5 Reasons Why a Graphic Designer Will Bring You More Business​

1. A designer will improve your brand. Your brand is everything, so take care of it. Your logo is what represents you, and is your prospect’s first impression of you. People automatically associate the quality of the logo & brand with the quality of your products and/or services. Hiring a professional designer to create a quality brand will improve the perception that people have of your business. 2. You need to advertise. In order to get your name out into the world, you’ll need to advertise, and you’ll need a designer to create the ad for you. There are many ways to advertise your message, and while most designers are familiar with multiple advertising avenues, not all of them are. So be sure to hire a designer that fits your needs. And if you are really lucky, you’ll find a graphic designer that can also help you strategize your marketing in your advertising.Advertising can even be as simple as having a brochure printed, or just having business cards made to hand out personally. The more complex forms of advertising may be billboards, magazine ads, and even interactive web ads, but understanding how important advertising is, is the first step toward growing your business. 3. A good white paper will impress. Have you ever handed your prospect a take-home sheet that looked like it was thrown together in Microsoft Word? Or ever passed around handouts to clients during a presentation that literally ‘soured’ their face? It must have been embarrassing to present such a poorly created white paper for such an important client or project. You must take pride in your work and show the client that they are worth more than a ‘half-assed’ document. Hiring a designer to re-work your handouts will not only impress them, but it will make you stand out against your competitors, and it builds confidence in them that they have chosen the right company for the job. 4.  It’s important to have an online presence. Yelp business says that 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. Do you want to be on that list of online results? A designer can help you up your online presence with multiple avenues like social media pages & posts, web banners & ads, and of course the most important thing… a website! With so many consumers using the internet as their source of references, your company is really missing out on a lot of customers by not having an active website. Even a simple site is better than none at all. 5. Designers are loyal. Once you find a designer that meets your needs and is good to work with, it’s a good idea to stay with that designer long-term in order to keep your brand consistent. Good graphic designers understand how important it is to keep your brand identity unified, so unless you ask them to do something beyond reason, they will stay with you as their designers to help you continue with that consistency. And you’ll find that the more you two work together, the better you will understand each other and the relationship will be as solid as steel. A graphic designer would be an invaluable member of your team. Whether you hire a designer full-time, part-time, or by freelance, you’ll be doing yourself and your business a favor.  ​

Throw Away Your Good Ideas​

To explain this better, I want to tell you a story... The professor of one of my design classes in college had us work on a project. It was a logo project, and we all got very excited. He gave us a fake business name and some details about the business and said to us “Create 5 logo concepts for this new business. You have the rest of the class to work on them, and they are due the next time we meet.” Keep in mind that our design classes were 3 hours long. So we worked hard on our logo designs and created some concepts that we were proud of. The next class we all brought in our artwork to show off and the professor glanced through the work, then promptly throw them away in the trash. We were shocked and a little confused that he would do that. Then he said “Good job. Now create 5 more logo concepts for the same business. You have the rest of the class to work on them, and they are due the next time we meet.” So again we worked diligently throughout the class and even at home. I was even more proud of the new designs than the first ones. The following class, we again brought in our logo designs, and again the professor glanced through them, then throw them in the trash. Now we were getting frustrated and irritated at him for trashing our precious artwork. Then he said, “You guys are on a roll. Now create 5 more logo concepts for the business. You have the rest of the class to work on them, and they are due the next time we meet.” Of course, exhausted from the work we had done already, we were a little drained, but we pressed on anyway (after all, grades were at stake). I had to get really creative to come up with the last 5 logo designs. I thought outside the box, beside the box, and beneath the box. What if there were multiple boxes, and could I open the box? I thought of everything under the sun to get those last concepts created, and wouldn’t you know, I thought they were my best designs yet. I proudly brought them to the next class, and this time it was different. The professor collected the designs and displayed them up on the wall. He highlighted and praised them, and said, “I want you guys to realize why I threw away your past ideas. The first designs were cliche ideas, always dismiss your first round of concepts. The second ones were better as they were more creative, but not quite there. These last concepts are beautiful, and I can assure you that a client would be very happy with these. You should be proud.”  Just like the fact that a university with a high applicant rejection rate directly influences the value of the diploma (Harvard doesn’t let just anyone in), the rejection of your own designs directly influences the quality of the end product. The more ideas that you throw away (even what seems like a good idea), the more opportunity there is to create more creative ideas. And you will likely be surprised at what comes out of your mind once you challenge yourself to do so. If you are a freelance designer tracking your time on client’s projects, be sure to include the ‘rejection’ time in with your bill. Clients don’t realize everything that happens ‘behind the scenes’ in order for that masterpiece to show itself. Much like making a movie; there were probably 10 takes of a single scene, but the viewer only sees the one perfect one. The director had to reject 9 takes to get the one that he wanted. So don’t be afraid to toss your good ideas as better ones are likely to evolve from it.  ​

