When You Don’t Know: Ask An Expert

06 Mar When You Don’t Know: Ask An Expert

I’ve noticed over the years that the most successful people I’ve met tend to admit when they don’t know something. Admitting their limitations gives them the freedom to hire or ask someone with expertise. So if you want to be successful, admit it… when it comes to design, there are probably some things you never thought of, don’t know, don’t understand, or can’t do.

If you don’t have the budget for a designer to do all your branding and marketing pieces, budget for a talented and experienced designer to consult instead. Consulting takes less effort and time than designing and an experienced designer can go over the aspects of your design and branding you might want to focus on first and make recommendations that are within your capabilities or cost. I’ve worked with business of various sizes, from home-based one-person startups to international corporations that employ thousands of people all over the world, from hobby garage businesses to firms that deal with billions of dollars in contracts. No matter the type of business, the basics of design and branding don’t really change much and there is always room for improvement.

For instance, printing is often a huge cost for any company and there are so many ways to consolidate and save. I often make recommendations to a company as to whether a file should go to a digital printer, traditional offset printer, should be printed in-house, or possibly going purely digital on certain pieces or a combination of digital and print. I base my recommendations on how many pieces they need printed, how often the information might change, and numerous other factors. Often times this will save a great deal of money and needless waste of paper in the long run. I’ve also set up several companies with online ordering for their print needs to streamline their request and approval process. There are so many different ways to save on printing, from stock, cut, bleeds, colors, etc..

And don’t get me started on forms… I cringe every time I see those slightly crooked over-copied antiquated forms that never give you enough room to fill out your address or email or force you to write so small that its hardly legible. You know what forms I mean. I could go on and on about how badly designed most forms are. If forms are commonly used in your business, especially if they are client facing, you may want a designer to suggest changes or even to show you how to create and update simple word forms.

If you are starting a new business, then you most definitely want to hire a design consultant to offer you advice on your branding and overall design strategy or to give you a second opinion on a logo created for your new business. Many times I can offer very simple changes, such as color, or a font change. There have been certain businesses where I suggested they just adjust the color choices based on their target audience and what image they wanted to portray. For instance, if they were a progressive hi-tech cutting edge firm, then they may want to update that stale dark blue logo by either creating a color combination with the dark blue that has a nice contemporary contrast or change it out completely to a dynamic creative color choice.  Other times, I have to suggest a redesign because a logo does not align with the business direction or conflicts with their mission statement and goal. For example, if your company name is something like ‘Circle Biz,’ I doubt you want a square logo. Or lets say your business deals with saving the environment, you don’t want a logo that has a plastic texture, you want a more organic design to appeal to your audience and industry. There are exceptions to every rule, but you want to think long and hard before you break them.

To sum it up… as a designer or client, its always good to get a second opinion or ask for recommendations from an expert. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find out.