A graphic design project can be exciting and daunting at the same time. You love the idea of a new, fresh look, but you’re not entirely sure if it will fit with your company’s budget.
Here’s the secret: Not all graphic design work needs to cost you an arm and a leg.
There are certain pieces you’re very capable of doing on your own and others where you’re better off investing a bit of dough. Here’s our short list of where to spend the big bucks and where you can save your pennies when it comes to graphic design:
Graphic design splurge:
Logo and brand identity
An organization’s logo embodies their brand and identity – often fostering immediate customer recognition. Think Nike. However, designing a logo is no easy feat and takes time. It requires a clear understanding of the brand, brand voice and brand messaging. And whether you decide to use an internal marketing team or outsource to a design agency, you’ll want to invest the right amount of energy and resources to develop a logo and full brand identity package that you can be proud of and that will grow with you as your company grows.
A good graphic designer will be able to walk you through the process of how you envision your logo being used, what marketing collateral is needed now and in the future, and how your brand messaging can be reflected visually through typeface and color. Your logo will be with you for a long time. Investing in quality design upfront will save you time and money in the future.
Your website is often the first impression customers or members experience. If your website isn’t easy to navigate or simple to understand, users will move on. Website design doesn’t necessarily have to be extraordinarily expensive, but it should be well thought-out. Use Google Analytics to understand how people are using your current website and make changes accordingly. Likewise, if you don’t have a website programmer on staff, work with your branding agency. Many agencies will have a website designer on staff or be able to recommend someone to fit your budget and needs.
Despite the growth of social media and electronic methods of communication, printed design still remains extremely important. The choice of paper influences every print design project. Your customers equate the quality of marketing with the quality of your products and services, including the paper you’re using. No matter what you’re printing or how great your design is, if you have a bad print job, your investment will be wasted.
High-quality pictures are important to all aspects of design. If you’re taking pictures of an event or for a campaign, spending a little extra on a high-quality camera or a professional photographer is a wise investment. In some cases, downloading stock photography works well. But, customers and members want to see the “real” organization, so be careful to use a healthy mix of real pictures and stock photography.
Graphic design savings:
Keeping your employees informed of company news is extremely important but doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Electronic communication (such as e-news, intranet or internal wikis) is a great option. Relatively inexpensive and very easy-to-use, e-newsletters are a way to keep folks in the loop. There are quite a few email marketing services out there such as Constant Contact, Vertical Response and Emma.
Typography can really make a project pop. If you’re tired of Times New Roman and Comic Sans, have no fear! New fonts are just around the corner and many are free! Check out fonts.com where hundreds of fonts are available for free download. Text graphics are a great alternative to what can sometimes be expensive graphics. “Creating an eye-catching text ad can have its benefits,” says graphic designer Kim Schieber. “Often more cost-effective than graphics, a text-based ad can be very effective. Think of the Got Milk? campaign.”
Here at Allée, we can count on one hand the number of hard-copy letters we send out each week. Why? We send the majority of invoices and proposals electronically. If you’re short on funds, have your designer or branding agency create an electronic letterhead template for you rather than something you need to have printed and on-hand. Likewise, if you want to save on envelopes, consider using labels designed for your brand. Labels fit on any size envelope and are more versatile than ordering a variety of different envelopes and packaging.
Consistency and simplicity is key
Whether you opt for high-budget graphic design services or DIY branding, keep the same, consistent message and visual representation in mind. In other words, don’t go flashy with your letterhead if your envelopes look like they were made from last week’s recycled newspaper. And, as Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” A simple, clear look is better than anything crowded and over the top.
So, whether you’re spending big bucks on graphic design or saving your pennies, keep your look simple, clear and consistent.