7 Things They Don't Teach in Design School​

A college degree in design is important, make no mistake. We learn so much in art school like composition, color theory, typography, and hierarchy. But what about the things that we don’t learn in college. Here are a few things that I learned as a designer outside of graduating.​ 7 Things They Don't Teach in Design School 1. It’s your operational excellence, not your diploma.When a potential employer is interviewing you for a design job, they must assume that you know design and how to use the proper programs. They are really interviewing you for your operational excellence. They really want to know if you will be able to operative at a level that will meet their expectations: create work that meets their standards, get along with co-workers, meet tight deadlines, etc. Employers don’t know design, that is why they are hiring you. It requires you to be able to talk about and explain your work in a way that makes them understand. You need to be able to defend your work and explain the decisions that you make in the design. That diploma won’t automatically get you the job, you still have to earn it. 2. It’s okay to NOT know.It’s important not to lie about something you truly don’t know. It’s pretty embarrassing for you to claim that you know how to do something, and then when the time comes to perform, you can’t follow through. So do not claim that you know how to edit videos if you’ve never touched a video editing program. And just know, that when you are graduating straight from college, it’s expected that you really don’t know anything. They understand that you are fresh off the assembly line, so don’t worry about saying “I don’t know, but I would love to learn.” 3. Be prepared for rejection.Many times designers get so used to hearing clients praise their work, that the client that unexpectedly hates our work abruptly stops us in our tracks. We are so taken aback that it causes us to rethink ourselves and our work. Don’t let this discourage you. Be prepared to ask questions like why they don’t like it, and take this as an opportunity to grow and improve. While it’s important to be able to defend your work and explain your design decisions, it’s even more crucial to realize that if a client truly doesn’t like the work, no matter how much defending you do, you are not going to change their mind. And if you keep fighting for it, they are going to lose all trust in you and you may have just lost a client. Just calmly and professionally ask what it is they don’t like, offer some suggestions for revisions, (agree with them on a couple of flaws), and ask if they are willing to let you do a re-design. Usually, they will, and you just gained even more trust. 4. A designer is more than a designer.As a designer we need to not only know how to design, we need to understand so many things in order to create a design that resonates with the target market. Our designs are strongly impacted by the world around us. We are actually business artists. We strategize and conceptualize in a way that the client or employer may not have understood before. It turns out that we need an encyclopedic knowledge of EVERYTHING. Ideas are easy, but strategies are the true challenge when it comes to designing.  5. Graphic design is not always glamorous.If you were to think about everything in your world that you touch on a daily basis, chances are most of those things were touched by a designer at some point. That toothbrush with the brand pasted on the handle, that box of oatmeal that you ate for breakfast, that cell phone bill that is now past due, and the planner you hold in your hand as you review your day, the instruction manual that came with your new blender, the stamp that you mailed your bill with, and Chinese menu that you are ordering dinner from. All of these things were created by a graphic designer, and I can assure you that the designer that is out there creating the quickstart guide for printers didn’t think that he/she would be doing that for a career. Many times those boring design jobs pay more than the fun ones do. Just understand that graphic designers are needed for many more products than just logos and websites. 6. It’s okay to turn down clients.As a freelance designer, I can tell you that not every job that comes your way is worth doing. I’ll get calls every so often from a prospect needing something done that I didn’t have much or any experience in. Sometimes I would take the job, learn what I didn’t know, and get the job done easy-peasy. Other times, I would realize that taking the job was a mistake as it was way over my head. Those are the jobs that I wish I had turned down. If I had turned down that client, I would have been able to say ‘yes’ to another client that I knew I could please. It’s true that when you are straight out of college, you may not have that luxury. You take as many of those paying jobs as possible (regardless of what they are) being that you are now a grown-up with those annoying grown-up bills. But as you develop and gain credibility, you’ll eventually be able to start picking your clients and jobs as you choose. 7. You are responsible for following copyright laws.In college, we are thrown projects at us made up by our professors and teachers, and it’s generally acceptable to use any graphic available on the internet. But once you leave the comfort of the University’s seal, the rules change. Because you are no longer designing for educational purposes, you are limited in what you are allowed to use. Be sure to check copyright restrictions on any image, clipart, illustration, video, audio, ANYTHING before you use them in your client’s work. And be sure to start accounts with online stock graphic sites for resources such as photos and clipart. Yes, they cost a little money, but it’s worth paying a little for an image now, then those copyright fees later.   

