Imagine this scenario: you receive a call from a small business owner who runs printers in Cheshire, who needs some design work. He says he doesn’t have time to do it himself and asks for a quote. When you give him the project estimate, he baulks at your rates and thanks you for your time, never to be heard from again.
You probably don’t have to imagine this; throughout your career as a graphic designer, it’s probably happened to you countless times.
Professional design work with printers in Manchester is notoriously undervalued in small businesses. When financial times get tough, the creative budget is one of the first things cut. Only one small business out of several I’ve worked with had a dedicated graphic designer on staff. In one sense, that’s great news for freelance designers and design agencies, but it also highlights exactly where designers fit on a small business’ list of priorities.
Small business owners of printers in Stockport typically run on limited resources, and while each wants a beautiful website, clever logo, and compelling marketing collateral, they’re not always willing to pay professional rates to get them. Instead, they ask an employee without adequate training—usually a marketing assistant who wears many hats—to try their hand at DIY design. Or they start searching the web for “cheaper” options. Either way, the business owner is probably not going to be happy with the results.
The first red flag in the opening scenario was the caller’s assumption that he could successfully do his own design work if only he had the time. This may be true in some cases, but generally it’s not. The second was his aversion to your professional rates. But designers know that sharp, well-thought-out graphic design can mean all the difference to companies big and small. The next time you find yourself talking to a hesitant prospect, reference this list of reasons small businesses should place greater value on graphic design:
You know what they say: you only have one chance to make a first impression. Whether it’s a website or the logo in an email signature, potential customers will judge a business in just a few seconds based on visual appeal alone. High-quality graphic design gives businesses credibility—and that’s priceless. No matter how great a product or service, with poor design, it’s unlikely anyone will stick around the company’s website or keep its email long enough to find out.
Similarly, it’s important that people get a feel for what a business does even if they’ve never heard of it before. Thoughtful design evokes the right image in customers’ minds. The concept for a daycare center would be entirely different than that of a law firm. That’s a dramatic contrast, but it holds true in more nuanced ways as well. Consider, for example, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, a small company with a short history rooted in Seattle. Beecher’s finely detailed logo and packaging labels echo the artisanal nature of the company, the historic imagery alludes to tradition, and its black and white color scheme suggests a classic quality.