DIY Design (Why it Doesn’t Work)
I know what you’re thinking. You’re ready to start up your own business and need to save some money, and you’ve seen all the advertisements offering do-it-yourself design. It sounds great, right? You get to save a bit of money and have the satisfaction of making your own stuff. So why wouldn’t you?
It might seem great at first, but there’s a lot that gets left out of the equation when people who aren’t trained in graphic design do this. Design firms understand the principles of art and design, what it means to be visually cohesive, and what concepting is. Bottom line, they know what makes for effective and beautiful design. Graphic design is a steadily growing field for a reason, and when you try to create design without this experience backing it, it doesn’t always end well.
Your company is represented by its branding
It comes down to this; people have to associate your business with something. That’s why you need branding. Your logo, your website, your advertisements, your business cards … all of that together creates a visual identity for yourself and your company.
Imagine the following brands: Nike, McDonald’s, Apple. Odds are what you’re thinking about is their visual identity. If you think of Nike, you think of their “swoosh.” If you think of McDonald’s, you think of the Golden Arches. If you think of Apple, you think of, well, an apple (and a lot of Helvetica). It’s hard to imagine these brands without their coinciding identities, because their visual presence is how they are remembered.
Bad design hurts
Starting your own business is a risky venture.
“According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first year. By the end of their fifth year, roughly 50 percent of small businesses fail. After 10 years, the survival rate drops to approximately 35 percent.” Lending Tree
Bad marketing is one of the biggest reasons for failure. You could have an amazing, well-thought-out company, but if the design representing it is sloppy, it’ll also make you look sloppy. If you don’t have an appropriate and memorable logo, then clients won’t remember you or your business.
Whatever you put into your company is what you’ll get out of it. Be smart about your expenses, but don’t forget to invest where it counts. Your branding is how your clients see you. If you’ve invested all that you can into a business, why would you skimp on something as important as its identity?
What is good design?
Don’t aim for good design. What you want is something that’s effective. Graphic design without a concept to drive it home will not work.
“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” Jeffrey Zeldman
Design isn’t just making something look *pretty.* It’s its own language, and a visual summary of what your company is. Again, your clientele will remember you through your branding. Design conveys emotions that words can’t always get across; how your visual identity is formatted influences people to see you in a certain light.
Graphic designers often have a bachelors in the field because of this. If you try to create your branding off what you know and think looks good, then you’re missing years of experience in a complex field. A professional knows how to create something that looks good based off what is conceptually sound.
Even after all its years of popularity, DIY is still a very large trend. (Pinterest certainly got a boost from it.) And it is exciting to think that you can do all of the work you need to on your own. There’s a sense of pride that comes with it, but if the work you do isn’t effective, you’ll only be hurting your business in the long run. Design is heavily incorporated into our daily lives (check the phone you’re probably reading this on), so it’s worth hiring someone to do it right. It’ll keep your company from getting lost in the slew of design the world puts out everyday.
Want to create a brand for your own company? Or update the one you have? Be sure to contact us, we’d love to help!