's tiny!), Morgan offers fresh design with a keen sense of detail. She helps big-hearted entrepreneurs (who do love to swear) get their online presences together in the most beautiful way.
RKA Ink - Colorful, vibrant, and full of personality - that's the kind of branding you'll get when you work with folks at RKA Ink. Rachael is big on smiles and keeping the design process fun. They specialize in bringing more of you into YOUR brand.
*Please note: While it would be cool for you to let these folks know I referred you to them, my referral doesn't give me any kickbacks. Kit-Kats or kittens.