The Value & Longevity of Professional Design
And why investing in quality graphic design will save you money and time in the long run
As a small business owner myself supporting both my business and my personal life, I totally understand bargain hunting. I do it all the time; most of my house is furnished by Craigslist and thrift stores, I have a stack of grocery coupons on my fridge, and I only buy clothes when my favorite retailer is offering an extra 75% off sale items online.
When it comes to my business though, investments are important. I will always buy a new computer over a used one, I choose my CPA over TurboTax every time, and I don’t think twice about ordering expensive printer ink or business cards if it means what I’m handing my clients looks more professional. Doing my taxes wrong is different from having to replace my kitchen table. There’s no skimping out when my money is going towards the business that is my passion and full time commitment.
When investing in your business, the same principle should be applied to design services. Without going too far down the rabbit hole here, your logo and branding is the face of your business. Many people will see your website or logo before meeting you, and first impressions are everything. The visuals of your brand can influence if customers trust you and what they will expect from working with you. I know design can look like a daunting financial commitment, but honestly, investing in a quality logo and website can actually save you money in the long run.
1. Professional designs prevent future issues
Most people have heard of online design sites like Fiverr and Upwork. You can browse through loads of decent-looking designers here and find someone to design a logo for you for $50! What a steal! I totally agree that this is awfully tempting if you’re just getting started and budgeting your expenses.
Real talk: I heard a story recently about a Reputable Brand that had been around for years that found their logo being used by a New Company in a different state. The name had been changed but the icon and font were the same. Reputable Brand contacted New Company, letting them know they had a trademark on their brand and the company needed to stop using that logo immediately. New Company responded that they’d paid someone online $50 to design it, and had trusted what they were getting! Now New Company needed to immediately stop using the logo they’d already presented to their customers, retract all the marketing material they’d put out with that logo, and pay for a rebrand.
Many people you find these online design sites use templates for logos, reusing the same graphic over and over again for multiple projects. This means that your logo could also be used by a handful of other businesses, you may not fully own the rights to it, and it doesn’t express anything meaningful about your company. A quality logo costs more than $50 because more thought and care are put in to crafting something that is unique to your business.
2. It adds a level of professionalism & builds trust
As much as we shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover,” everyone does it when looking to buy products or services. Since your logo and website are often the first things your prospective customers see—many times their first interaction with your business—people will make quick judgments based on that first impression. A strong and effective logo or website looks professional, builds trust, and communicates that your business takes itself seriously.
Once your logo is designed, you also need the tools to use it effectively. A professional designer will help you envision the “bigger picture” of your branding. I always include business card designs and social media graphics in my branding package. This means that when your customers receive your business card, visit your website, and view your Facebook page, they will see the same brand elements each time. This builds recognition; now customers will remember your logo and might start to associate your business with certain colors or icons, and this consistency allows your brand to be memorable and stable.
3. It saves you time & helps you stand out from the crowd
As a Squarespace designer, one of the most common questions I get is why someone should hire me to build a website when anyone can create a Squarespace account and start a site with a Squarespace template. While it’s true that Squarespace is a DIY platform, as with any new tool there’s a learning curve. Designers that are familiar with Squarespace know exactly which template will be most appropriate for your needs, and can likely build your site in half the time a new Squarespace user would be able to.
We can also push designs beyond just a template or idea to something that no longer looks like a template and is more unique & personal to your business. With websites, designers with a background in branding can help you make informed decisions about the layout, content, and how to use your website as an important visual tool.
Fun fact: I’m also a member of Squarespace Circle, an exclusive group for experienced Squarespace designers. Because of this, I can extend perks to my clients like discounts and extended trial periods.
All of this means that professional designers can help you create pieces that are more specific to your company’s needs, targeted to your audience, and more custom and eye-catching.
4. Lower prices don’t always get you what you need for the long run
For example, an instance I’ve actually been faced with a couple times: Business A had a nice logo for which they paid a very low price, but they only had 1 .jpg file of this logo and no brand guide. When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to think, “I just need something quick & simple to get started with.” However, if your business grows (the hope), one simple logo file will run you into a lot of problems later on. With 1 .jpg, Business A couldn’t enlarge their logo on different pieces, so it was constantly blurry when they needed to print it out. They didn’t have a brand guide, so they were always guessing on what their brand’s colors were and none of their pieces matched. Their logo was very vertical, so it looked small and squished when they needed to place it on a horizontal piece like a web banner.
After paying for this “starter” logo, Business A had to pay more later to have another designer essentially “fix” the issues. The logo had to be redrawn in a vector format (a scalable, editable format), reformatted for horizontal applications, and saved out in different file formats that Business A could use across different print and web media, and a brand guide needed to be made so Business A could use the same colors and fonts on all their pieces. This is an unfortunate hassle that could have been prevented and helped Business A avoid many pieces with inconsistent colors and blurry logos.
5. Good design helps your business grow
Strong branding helps you create a personal connection with the customers you want and need to grow your business. Every business has (or should have) in mind who their ideal customer is. A good designer will ask you this at the beginning of a project, and will put a lot of research into making sure your values & goals are expressed through the design and that the design is speaking directly to your prospective customers. Just because a logo looks nice doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for your company. Investing in the process with a designer means that your brand will appeal to the right audience. Appropriate visual elements in your logo, website, or other design pieces can help attract the people you want to work with or sell to, and therefore hopefully help your business grow quicker and in the direction you want to move.
To sum it up:
I’d pose the question, “Are you passionate about what you’re doing, excited about the future of your company, and eager to launch and grow your brand?” If the answer is yes, next ask if you want to work with someone who will give your business as much care and attention as you do. You can definitely find someone who’s offering a cheap, quick, easy solution, but that is simply what it will be. Going the extra step and working closely with a designer that takes the time to talk with you, really get to know your business, and make informed decisions in the design based on your values, is ensuring that the passion and care you put in is duly expressed, and that your logo is unique and special to you.