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Trust me, you’re not a graphic designer

(Unless you are. In which case we retract our previous statement.)

What we are saying is that many people overlook the importance of hiring a professional graphic designer because they have the opinion that graphic design seems relatively simple, especially with so many “off-the-shelf” design templates available.

In reality, professional graphic designers are highly trained and educated artists who generally have a fine arts degree or other exceptional art background or skill, and they combine their gift of being an artist with an understanding of how to use the power of extremely advanced software to create visual brilliance.

As a marketing firm, we only partner with professional graphic designers and, we might add, designers that are highly exceptional and award-winning in their field.

As an analogy, we honor the graphic design industry the same way we would honor, say, the medical industry. We are not medical professionals but as individuals in our respective personal lives we are all guilty of self-diagnosing, diagnosing a friend, etc., because we “play a doctor” on the Internet. It is the same with graphic design: We all use off-the-shelf templates for various projects because the fact is, there is some pretty cool stuff out there.

But just because we can create a pretty decent-looking brochure using one of these templates, graphic designers we are not. Essentially, we are painting by numbers when using those programs, whereas a graphic designer has the capability to create the original art and template that we would use.

So why don’t more small businesses work with graphic designers? We believe it is twofold. First, not all business owners fully understand what a true professional graphic designer represents. Second, graphic design can be expensive. However, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. Sure, I can go rent a reasonably priced carpet cleaner down at the local grocery store, but my carpet won’t look as fabulous and stay as clean as if I retained a professional carpet cleaning company.We all need to make choices, and oftentimes budget dictates that corners be cut. However, when it comes to establishing, maintaining and preserving your brand, connecting with a professional graphic designer will be money well spent.

For example, a professional graphic designer will be able to make your ad aesthetically pleasing, your social media sites eye-catching and your logo indicative of a strong brand, all while providing for a cohesive and professional look.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if a prospective graphic designer is right for you:

— Do I love this graphic designer’s portfolio?

— Do I feel like this graphic designer will take the time to get to know my company, my brand and me?

— Is this graphic designer someone I would like to form a long-term relationship with?

— Does this graphic designer have time for my project(s) in his current production schedule, and can he meet my deadlines?

If the answers to these questions are yes, it’s probably a good fit!

So while hiring a professional graphic designer might require you to add a new line item in your budget, the investment is truly worth it.


  1. Thank you for touching on this. In today’s world of crowdsourcing and ubiquitous design software, designers have to remind the public of the value in our services. More importantly, good designers are also adept problem solvers and big thinkers, providing much more than just a snazzy publication or logo.

  2. Excellent article. As I always say, “Do you want me to come over there and draw your blood? I didn’t think so.”

  3. Great article, a couple of other things to consider and hopefully steer away from “Doing it yourself” and possibly making a big blunder:

    1) Poor design can actually turn people away from your message, no matter how great your cause, or how wonderful your product!

    2) Incorrectly set up design can actually end up costing you more to print (Did you budget for prepress to rebuild your microsoft word/publisher/free design software document in an application suitable for professional printing?)

    A bit of an investment can turn your great idea into something better!

  4. You are so right, Mary Ann. We could also add website designer, and so many other important marketing tasks in this discussion as well. I always tell my clients that the most important initial investment any business can make is in logo development and other branding collateral.

    I would also add that for many businesses the money needed for professional design may already be in their existing budget.Taking a deep dig into the budget can often result in finding a line item that hasn’t been used or is for a service that hasn’t been producing bottom line results. Re-allocating part or all of the under-used funds can be the easy fix until you can add a realistic marketing number to your budget.

  5. Great points! Thanks so much for the great discussion! We agree that professional graphic design is an investment worth making that will pay off tremendously!