In yesterday’s email, we talked about the experience and woes of working with a designer, and how difficult it is to get what you want when you expect them to read your mind, especially when your mind is a pandora's box of statements like:
"I'll know what I want, when I see it!"
You also learned that taking an active role in the design process is the best way to get what you want. We haven’t gotten into the specifics of how to do this, YET. But we will soon, I promise!
What we are going to talk about today is what NOT to do when designing your brand with a “designer,” or by yourself. I will give you some great hints on what to do with a designer too!
We’re going to examine some common misconceptions and common practices, options for what to do when designing for your business, and some things you might have tried or even have considered.
This guide will save you so much headache. You will finally have some clarity on why not to do these things, instead of saying “no” without a good reason. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but we’re not talking about those here.
Remember I’ve worked with a LOT of clients, and pretty much everyone of them fell into one of these traps before they found and hired me.
Do Not Hire These Guys:
Your cousin/uncle/best friend - “The art school student”
You are at a holiday party and you see your amazingly talented cousin, whom you’ve just adored forever because he/she just creates these BEAUTIFUL paintings. You think “YES, I’ll have him design my logo! He’s bloody brilliant!”
While many fine artists are wonderful, amazing, and talented people, that do things I can’t even think about doing, their expertise, (most of the time) is not in graphic design. They might even know Illustrator and Photoshop and still can't design worth beans. Many times they pose as designers because they need money.
Sometimes they even think they are designers, because many of the principles sound the same.
They generally can whip something together with a beautiful illustration that might make your jaw drop, but then they’ll pair it with a horrible font like Papyrus and smoosh the text up to their illustration with no margin because they have absolutely no training in design principles, typography or layout.
Rule here: Just cause they're a talented artist does not make them a talented designer.
It happens ALL the time. Sometimes you luck out. Most of the time it sucks and both of you don’t even know it, because there is one element that looks cool.
After I taught at the University of Oregon for four years, and teaching portfolio classes for fine artists, architects, and photographers --believe me, most of them know nothing about design, unless they’re one of those smarty pants creatives that really does study it ---and then they’re just the unicorn that truly is good at everything!
A Fiverr Designer:
I was in a Facebook group the other day, and a famous guru was telling her students to hire someone off of Fiverr for a logo. My heart sank for them thinking of the time, energy, they’re going to waste, or worse they’re going to move forward with something that could really hurt their business.
Fiverr is great for: things like hiring a video bumper creation and getting fake Facebook/twitter followers to impress the media. Seriously they are GREAT for that.
Fiverr is literally the worst place on earth for: logo design or even illustration design for you. Why? Because not only do you get what you pay for… But pretty much 99% of the time they are NOT creating custom illustrations which would be required for a logo.
They either use stock, and pretty much most stock illustration terms and conditions state you cannot use a stock illustration in a logo. Why? Cause it’s not something you can trademark. Or worse they just steal something from Google!
You could actually get sued if they design your logo, because using something without permission from the artist, or from Google, most of the terms and conditions say, “Do not use this for a logo.”
All it takes is doing a reverse image look up Google, to find out that your logo was plagiarized, made of unusable stock, or made to look like 100 other logos out there. Lastly, they are likely not an expert, and that’s why they’re charging $5. I've seen this happen so many times, and every time, I see it, I feel as
If you treat design like a commodity, your business will feel like a commodity.
In the words of Nike, on “opposites day”
...Just don’t do it.
If you're one of those poor chaps, that bought a logo on Fiverr I double dog dare you to do a reverse image look up on Google. Just like in the MTV show Catfish.
Shout to the heavens "That Son of a B Catfished My Logo!"
Yourself + Lynda, from Lynda.com
Now I LOVE Lynda.com for learning and getting thoroughly certified in a certain program, but designing a logo, website, or anything for your specific industry, that will be attractive to your ideal client, and your brand personality is NOT something they will teach you all in one package.
You could absolutely go certified in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or Creative Suite, but then what? If you don’t have a clear strategy that is based on industry trends, your brand personality, and your target market, you are just going to have some great skills and no direction.
Besides that designing alone without feedback and guidance, you might end up with a logo and brand design, that you only move forward with because you spent 1,000 hours on.
You need someone to tell you to step away from the logo. No really, step away.
Or better your brand design then looks like a Kid’s website and you’re trying to attract wealthy women.
You really have TWO options:
Hire designers that specialize in your industry. You look at their portfolio and everything resonates in your soul for how you want your brand to be communicated to the world. Look for legit testimonials, and if you get a recommendation well then feel better about moving forward.
If you decide to go the DIY version, only do so with help. You need help. You need someone to talk you out of poorly chosen colors, fonts, bad layouts, design concepts and themes that don't fit your industry or ideal clients.
You can learn and create some of the most beautiful things on earth with a community supporting you, and an instructor talking you out of bad design decisions.
Even aspiring designers need help.
Even I NEED help when designing!
I live by the motto:
"Friends don’t let friends design alone."
In the next lessons, coming up after the holiday, (Happy Turkey day Americans!), you will learn what happens when friends don’t let friends design alone. We will look at some case studies of non-designers, who decided to do the seemingly impossible and some approaches you can use for designing on your own and with designers!!
Leave me a comment below about the time you hired a art school cousin, or a Fiverr person and had a nightmare experience!