Good Design vs Good Price
Whether its a chair, website, or business card, getting the right design first time will save you money which to me makes for a sound investment. But how do you know you’re getting a great design for the right price? It’s unfortunate but in todays world getting a bed design for the wrong price is way too easy and happens way too often.
We’ve been on both sides of the price vs quality debate so we have a good idea of what a client wants and what a designer can do. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some great people after turning down some very questionable quotations from others, which is why we thought it was time to have a look at some guidelines and questions that you should ask yourself when hiring a designer.
Times have changed and thanks to the internet we are now able to look beyond the local printer to get our business stationery, but as the saying goes ‘if it’s sounds too good to be true, it probably is’. Sure that online company might be able to give you 1000 business cards for $10 but will they be any good what paper do they use? can you have your own design? While the internet has opened up a world of possibilities, it can often come with a catch. Crowdsourcing sites such as CrowdSpring don’t even require you to have design knowledge to design a logo, merely a computer with access to Microsoft Paint. In theory sites like this should be a great way for emerging designers to show their suff, get some exposure and most importantly gain clients, but unfortunately what they’ve turned into is a far cry from what a designer can do for a business.
Now I know some of you a probably thinking that it’s unfair for me to say that just because someone charges less doesn’t mean they won’t have an idea that I’ll love. To be fair, you’re right they might but my point is not in the actual dollar figure, it’s in what you get for that dollar.
As an example let’s take a peek at one of the worst rebranding we’ve seen in quite some time. The Gap received a huge amount of negative feedback when they released their new logo, so much negative feedback that within a couple days they had reverted back to their old logo. In this instance it doesn’t matter whether they paid an agency $100 or $100,000 either way it was a bad investment.
Ok so I’m sounding a little doom and gloom but finding a designer that will give you the most for money can be a little time consuming but it doesn’t have to be too difficult and if you keep these few things in mind it should make your decision easier and your project run a lot smoother.
Do Your Research
Haven’t I seen you somewhere before? One of the easiest things to do is to check out your potential designers portfolio. You wouldn’t buy a car or house from someone who couldn’t show you the said car or house, so why would you be happy to pay someone to design you a website without seeing any of their other designs? Seems like a simple task but there are too many people who forget this step and head straight to the price list and then wonder why after launching their new website, they need to replace it.
Most designers will happily provide you with case studies, examples or testimonials, even references so help you make your decision and if they won’t provide you with some sort of portfolio, walk away. Designers are proud of what they do and want to show it off so be wary of someone who doesn’t. And don’t forget good old fashioned word of mouth. If you find a website you like, ask them who designed it and whether they’d recommend the designer.
The First Meeting
Meeting with your designer for the first time can be a little daunting especially when you’re trying to discuss your requirements but you’re still unsure of what they are. Let’s take XY Company for an example, they are going to meet with a designer to discuss their new website. Before setting off without any sort of action plan or ideas, XY Company sit down and write a little summary about what their business does, sells or makes and whether they are catering to young, old, families, singles, etc. Remember there’s no point in creating a site for children that looks like a funeral home. After the summary has been written down (remember to have things in writing) it’s time to check out the competitions websites and jot down their name, url, what you like about the site and more importantly what you DON’T like about the site. I’d suggest doing this for two of your main competitors as well as 3 or 4 other sites (they don’t have to be your competition or even in your field) you like or don’t like. How does this help? Well it helps XY Company and the designer to understand what XY Company needs and wants.
To make this step a little easier and to help you and your designer get a better understanding of your requirements, we’ve put together this super easy one page document to get you started.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s always the simplest things we forget to do. If your designer sends you a quotation that you don’t understand, ask if they can go through it with you. In the past I’ve spent many a phone call with new customers explaining to them the way a website works and how it relates to their quote and once explained in a way they understand, everyone is happy.
Read The Fine Print
Are your reading glasses on? For the benefit of both client and designer, make sure you have everything in writing. Yes this sounds like an awkward pre-nup conversation but we’ve seen too many fights between clients and designers which could have easily been solved with some written communication. A solid signed contract between both parties will make for a happier project.
Client from Hell
Do you really want to be seen on Clients From Hell? Of course the answer should be a big NO! Nobody wants to be one of ‘‘those’’ clients but sometimes out of pure naivety you can turn yourself from good client to bad client. To avoid such things the first thing you need to remember is that just like you know your specific field, a designer knows theirs. So build a good client-designer relationship by trusting them to design your brand. A good relationship verus potential stalking comes down to trust and respect. Just because you’re paying a designer to create your website, doesn’t mean that you own them 24/7, remember that just like you, they have homes, families and other outside of work activities, so respect that and don’t call them on the weekend.
Hopefully this helps you make a good design choice for your next website, brochure or business card. Don’t forget the designer is there to help your business, so finding someone that will do more than just open paint or word makes good business sense. You’re looking for quality not quantity, so take a bit of time and choose carefully because a good designer is well worth their weight in gold and will become part of your business as it grows and evolves.
Original images from Unsplash reworked by us.