Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Can't I design it myself?"

(Part 2 in a four-part series)

Continuing with this series, I'll explore the most often-asked questions from almost every client posed to graphic designers. Questions are meant to trigger constructive thoughts, engaging the brain in problem-solvng activities until the solution or solutions are reached. I'll present some further introspection on the riddle "Can't I design it myself?" by analyzing the four points most often asked by clients when this question is posed: 1) easy to do; 2) saving time; 3) saving money; and 4) I'm the business owner.

Today I'll look at #2, saving time.

Business owners and solepreneurs have to be as good at multi-tasking as their corporate counterparts. If you're not playing the role of business owner, marketing executive, networker, salesman, accountant, bill collector, and financier, count yourself lucky! Until they can afford to hire some extra help, most business owners wear many hats and work long hours to make their businesses a success. Because of this diversity, a business owner may find it very difficult to create, let alone maintain, their marketing material. Part of my consultation with a client is advocating the benefits of using an outside designer to help with their projects.

One objection I hear occasionally is, "Can't I design it myself? I can save time by doing it myself, right?" Not always. If you own your own business or are freelancing within your industry, compare your hats to the ones described above. How many are you currently wearing? Now think about the amount of time spent wearing each hat. How many hours each week do you spend wearing each hat? Do you have enough time to spend creating and maintaining your own marketing material?

Let's look at a business card. Seems pretty simple - just a small space, right? Yet that small space is oh, so deceiving! I have seen many examples of text jammed into that space in an effort to tell the viewer the story about a particular business, or the wrong font used in reverse, or dark colored text on a dark colored background. It's perfectly okay to be proud of your creation, your "receptionist", if you will, who can help open a dialogue between your business and a potential customer. But how effective is this message?

Saving time won't be a benefit if your message gets lost from a flyer thrown together or a business card too full of information. Saving time is one of the benefits a professional brings to the table. A professional considers all parts of your message, the colors you do and don't want to use, the style you're looking for, and puts it together to make marketing your business easier and effective. It may take a professional about an hour - ok, maybe two hours - to create your business card or flyer, but in that time, how many clients can you schedule appointments with?

The true benefit of saving a business owner time, is by giving that business owner back that time for his business.

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