Get More for Your Money
I’ve been a graphic designer for more than 15 years in companies large and small, from a small-town newspaper all the way to the full-service marketing firm here at Encore Multimedia. I have worked with clients of various sizes as well, from universities and hospitals to a proud grandparent placing a birthday ad in the paper. There is one thing that all of these clients could do to get more for their money when using a graphic designer — Prepare!
No matter what your business is, YOU are the one who knows the most about it. It is in your best interest to communicate the who, what and why of your business to those who have the task of promoting it.
Who are you as an individual and/or business? How did you start out and where are you headed? What is it that you are “selling” to your clients? An education? A product? A service? How do you stand out from your competitors? In other words, why should a prospective client choose you over your competitors? These are all things that will help build the groundwork for an effective design for a logo, website, brochure, or an all-encompassing branding campaign.
Beyond these basics that need to be conveyed is the more abstract aspect of defining the look and feel of the design you are wanting. The easiest way for you to communicate what you like or what you are looking for is by visual example. This will take some time on your part, but will save you time and money when the project is in the hands of a designer. Look at your competitors both locally and on a national or worldwide scale. What does their look or design convey? What headlines or taglines are they using? You don’t want to copy them, but you want to make sure that you are positioning yourself at, or more importantly, above their level. So, if you are needing a logo, show the designer examples of logos that you like. Explain what you like about them (color, style, legibility, font, etc.) Also find examples of what you don’t like if you feel strongly about it. If a competitor uses an ultra-modern look and you want your business to have a more rustic feel, let us know. While we have been known to hit the nail on the head while blindfolded, we are not mind-readers, and if we were, you couldn’t afford us! If you are needing a printed piece, bring examples of papers that you like or a unique folded piece you may want to try. If you need a website, send links to sites that have the look you like, but also sites that have functions that you want. You can even send links of examples from a completely different industry than you are in. It just helps us have a springing off point to come up with the perfect design to meet your needs.
To me, designing is like putting together a huge puzzle. I use photos, color, fonts and layout together to come up with a design that encompasses everything you want it to say. I often do research to try and figure out what a client wants before beginning a design, and that is a good thing. However, if you can provide the basics up front, it saves a lot of time, which equals money saved for you. Even more importantly, you get a resulting product that does exactly what you want it to do — bring you more business!