What To Do With Your New Logo Design​

You just received your new logo design, and you love it… now what? The package of the final files includes many types of file formats and versions, so how do you know what to do with each one? Designers send many different types of versions and formats so that you, the client, can use your new logo in many ways. The multiple files keep your logo versatile as different places to use your logo require different formats. I usually send you the first three files, but other designers could send you others. Let’s go over a few... File Formats Jpeg (.jpg or .jpeg) - This is a common file type to receive from the designer as it is versatile to use and easy to view to art. Jpegs can come in large or small resolution, the large resolution would be for print jobs, and the small resolution would be used for web or ‘digital-only’ jobs. Because they have a specific resolution, they can only be scaled up to a certain size without losing quality. The larger the resolution, the larger the image can be scaled (print files require at least 300 dpi images in order to retain quality). Also, jpegs are always flat files, and they will always have a background behind/around the logo (usually white) so it is not easy for a designer to manipulate a jpeg, if at all. PNG (.png) - PNGs are similar to jpegs in that they are flat and come in large or small resolution, but they are different in that they can have a transparent background. This means that if you place the png on top of an image or color, that image or color will show through the logo, rather than the white rectangle like in the jpeg. PNGs are also common for printing (large resolution, at least 300 dpi) and for web work (small resolution). EPS (.eps) - EPS files are vector files, which means that they have no resolution as they can be scaled to any size. That means that if you want your logo the size of a billboard, vector files can make that happen without losing quality. If you need something designed with your logo on it, be sure to send the designer this vector file, and they should be able to do anything you need with it. EPS files can be opened only in illustration programs like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, and Sketch. Ai (.ai) - Ai stands for ‘Adobe Illustrator’ so they can only be opened by Adobe’s program called Illustrator. Most people don’t have access to this program, but almost all designers do. Ai files are also vector files, so naturally, designers would be thrilled to receive this file to work with. Keep in mind also that Ai files may cause issues when opening a newer file version in an older version of Illustrator. For that reason also, I usually send eps files, which I have not seen that problem with. PDF (.pdf) - another good file to receive is a pdf file. Usually, but not always, the pdf is also a vector version of the logo. PDFs are very versatile as they can be used also as an image file. Most programs can open/view PDFs and (if exported correctly) can be manipulated by Illustration programs like Adobe Illustrator. However, if not exported as such, PDFs could be just flat document files, and therefore, not editable. PSD (.psd) - It’s not as common, but if someone created your logo in photoshop, you may receive a PSD file, which can only be opened in Photoshop. It is still a good file to receive as this is the art file they used and likely has layers and smart objects which a future designer can still use. It is not as likely that logos created in Photoshop can be scaled to large sizes. However, with PSD files, large resolution files can be exported. TIFF (.tiff or .tif) - The last file type that I want to talk about today is the TIFF file. If exported correctly, these can be good alternatives to PSD files as they can be opened in Photoshop with of the layers intact. They can also be opened in most image programs so they are easily viewed and used for printing, web, etc. However, like the PSD files, they are not likely to be scalable.   There are many more file formats out there, but they are far less common, and not as recommended in my opinion for logo files. Let me know if you ever have questions about what file type to use where. Now I’d like to talk about the different versions of your logo that you received. I, like many designers, like to send different versions of your logo to you so that you could use your logo in even more places. It makes your logo even that more versatile. The first kind of set of versions might be color versions...  Color Versions: Color - This is the main logo version that is in full color and set for a white background, which is the most common method of use. Reversed - In this version of the logo, the colors are manipulated so it is designed to be placed on a dark background such as black. Grayscale - If you ever need your logo used in a place in which color is not allowed, like a newspaper, this version can be used in place of the color version. Black and White - This version is straight black and white only (no grays) and would be used in single-color situations like embroidering or screen printing apparal.  The second kind of set of versions might be the orientation. I typically don’t provide these versions unless requested, in which a quote will be provided for that. By orientation, I’m referring to a horizontal vs. vertical layout… Orientation: Let’s say that we create a great looking logo, and it has more of a horizontal layout, meaning that it is wider than it is tall. Then it turns out you want to put your logo in an advertisement, but the placement only allows a square space. Your logo is likely going to be quite small as it doesn’t fit a tall space very well. A second version of your logo could be created (using the same colors, fonts, icons, graphics, etc.) that is much taller than the original, and therefore, fits the square space much better. In turn, your logo would be much larger, and much easier to see. This would be the vertical orientation.  So multiple versions of your logo can be very useful to you, especially if you are working on your brand development. It’s important to be able to put your logo anywhere you need as you want to keep your brand unified and consistent. ​

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