Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Branding is the cornerstone of all marketing. Every project I do examines the branding first. Very often, the goals of a particular piece (brochure, website, etc.) are difficult to attain because the branding is too weak to be effective. When this happens, I always offer to re-brand before time is spent developing a piece that will ultimately be a waste of time and money because of poor branding.
And branding is more than just a logo. Consistent use of colors, fonts, textures, and layouts are critical to ensuring that people recognize a company when they see it regardless of where they see it.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. When hiring a graphic designer, make sure they understand your target market. It's not enough to have a design that "looks cool"; it has to attract the customers you want and that requires a full understanding of how design works.
Things like colors, shapes, and typefaces say specific things about your business, and you need to make sure that your designs say the right thing about you in a way that the people you are trying to reach will quickly grasp.
A good graphic designer will also be quick to let you know when your ideas won't work and how to adjust them so they will...BEFORE they waste valuable time (and your money) making ineffective changes.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. One of the biggest misconceptions about design is that it is a form of art.
Design is NOT art.
Design is a form of communication. It is a language with its own structure and rules of grammar. Like any foreign language, it can take years to learn and understand, and even then it ultimately takes a natural talent to truly master.
A good design also requires a plan. You MUST know what your message is before you can expect your designer to translate it into a visual language. Your message should also never be manipulated to fit an existing design (template), but rather the design should be custom crafted to deliver your message.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. Always make sure your designer can provide the proper file types to produce your images. There is a HUGE difference between "design" and "production".
You can create a design on a scrap of paper, but that doesn't mean a sign company can take that piece of paper and put it on a sign. The design has be translated into the proper digital format and while a production facility can do this, they often charge extra and there is no guarantee that the original integrity of the design will be maintained.
The design itself should also be flexible enough to suit a variety of applications. What looks great on a sign, may not work well when embroidered on a shirt. Make sure your designer knows how to design for multiple uses.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. First and foremost you should know your target audience: whether they are mostly male or female, how old they are, how much money they make, their level of education, and what motivates them to buy.
Without knowing this information, your designer will have no idea of how to craft an image or message that will appeal to them, because what excites a 25 year-old male college student to buy something will not entice a 40 year-old housewife with kids. You have to speak your audience's language.
Once you know WHO you are trying to reach, you need to know WHAT you want to say and HOW you will deliver the message (TV, newspaper, billboard, web).
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. More than anything, I wish customers knew that Graphic Design is a true professional trade skill that requires the same level of discipline, education, research, dedication, and talent as any lawyer, doctor, electrician, or mechanic. This level of expertise deserves both respect and trust.
And just like in those other trades, getting the right person to do the job will provide benefits that simply cannot be measured in dollars.