Investing In Professional Design

Investing in professional design

Many people view the design of their logo, website, or print materials as just an additional expense that must be paid. When in reality, they should view the design of their brand as investment in their business.

Investment vs Expense

First, lets talk about what it means to invest. Investments are things you try to maximize, while expenses are things you try to keep down.

But investing in a professional designer means more than just a financial commitment. It requires trust.

Just like financial investments where advisors are trusted to take the information provided to them and use it to best serve their clients financial goals, the same can be said in the case of a professional designer. The client trusts them to provide a solution that focuses on creating value and serving the project goals.

It doesn’t matter if a client loves their logo if it doesn’t connect with their audience.

In the end, it is really a disservice to the client and those they hope to reach. But so often that is the reason many projects aren’t successful.

Too often projects fail because unprofessional designers don’t make the goals of the project the focus. Instead they focus on doing whatever the client wants and hope the final design results in something decent.

To go back to the financial advisor example, it doesn’t matter if you love a certain company and want to invest in it if their stocks continually have a poor return.

It would be unprofessional for a financial advisor to stay silent if he thought his client was making a mistake with their money. That’s certainly not why I hired a financial advisor.

In the same way, it is up to the designer to be professional and explain to the client why certain design decisions are made.

Remember, it’s the job of a professional to guide and direct their client to the solution that best serves their goals.

Professional vs Technician

Many designers unknowingly position themselves as taskmasters instead of professionals. They think just because they have the skill set for a project and someone is paying them for it, that makes them a professional. But that’s not the case.

A technician gets paid to do exactly what the client wants, while a professional is respected by the client for their ability to not just carry out a task, but to find a problem and create a solution.

I know taskmaster sounds a little harsh but it really is the truth. I’ve been there. I’ve worked on plenty of projects where the final product was not nearly as strong as it could have been because I was willing to make every little change a client had.

Do you see the problem? The client is the one dictating the design decisions instead of the person actually trained to do the work.

Now I’m not saying that clients shouldn’t have input in the design process. After all, they are the experts in their respected field and should be able to give valuable insight regarding their brand and audience.

But at the end of the day, each party needs to understand what their responsibility is for the project.

The clients is responsible for the content and goals, while the designer is responsible for just that, the design.

What sets a professional designer apart?

There are three main things that set a professional designer apart from their technician counterparts.

1. A professional is a leader (they knows how to solve problems)
2. A professional is a communicator (they asks questions and gather information)
3. A professional is a teacher (they explain the decisions made along the way)

Like a good mechanic, a professional designer knows how to pin point a clients problem and offer them the best solution.

When you provide a solution, you are acting as a professional. The focus is on your results and the value you create.

I’ll be the first one to tell you I know nothing about cars. I recently had a car that was making an awful noise every time I drove it. (We’ve all been there, right?) Thinking it was probably just the muffler I took it in to my mechanic to have him look it over.

He asked me a few questions about what had been going on and told me he’d get back with me with a solution in the next few days. It turns out there was more extensive work that needed to be done to the car than I ever would have guessed.

He then ran through step by step what the issues were on the car and showed me how he fixed them.

He took the time in the beginning to hear where I was having an issue and then used that information along with his knowledge and skills to come up with an appropriate solution.

Not only did he solve my problem, he also was willing to take the time to communicate and teach me what was going on with the car and explain why he did what he did.

Like my mechanic, I always strive to make sure those I work with understand the complete process of what goes into my designs. Taking the time to communicate throughout the process helps ensure that project goes as smoothly as possible.

Key take-aways

A professional designer is worth investing in because they:

  • Ask good questions and understand how to solve problems.
  • Focus on providing answers that help people improve their businesses.
  • Explain the decisions made along the way and show how they work to further the client’s goals.

Let me know what you thought about this topic and if there are any other topics you’d like covered in the future by using my Contact form. You can also always find me on Twitter or Instagram. I want to get your questions answered and help you build a successful brand!

Design, BusinessMatt Simon