Whether you realize it or not, graphic design is everywhere. The menu boards of the fast-food restaurant you’re stopped at on your way to work, the green-logoed coffee cup you’re holding, even the look of the software interface you’re using to read this!
Even if you’ve never had any artistic training, you are an excellent judge of good design. You make thousands of choices every day based on the way things look or appeal to you. So why would you ever settle for less than great design when it comes to the branding of your company?
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who hold the perception that if you can operate design software, you can create a print layout, a sign, or a web site. While technically this is true, the design will certainly suffer. Just being able to use software does not make one an artist.
And while certainly people who hold this perception and act on it, may be themselves good judges of design in the world, there seems to be a blind spot when it comes to using software and putting on the hat of “graphic designer.” For some reason they cannot look at the brochure they just created in MS Word and realize that it will not help their brand message, but in fact, hurt it.
Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: design is inevitable. The alternative to good design is bad design, not no design at all.Douglas Martin
For the same reason you can look at a flyer on your front door and decide whether a lawn company is legitimate or not, everyone else can look at your self-created design and come to the same conclusion.
Good design not only completes your brand messaging, but it also legitimizes your business. It says that you’re doing well, you’re sturdy and dependable, and that you value your business and its customers. Good design gives people the perception that you are sticking around, that you’ll still be here next week or next year and they can feel good about spending their hard-earned dollars with you.
The people who think you can just use software and create your own layouts are doing themselves a disservice when it comes to graphic design. The old adage is true: You get what you pay for. A true graphic designer is an artist that can skillfully weave your brand message into a visual form that paints your company in a favorable light with your customers. We are all judges of good and bad design, and therefore we judge the quality of the companies we do business with based on their brand image.
It takes an artist to create successful brand imaging and yes, it does cost money for a good artist. I see it as an investment, banking that it will attract customer dollars versus pushing away customers with bad design. So the question is, is it worth it? It’s up to you: how do you want your brand to be perceived?