If you are running a business, then you’ll know that having a professional corporate image is the basic requirement to distinguish yourself from the competition. So why do so many businesses take risks with something so important? Unless you are a mechanic with the correct knowledge and tools, you wouldn’t try and replace the wheels on your car – so why do so many businesses try and create their own company branding?
There are normally two main reasons that companies do not approach a design agency when looking to design their brand identity:
1.They feel it will cost a lot of money – and new businesses need to watch what they spend.
2. It looks easy enough to do it yourself.
This is partly down to the fact that, over the years, design software has come a long way. While programmes such as Quark, InDesign and Photoshop have all allowed professional designers to create digital design work in shorter times and allow for techniques that either did not exist or were hard to achieve before, they have also blurred the line between professional and home design. If you have the time and a little background knowledge, the majority of this software is relatively easy to use and you can produce basic graphic designs in no time at all. A day or two on the computer and pop down to the cheapest printer you can find and viola – you have your newly designed business logo and stationery and you’ve saved yourself a packet in the process. And that’s what business is about, right? If only it was that simple. . .
Image is everything in business. So what is wrong with the free and easy method of producing your own logo and brand identity? Take a look at the below:
1. You can always spot a ‘homemade’ design.
Whether it is the re-used layout from Microsoft Publisher or the clip art of the guy on a surfboard – you can always spot when a design is homemade.
2. It’s difficult to stand out.
No matter what you do, without professional design skills and knowledge, you will be limited to the tools at your fingertips if you cannot freehand illustrate. That means you will have to use some form of clip art or stock photography and rely on supplied templates.
If you are not a professional designer, then you probably also don’t know about the principles of colour or typography and how to use these to make a certain type of impact on your customer. You’d be surprised what emotions you can stir up with some colour and well chosen fonts . .
3.First impressions count.
Look at it from your customer’s perspective. You are given a business card that is plainly a home-grown project. What does this tell you about the company ? unprofessional, small time, cheap, not to be taken seriously? Is this really how you want your business to be seen?
How to pick an agency
There are a lot of ‘designers’ out there (just check the numbers of listings in any directory!) but you’ll find that many of them are one-man bands who have maybe designed a couple of posters or flyers for their mates and have decided to set up on their own. They usually have no formal design training and certainly no idea of marketing. These guys are artists and not commercial designers ? and there’s a big difference.
The safest bet is to use a professional design and marketing agency that employ experienced and trusted designers, web developers, marketers and project managers to take the guess work out of it for you.
A design agency will have access to many different people – all of whom can offer something to your project and will be more professional in general; producing timing plans and cost estimates as well as specification sheets and creative briefs before starting your project. This will protect you in the future should the company not deliver the goods as well as allowing the project to be managed and organized in a structured way so that everyone involved will know what is required.
You may have to pay a little more for a design agency but it really is a case of “you get what you pay for” in this instance as agencies tend to have a lot more experience and projects under their belt as well as having access to resources that freelancers do not have. You might also be surprised as not all agencies are as expensive as you might think.
Summing it all up…
- A design agency will only have professional, commercial designers and web developers and many will also have a marketing professional to both project manage your work and provide strategic marketing input.
- They are also able to offer many other design and marketing services under one roof and have access to more resources and experience. This allows for fully integrated marketing communications.
- Take a look at any testimonials on the agency’s website or Facebook page.
- Talk to the agency. Ask questions about their background and individual experiences. Why are they better than the agency down the road?
- Make sure you get an agreed project specification and cost estimate outlined before the project begins.
- Do not compare agencies on price alone – the cheapest is not always the best.
If you have any questions on the above, or would like to discuss how we could help your business, please contact us today and get started on making your business dreams become a reality!