Just What Do We Pay Graphic Designers For
What exactly do we pay graphic designers for? To make things look pretty right? Ok, maybe they are of a bit more use than that …perhaps to make things look professional and pretty?
Ok, I’ll admit I’m still suggesting that things might be a bit more simplistic than they really are.
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We all know, that in actual fact designers not only create images that are designed to catch the eye of the consumer, but to make a business appear professional also and indeed the core purpose of their work is to help convert potential customers into actual customers via brand/image and marketing materials linked in with this.
Is that all?
I’m sure a lot of business owners think that really is all there is to the design industry that serves them and the many designers that populate it.
In some cases (for some designers) that really is all there is to it – they don’t operate on many other levels other than to make their designs professional, pretty, and eye catching.
However there really are other aspects that must be considered when you commission a design to develop the brand image for your business, a couple of these are explored in more detail now;
1. Target Market;
Recently I was approached by a company interested in brand design; their product and service was one that should be targeting both men and women, and yet when I was shown the design they had received already for another designer I immediately noted some glaring issues with it.
The design itself was eye pleasing and on the surface of it a less experienced person may observe that it was a professional effort; but the designer had produced something which featured a stylised woman as the central figure within the logo and not only that despite the stylised nature of the image, she was clearly of oriental heritage.
I quickly pointed out to the customer that when one’s target market is male and females and not women only, that to gender bias one’s logo design is counter productive, and even worse to possibly alienate even more people by making the character a particular ethnicity when your product is targeted at all nationalities.
A creative must think, think, think, and then and think some more about the target market when they are designing. To enable that before they start designing, they absolutely have to ask the business owner about the business; who are the customers, how will the product or service be sold to them, and so on.
2. Colours & Tones
A long time ago now I wrote a very popular article entitled the ‘The Relationship Between Colours & Sales’ – I’ve long since populated the piece across the internet and you can thus read it on many websites.
Although as creatives we don’t need to enslave ourselves completely to the rules of colour psychology, any designer working on a project should always keep this in mind.
In addition to considering the psychological effect certain colours have on mood and behaviour, which is well documented by the marketing industry, one needs to consider the socio-economic dynamic of the target market as this has some bearing on the tone of the colour scheme chosen.
For instance it’s not uncommon for my clients to ask for a bright colour scheme for their brand design, but this doesn’t always suit their target market; it’s known that low income groups are attracted to bright colours and thus if you don’t wish to attract low income groups a bright colour scheme isn’t right for your brand design regardless of what you like as an individual.
When your designer goes to work and you review concepts it’s vital to appreciate the design isn’t supposed to necessarily appeal to what you like, it’s supposed to appeal to your target market and this may not necessarily be the same thing as your own favourite colours.
These are just a couple of important areas that must be considered by your designer before they start work on your brand development, some of the other areas include;
– Ensuring the design will work well whether printed billboard sized or business card sized.
– Making sure the company name is easily readable.
– Ensuring the design is neither too tall in height, or too wide horizontally; disproportionate designs can be more difficult to incorporate into layouts for print such as flyers, stationery, brochures and so on; this means these items may not look as good as they should.
Much of this advice can also be applied even when you already have your brand design established and have moved on to developing this further with your marketing materials.
It’s important that the designer working on your printed stationery and marketing materials appreciates the need to be sympathetic to the brand theme already established, and also has sufficient skill and experience to bear in mind that designs created must appeal to the target market.