A friend, occasional project partner, and creative director of a design agency emailed me earlier this week, totally flabbergasted. Out of the blue, several acquaintances asked her for free design work – and one person actually flew off the handle when she said no.
I don’t know about you, but I would never ask my house cleaner, hair stylist, lawyer, or even the President of the United States to work for free. They provide valuable services that benefit me, and I appreciate the skills they have.
So why is it OK to ask for free design? It’s not. Here are 5 main reasons why good design isn’t cheap, whether we’re talking about a brochure, website, or logo.
1 – Design takes time
Graphic designers are creatives, and creativity takes time. Designers play around with layout, colors, fonts, and style elements, and they draw concepts by hand, which they then translate into digital form.
Secondly, graphic designers want to do a good job for their clients. They often create a few to several design options, some of which they discard, and some of which they present to the client.
2 – Good designers take a holistic approach
A good designer understands more than just graphic design – she understands branding, marketing communications, and marketing strategy. She also asks a lot of questions and does research to learn more about your industry, your business, your goals, and your style.
3 – Professional designers are highly skilled
Have you ever tried to use graphic design software with zero training? I have – and it didn’t go too well. Graphic designers are highly skilled, and not just with software. They keep up with design trends in fashion, advertising, furniture, art, and other creative fields to absorb best practices and new concepts and methods.
4 – Spec work is lose-lose
One of the biggest issues in the graphic design world is spec work disguised as a contest. You can read more about it at NoSpec.com, but designers end up losing rights to their work (lose) and you end up getting poorly executed design that does nothing to help you stand out from the competition (lose).
5 – Cheap design can be costly
If you decide to go the cheap route, you may get what you pay for. Instead of a visual identity that perfectly represents your brand, you risk ending up with an inexperienced designer who knows nothing about marketing and conducts zero market research, plagiarizes work, or provides design that you cannot access or modify.
Have you ended up getting burned by working with an inexperienced or unprofessional graphic designer?
Image courtesy of planetminecraft.com