All right, look, nobody loves a bargain as much as I do. But your business, and especially your brand, is no place to skimp out. Today, I will explain why it is essential to hire a brand designer, and a really effing good one at that.
Any Branding Is Better Than No Branding, But…
To be clear, I believe in starting where you’re at. We don’t all have a lot of money to get our businesses off the ground. This shit is hard. And most people don’t have many resources. Many of my clients are bootstrapping it; they’re making it work, doing anything they can to get their business going. So believe me, I get it. And, If that’s where you’re at. Cool. Do what you got to do.
I’m not going to bullshit you and say that getting a super cheap logo is the same as a high-quality polished brand identity from a badass brand designer.
And here’s why:
6 Reasons to Invest in Brand Design
1. You Get What You Pay For
I’m not going to say that there aren’t talented designers on sites like Fiverr or selling super cheap logos in a Facebook group. And I’m not going to shit on them, either. But…
Quality design and branding cost money.
It’s as simple as that. People who can afford to charge more for their work because they know it’s that good generally do.
When I meet someone who has gone the cheap route on their brand, it shows. It shows in the design itself, in the details, and in the end product that they’re given. If you hire a high-quality brand designer, you’re going to get your money’s worth, most of the time.
2. You Need Business Impact, Not Just Something Pretty
A lot of people think designers are here to just make it look good. But really good designers are also strategists. Some, like me, have actually done both jobs (brand strategy and brand design) throughout their whole career.
But the point is that whatever you’re doing should be strategic. It should focus on the goals that you’re trying to achieve in your business. Not just on making it look good.
The Process Should Be Strategic
For a strategic brand design process, you’re doing a lot of research upfront. The designer is talking to you about your audience, goals, and the personality of your brand. They’re digging in deep to make sure that they’re capturing all of that in what they create for you and to ensure that it speaks to your audience and helps you reach your goals. They’re going to position you to stand out and actually connect with your audience.
That is really different from someone who just creates something for your business without a consultative or research-based approach. And as you can imagine, the results are really different. If you just want something pretty, cool, but it’s not going to get you as far as work that actually supports and drives you forward towards your goals.
3. You Want Something Totally Custom
Many super-cheap designers create templated logos that they have ready to go whenever a client that fits that industry pops up. That means you’re getting something generic. It’s not designed for you, for your audience, for your brand, or your personality. It’s taking something off the shelf and tweaking it a little bit to make it fit.
That serves a purpose, especially when you’re getting started, but it’s just not going to be as distinctive, unique, or compelling; it’s not going to be any of those things that you want it to be over the longterm.
Eventually, you are going to want something that’s super custom to you because you are unique, and your brand should be unique, too.
4. The Branding Process Is A Self-Discovery Process
When you are going through this strategic process of digging into who you are and what you stand for in your values and personality and what you want to represent… It’s emotional. It’s powerful!
The process helps you see yourself in a new light and take ownership of all of the great things about you that are so fucking cool, and you come out of it transformed. It is a self-discovery process!
If you don’t have that process while building your brand and working collaboratively with a designer, then you’re missing out on a tremendous benefit. Because, sure, they could churn out some files for you, but you’re not going to use them with the same confidence and conviction that they truly capture who you are because you haven’t gone through that experience.
Check out 3 Reasons Branding Is Important for Your Mental Health for more on that.
5. You Just Get MORE
When you work with a super-experienced, expert brand designer, you usually just get more shit.
That means more assets, more deliverables, more files, all of the stuff you need because they know everything you’ll need, and they’re willing to give it to you because you’re paying for it.
Here’s an example:
Sometimes I’ll have people come to do some design with a logo that they already have. Let’s say it has a white background, and they want to put that logo on a photo on top of another photo. To do this, they need a transparent background or a png file… which they don’t have. Their designer only gave them the one image.
Typically, super low-cost designers aren’t going to give you all the versions of your logo that you might ever need. And it’s even less likely that they’d give you the actual design files so you could edit your logo for those needs.
ALL THE FILES YOU’LL EVER NEED
When you work with an experienced designer, they make you an entire logo system. Not just all of the files, not just the design files, but different versions of your logo to accommodate different sizes, different spacing – every single use case you could possibly need, they’re going to prepare it for you.
I’ve had clients where, when we prepare the final logo files, it’s like a hundred files. That’s a lot different than having one image that you can use.
EVERY DETAIL SPELLED OUT
But it’s not just that. It’s the specifics. An experienced designer will think about every detail of how you build your brand and how you execute it as they’re designing.
They’re going to give you brand guidelines that have these specific details of your branding so that you don’t even have to think, and you don’t have to instruct other people like your team, other vendors that you work with, your VA, anyone that’s helping you either. They have it all spelled out right there in front of you.
And that empowers you to be consistent, have everyone on the same page, have everything you put out in the world to be on point and on brand, which is huge because that goes a long way to building equity and being recognizable for that look.
When you work with a really good designer, they’re going to set you up for success by giving you everything you need, not just the one little thing you thought to ask for.
Check out 6 Brand Identity Elements that Make Your Brand Shine for more on what a brand identity should include.
6. Low Budget Work Undermines the Creative Industry
Alright, admittedly, I’m biased on this one. but hear me out:
Hiring really cheap designers ( like a $5 logo or even a $500 logo) undermines the entire creative industry.
We, as people and a culture, love to consume creativity. We thrive on it. It’s an essential part of our lives. And as much as we love it, we hate rewarding creatives. We hate paying for creativity. We hate compensating them for their skill, expertise, talent – everything it takes for them to produce fantastic work.
As a designer, you deserve to be compensated fairly for your skillset. But when people hire the bottom of the barrel and treat it as if it’s the same (which it is not), it makes it hard for super-talented, experienced, amazing designers to make a living.
So, from an ethical, moral and value-driven standpoint, I don’t ever pay less than what I consider to be a living wage to any of the people on my team. I have never used Fiverr or any of those sites. That’s an important value to me. And I know that’s not everyone’s value, but I want to share it because I may open your eyes to a new perspective.
This is especially important if you’re hiring people of color or historically oppressed groups who don’t have the same economic power and already make a lower wage on average. You have the opportunity to help break that cycle by paying them what they’re worth.
Alright, off my soapbox. Hopefully, I’ve convinced you why it is so important (if you’re able) to hire someone who’s really fucking good at design!
It makes a huge difference, not just in the look and feel of your brand, but in your confidence in using your new branding and how prepared you are to go out and bring this brand to life.