Should You Spend Money on a Professional Graphic Designer?
If you’re starting a business, or even if you’ve been running a business for some time, chances are you’ve considered whether or not you should spend money on a professional graphic designer to create your company logo and branded materials. And as with most business decisions, the cost of such an expense factors significantly into your planning. Therefore it’s important to have a good understanding of the cost, not only of hiring a professional graphic designer, but also of not hiring one.
Does your business need a graphic designer? You may think graphic design is a luxury only for big businesses with deep pockets. The truth is that having a professional at your service is essential to your business’ success, and the cost might be less than you think.
Are Graphic Designers Expensive?
It’s easy to question whether a graphic designer is worth the cost, when you’re not actually sure what the cost is. Graphic designers come in a wide variety of experience, styles, expertise, and clientele. Some have reached a level where they are sought after by large companies, and they don’t take small gigs from small, local businesses. Many more, however, specialize in servicing small businesses, and their rates reflect that clientele.
Graphic design, like any other service, can be had for a range of prices. You can go online for cheap, or you could pay a fortune to a high-priced design firm. So how do you know what’s a good price?
If you ask a number of graphic designers what they charge, you’ll find that each one has determined the price that makes sense for them. The simplest way to get what you need for a price you can afford is to shop around. You’ll find that each designer does things their own way, with their own distinct personality. Go with the one who makes you feel comfortable and confident that they’ll do the job well, at a price you can afford.
How Much is a Logo Design Worth?
The right price for a logo is actually the result of a formula that takes both the buyer and designer into account.
If PepsiCo. hires a graphic design firm to create their next product logo, that design project will likely cost hundreds of thousands–maybe millions– of dollars. You may ask, “Why does a logo cost so much? It’s just a simple little graphic!” In a sense that’s true, but consider that this logo will likely be on millions–even billions–of products in countries all over the world. With so much riding on that artwork, the design firm will spend hundreds or thousands of hours researching and designing the logo. They’ll need to be compensated for their time, but also for the value of the artwork. PepsiCo. stands to make billions of dollars from that product, and the logo will have a profound influence on that product’s appeal.
Of course, your average local business isn’t anything like PepsiCo. Their reach is much smaller, their needs are smaller, and their bank account is certainly smaller. Therefore the logo design for a small business should be priced according to the designer’s time and the client’s expected benefit from the design. A logo design for a local, family-owned diner is worth far less than a logo for a commercial product with worldwide distribution, even if they’re not very different in appearance.
How Much is Too Much to Spend on Graphic Design?
Marketing is an investment, and it’s important to include graphic design in your marketing efforts to ensure you get a return on that investment. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your business’ gross revenue on marketing and advertising. Therefore, the right amount depends directly on your business’ revenue and your overall budget.
Some designers offer cheaper rates than others, but you often get what you pay for. A seasoned professional knows not just how to make something look good, but how to make it communicate effectively, as well as making it practical for multiple uses. If every graphic designer you talk to seems out of your price range, then maybe you’ve underestimated the value of the service. It’s a talent, but also a skill gained by years of study and practice. You stand to benefit greatly from the designer’s work, and that’s worth something.
A small business owner has every right to negotiate an agreeable price for a graphics project, but the designer also has the same right. When both parties have a good understanding of one another’s position, it makes coming to an agreement much easier. It also makes it easy to realize when the client and designer aren’t a good match, and that’s OK too! Not every client is right for every designer. But most designers are willing to negotiate, and a good conversation will help both parties arrive at an agreement.
How do I Ensure I get Value for My Money?
You need to do your homework on any professional you wish to hire. Ask for references. See if they’re rated on the Better Business Bureau. Check their portfolio, and of course talk to them to get a sense for whether they know what they’re doing. You may be lured in by a great price, but maybe something about this person rubs you the wrong way. Then again, the price may be higher than you expected, but this person has filled you with confidence that he or she is the right person for the job.
A graphic designer can be long-distance connection, but ideally you should try to find one in your region, so you can develop a close working relationship. There’s just no substitute for a personal connection. The better a professional can get to know you, the better he or she will be able to understand your needs, and deliver what you want within your price range. Local connections are also good for accountability. Business-to-business relationships are very important in one’s community, and reputation among local business owners can make or break a professional’s career.
No graphic designer can accomplish what you want without your involvement, so it’s important to fully commit to the project. If you’re going to spend money on a professional graphic designer, understand that you both bear responsibility to see the project through to satisfactory completion. Design projects require communication and collaboration, so both parties need to be available and responsive to keep the wheels turning. You may give a substantial down-payment to get things rolling, but if you then lose focus and drift away from the project, that money may be gone for good, with nothing to show for it.
Shouldn’t I Save Money by Doing My Own Graphics?
Do-it-yourself solutions might seem to save you some money at first—it might even be fun—but there’s a hidden cost to doing it yourself. Graphic design is visual persuasion. It’s not simply about making things look good, it’s about understanding the clients you want to attract and knowing how to communicate with them. An experienced professional knows how to accomplish this.
Graphic design uses psychology to get inside the minds of your customers to encourage them to follow a path to your desired goal. If the design doesn’t effectively communicate to your prospects, then they won’t have much confidence in your business, and they won’t follow your path. If you’ve failed to impress potential customers, can you imagine how much a D-I-Y design is costing you?
Bottom Line: Should You Spend Money on a Professional Graphic Designer?
A budget-conscious business owner may think it’s too expensive to spend money on a professional graphic designer. It’s simply a matter of finding the right designer for your price range. The right graphic designer will enhance your business’ appeal, and help you make more money. That’s what it’s all about right?
A business needs to take advantage of every money-making opportunity to succeed. Working with a graphic designer is well worth the expense, because professional graphic design isn’t a money-saver, it’s a money-maker. Together, you and your designer will strengthen your brand, and help your business grow for years to come.
Charles River Creative is ready to help you with your next project. Contact us today, and we’ll do our best to help your business look its best.