Design: A Luxury We Can Live Without?

Running a business requires making tough choices about where to allocate your funds. With fixed expenses like payroll, advertising, and operating costs, hiring a professional graphic designer might at first glance seem to be a safe place to trim the budget, especially with the easy availability of various graphic design programs and software packages.

You may even have someone in-house who is willing to handle your graphic design needs. This person may have some familiarity with the principles of design, design software, and the resources needed to bring a design to life, but most likely, he or she is not a full-time professional graphic designer. This will impact you in several ways:

  1. Time: Handling design in-house first requires dedicating time to researching and acquiring the software needed to produce your design, and possibly to in-servicing your stand-in designer on how to use the software. And, because this person has the skill set and experience for their own profession rather than graphic design, what may take a professional graphic designer a very short amount of time may take your employee much longer.

 

If your project involves photographs, you’ll have to consider as well whether that same employee will be able to take them, and if you have to purchase any camera equipment.

Add to all of that the time needed to research what to do once you have the design created: What kind of material will it be printed on or made from? Who will print or manufacture it?

During all of this, what your employee is not able to focus on is the purpose for which he or she was originally hired. That’s a lot of time. And time, as we know, is…

  1. Money: On the surface, it might seem like taking care of a design project in-house is a way to save money, but once you factor in the software and equipment you may have to purchase to do that, the training your employee may have to take to use the software and equipment, the time diverted from that person’s primary role in your business, and the extra time that person will take to produce your project, it may well have been more economical to call in a professional graphic designer to handle the project quickly and efficiently.

 

There’s another factor to consider, though, that could impact your bottom line in a different way, and that is…

  1. Quality: Having work done professionally gives you professional results, and when it comes to design projects, the quality of the results will impact the efficacy of the marketing strategy they are a part of. The cohesiveness of your branding, the thematic and visual appeal of your logo, the quality of your signage and collateral marketing materials—all of these things send a message to the people who view them—a message that will help determine whether those viewers become paying clients.

 

There’s also something to be said for the objectivity that someone who isn’t emotionally tied to your business or service can bring to your project. An outsourced graphic design professional will look at your vision with a fresh set of eyes, offering a broader thought process and incorporating expanded marketing experience to communicate your message in the most effective way.

What do you think? Is professional graphic design a luxury or worthwhile investment? We’d love to hear your thoughts and stories!

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