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When Should I Do A Design Job Myself and When Should I Hire A Designer?

June 2, 2021 Updated

With the advent of Canva, Instagram, and other simplified digital design tools available on the app store, the line between consumer and professional results is getting blurred as users flock to photo filters, type generators, and other enhancements that dress up posts, photos, and even print jobs. Printers are having an even harder time as direct-to-consumer services like Shutterfly do the job that brokers and specialized printers used to do. Those still exist, but they are becoming more challenged to adapt to a 21st Century marketplace. Many of these developments are good and for certain projects, work just fine.

However, when considering a design tool or hiring a designer, what should you look for?

  1. Uniqueness. A designer creates a product that is uniquely yours. You are not working from mass-produced templates and assets that everyone is using. Good design elevates your brand and gives it a unique position in the marketplace and to your prospects. As more and more data comes across your eyes, the ability to stand out is becoming more difficult. Years ago, after meeting with a potential client, she decided to do it herself. I had offered a very reasonable budget and yet she didn’t place value in working with a professional. She produced a cheap flyer and encountered one headache after another. The job took much longer, she was frustrated, and the results were disastrous. Her storefront banners and sales sheets, along with the brochures and business cards were uninteresting and looked like a template. But far worse, her displays featured the same image and fonts as the store down the street. Not only that, their templates looked similar. However, the store down the street sold a controversial product in direct conflict with her brand. Using the same imagery and fonts looked like they were in business together. She had no choice but to start over. While this might seem rare, it happens more often than business owners realize.
  2. Complexity: Design across various media, collateral, platforms becomes a very complex process. This needs the eyes and ears of a trained professional to wade through all the moving parts and create harmony in the finished products.
  3. Customization: While many tools offer many off-the-shelf options to customize, they are still operating with a very limited set of variations. Again, as in #1, the end product suffers. What may look like a great result to the untrained eye, is tired and evoke the wrong impression. Designers are trained to work with complex visual cues to create a dynamic result that is best optimized for the marketplace and your target demographic.
  4. Skills: A good designer is an expert in color theory and harmonies, design principles that are both scientific and artistic, and a host of other training that will give you an edge in your finished product or promotion.
  5. Relationship: A good design team saves you headaches and money from the start. Hiring a good designer is an investment in your brand and in a relationship with a professional who knows how to optimize your visual communication with exceptional results and strategies.
  6. Strategizing: Designers and Creative Directors are excellent sounding boards for getting your ideas to the next level. I have seen it happen countless times, clients come in with ideas that are good, and together, the synergy of our discussions produces a direction and plan that is many times stronger and ultimately, more successful.

There are many other benefits of using a designer or team. Contact me to discuss your needs at

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