Five Signs it’s the Right Time to Hire a Designer
just over 7 minutes to read
I know how many things there are to keep track of when you’re starting or running a business.
It’s easy for the items that aren’t in your wheelhouse, or elements you haven’t worked with before, to take a backseat to things like managing employees, overseeing day-to-day operations or simply getting orders out the door. Design often falls into this category.
You already know that good design is important for business growth, but it’s important to know when to invest in this vital service.
It’s not helpful to jump the gun and spend tons of money before your business concept is solid, but there are perils to waiting until the last minute.
If you have a hard and fast launch date, starting too late can lead to rushed design work – a generic logo, a website that doesn’t help your customers take action easily – that doesn’t have a chance to really give your business wings the way it should.
When are the worst times to hire a designer?
- When you’re desperate. See above. If you need great design on a hard deadline, without enough time for stitching all the elements together, emotional desperation may lead you to cut corners and make poor decisions.
- Before you have an elevator pitch. If you can’t rattle off a solid, 10-second description of your business, give yourself a little more time to settle into an identity before spending money on good design.
- When you’re still working on the perfect business name. For obvious reasons, if your business name might be changing, it’s too soon to bring a designer on board.
I want to set you up for crazy, amazing design success and make sure you get the most bang for your design buck.
Here are five signs it’s a good time to invest in high-quality design.
- You have a solid brand voice and you know why your business is working.
Before you hire a designer, you want to really know who you are (as a business) and why you are doing what you’re doing.
It’s time for design when you can sell yourself quickly and efficiently to promising customers and networking contacts, and you’ve had some success in seeing your business fill a role and grow into itself.
As you gain your footing, your messaging will change. This important pivot in how you sell your business and how you explain your brand makes it a much better time to invest in good design that will show off your brand in a coordinated way. This usually happens when you’ve been in business for a year or two.
When that message is tight, good design will streamline all your visuals across platforms that your customers interact with (website, logo, colors, business cards, signage and more) so they sing in harmony.
When your business is in the development phase, it’s perfectly OK to whip up a quick website (using WordPress.com or Squarespace) that gets your customers the basic information needed to hire you or purchase your product.
Start with a business name and a basic font you like to get off the ground. Letting your brand grow into its personality first will ensure your future design budget will be well-spent.
- You’re expanding into a new sector.
When you intentionally change or expand your services and products, your brand image necessarily needs to change with it.
As you target different clients, this can be an important time to hire a designer for a logo redesign, website update (or overhaul) and changes to your overall visuals.
- When your visuals feel stale.
Have you stopped feeling really excited about your site and proud of it?
Do you find yourself working around your website or fielding calls from customers asking for simple information after they’ve visited your site? It’s time to invest in an overhaul, or at a minimum commit to a well-thought-out reformatting.
Your website needs to be your very best 24-hour salesperson and is often the first point of contact for prospective customers. It should give your visitors a condensed, well-organized brand introduction and path to conversion.
Bringing on a solid designer to make these changes will reap dividends for years to come.
- Brand confusion.
Do customers have trouble remembering your business name or website?
Despite having a solid business, does your brand just feel like it’s got a few too many things going on?
Great design can help quiet down the noise, focus your brand, and make sure your prospective customers know just how to find you.
As an example of brand confusion, in Rhode Island we have the famous “big blue bug” on Interstate 95. It’s 30-odd feet tall and well-known throughout these parts. Everyone talks about the ‘Big Blue Bug company’ – but their name is actually New England Pest Control. This was a lost opportunity at the outset, as they’ve missed out on the natural branding and cache they developed through this striking marketing piece.
In a smart move, however, they are now doing business as Big Blue Bug Solutions, letting the tail of their mascot wag their entire brand and capitalizing on the exposure they invested in.
- When you create a sub-brand.
As companies expand, some grow into important new markets while striving to retain the original brand.
This can create an opportunity for a sub-brand with an entirely different brand flavor and personality, and introduces tricky questions of how to incorporate both brands into signage, websites, and even store displays.
One example is a local Rhode Island furniture chain that began offering a high-end line of furniture as a separate brand, in order to cater to a different market segment and elevate it from the “everyday” feel of the original brand.
Another very large example of sub-brands is Google, whose products such as Gmail, Calendar, Google Drive, and Google Photos (and each successive product they develop) are each their own brand that must “play nicely” with the overall Google brand.
In either situation, these sub-brands form a critical opportunity for engaging an expert designer to help grow a new brand that “fits” with the old – while keeping things seamless among websites, signage, colors, and other visuals.
If one or more of these situations describe where your business is heading, engage a designer and strike while the iron is hot.
- Invest in design from a position of strength (and cash flow) when business is going well, to avoid rushing or cutting corners when your back is to the wall already.
- Design can be a joyful partnership and process when you give it the proper attention and hire someone who truly wants to see you succeed.
It's hard to market a brand that's unfocused and cluttered.
I can help! Your business should tell a powerful visual story with strong optics and a persuasive storyline. Can I send you some quick basics (and a quiz!) to help you decide if I'm the designer for you?