As a creative, it seems like the Market (I’m looking at you Facebook groups and Marketplace) is “trying” to determine what prices should be asked when it comes to marketing and design. And it could be because of all the “12-week design courses” around or piracy on design software or it could even be because you are trying to impress Cindy from HR next Valentine’s day. Either way there is no shortage of designers. GOOD DESIGNERS however…. oh boy…unfortunately they have become like a needle in a haystack. But panic not, here are some sure-fire steps to make sure you don’t throw away your money by investing it on the Wrong Graphic Designer!
I’ll say it again, Portfolio! A designer who knows his story is not afraid to share what he can do. Be it today or 10 years ago. You should be able to sort of see his progression. As a designer, you tend to only post your “best” so if a client sees your work thinks of it as “ok” then…. That’s a flag. If there is no visible Portfolio, with real clients…then tread carefully. But wait, on Facebook they have Portfolio pieces – Yes, ok but, if you offer Website Design and have no examples of this on your website and only on FB, I must ask: Can you not code? Did you do your own website? And to be clear, a template with a slap-dash copy and paste colour replace is not a website. It’s a first-year design project.
This usually comes in the form of a slider, or testimonials on the website. Few things you have to look out for: If the website has a black background and the logo introduced does not have transparency around it, but in its solid jpeg form with white still around it (see examples)…I mean are you not a designer? Show pride in someone else’s brand. Then look at the logos themselves.
Do you know any of these brands? Look, every business is important to it’s owner, but in association we often see value. And if there’s a stigma that if someone worked on a high-end brand you can’t afford them – You are wrong, you can. For many people, having their own business is a dream, YEARS in the making, and hear me out: apart from making sure your service offered is top class, it can fail based on not enough marketing and/or bad looking design.
You know: IT services and Design, or Wedding Photography and Design. Would you trust a Guy who’s a Doctor and a Plumber on his business card? Yes, I am being extreme, but let’s take the: “IT and Design” example. I consider myself pretty Tech-Savvy, but as soon as things start going VROOOOOOOOOOO. I immediately close my browsers in fear that all the pop-ups I closed are seeking retribution. Chances are: If they are good with the one…they will not likely be in the other. I am a creative, and can take photos, but until such time that I have harnessed it as a skill and it can compete with some of the best…I’ll stick to my Instagram montages.
Either the logo is cut off in the profile image or it is cut off in the header. I mean? If you treat your own brand this way, your own “baby” …then how are you going to treat my brand? And let’s be honest – Times are tough, but a logo for R200 that gets you no business only for you to try another designer: This time at R350 and, and… Stop. Rather SAVE or do your research and find someone who respects their brand and, in turn, will respect yours.
A thousand fonts and a million colours. It’s almost like a mad scientist working on world domination. Or a 3-year-old with crayons. Yes, I said it. You can get better as a designer, but if your design is at a level where it looks like I can buy it at a flea market or it will help me keep spirits out of my home (oh you know what flyers I am talking about), then rather hone your skills first. You are damaging your own business and the “None-the wiser” entrepreneur’s business as well. And why is there always a weird robot mascot? It’s like his parents forgot him at the Merry-go-Round so for now he’s just going to chill here…on this weirdly designed page…there, there weird robot mascot – we’ll find your parents! Did you say your dad is a toaster?
Yip! From social media to the Coming Soon Website Page! “Something Exciting is coming soon”. I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say it’s probably your same logo and Picasso artboard…just more of it? Please don’t! Again, if Facebook says we offer graphic and web design, but they have a coming soon page… I can assure you; your money will be wasted. Cause the bigger picture is that what you think looks great needs to look good to your clients in turn – so make sure you’ve properly planned what you are after and that your designer gets it.
Brutally honest? Ok then: A Website from R2000, a logo for R500. If this is your price range, you will get what you pay for… And end up paying more in the long run. Look, you should and can negotiate with your designer, but if someone does this for a living don’t try take too much of their bread – instead work out a package deal that includes all the elements you require. Determine how many changes will be allowed in this price and what are all the elements. You want to “Look Good”, they want to show off they made you look good. Really that simple.
Groups like “I know a Guy” and “Advertising Pretoria” or “Western Cape Advertisements”, if it’s open to the public that’s your first hint. Closed groups I also find to be more and more questionable. Talking about the “I know a guy” group. “The Resource”…I’m still hopefully optimistic…But it only takes one fly in your soup before you struggle to eat through the rest. And Gumtree? Look my insights should already have you thinking, but yes on gumtree they ARE everywhere and with facebook marketplace around, it’s like it just…moved!
I see a lot of designers linking back to Instagram and then their images go missing. Or the links are broken. If anything is broken or not linked, it is a problem…I myself experienced that wrath before. Cause we are human, we make mistakes. But if you sell that you make people look good…you see where I’m going with this? Then the over usage of Stock Pics, you know those Typical; “CRAZY DEAL” images with a facial expression that resembles the look you would give your 80-year old Grandpa if he said he was going Skydiving now while wearing a multi coloured balaclava that Grandma made him for Christmas. People know better, especially with this overloading of advertisement everywhere.
I always tell fellow designers: “Not everyone is your client”. Some clients do only have R500 for a basic this or that. And that’s fine – design is not tangible so not everyone will see the value in it. If you do however start a business with the aim of growing it someday, do it right! Let’s say you have a dream of going on a perfect vacation. When you finally lay on the beach….do you drink a “blikke” no name brand Cola? No, you drink a cocktail with a name you can’t pronounce properly or that sounds inappropriate in front of children! So save, plan, and do it properly!
Oh and… if you are reading this…maybe you are looking for a designer? Just to let you know we offer Design Packages or an hourly rate. We are not R200 an hour, but we are also not R800 an hour. If you are struggling to find that medium and get your name out there, we are the middle ground. What are you waiting for?!