When is the right time to hire a designer?
If you're just hopping into the Design Transparency Series, check out the intro post here! My goal with this blog post series is to equip, empower and add a little more transparency to the mystery of working with a designer by answering popular questions that you have about the design process and hiring and working with a designer.
Now that we’ve talked about why a designer brings value to your business, what the process looks like, what graphic design choices to make when you’re first starting out, tips for gathering inspiration for a project, and what the investment looks like. Now we are going to talk about when is the right time to hire a designer for your project or business.
After going through all of the scenarios, I was able to narrow it down two three main categories that can let you know that it is the right time to go ahead and start looking for a designer. The three categories are Budget, Growth and Timeline.
It’s easy for me, as a designer, to say that every business needs to start out with a professionally designed brand, but realistically that’s just not the case for some people and I wouldn’t encourage it for some businesses. If you want to be in business long, you have to be responsible and smart about money, and I respect every client who comes to me with a budget or who DIY’s it in the beginning so that they can save to do it right in the future.
If you are a brand new business with no budget, I always encourage DIYing or finding a quality template it in the beginning. If you are a business owner who left a job and are starting out with a good budget, it’s always great to start with a professionally designed logo and branding, but when you are first starting out, people give you grace if you end up DIYing a lot of your design until you get on your feet.
Once your budget is at the point that you start making investments in your business, whether that is buying equipment that you’ve been needing, purchasing software and systems to help your business run better, or even hiring help, you have the budget to hire a partner in design.
Personally, I think hiring a designer should come after getting the equipment you need to run your business, but before investing in conferences or retreats and definitely before hiring an employee. You need to build a brand and have a set style and logo before you can share with others.
If you’re still wondering if you have the right budget for a designer, read more about the investment to hire a designer in my last blogpost.
We’ve talked a lot about branding and why you need a brand and a logo that is unique to your business to be able to grow your business. And we’ve also talked about how a designer can help you build a brand that reaches your customers and grows your business.
Maybe you’ve already been building your brand whether you were just starting out and decided to go with a temporary template logo, or DIY’d yourself to this point, or you hired a designer starting out to create a professional logo. You come to a point in business that you have grown as much as you can where you are, and you are ready to move to the next level. This could be reaching a new clientele or market, moving up from your current price point, or adding or changing your offerings. And these are all good signs that it is time to hire a designer to help you.
Like I said with budget - I encourage my business owner friends who are just starting out and don’t have a budget to DIY their design. There are plenty of great templates at reasonable prices that can be used temporarily to get you on your feet. (Read more about template logos here) But when the quality starts lacking, your target market starts changing in a negative way, or sales start dwindling, your DIY efforts may be costing you more than helping you, and it’s time to hire an expert to grow out of that.
Likewise, if you are starting to outgrow your current efforts, whether it’s your color palette, overall style or the logo itself, it’s time to hire a professional designer that will put in the time and effort to help you figure out what will lead and help with the growth.
There are some businesses out there who plan. They create business plans, marketing plans, schedules for social media and blogposts, and timelines for launches. If you are one of these businesses, major props! I am still not there yet myself, but am working up to it.
For anything that you have already planned for, especially things that are outside of your comfort zone, you have to make the decision on how to get the work done. Either it’s to hire a family member or friend, to ask for a favor from someone you know, to take recommendations from friends, or to search out a designer and hire them yourself.
Those of you that have a business plan or marketing plan (bravo!) know that this allows you to carefully think about and plan for a year, or several months, of business happenings. This could include goals, launches, advertising, marketing through social media, blogpost schedules, content creation, etc. If you have carefully and thoughtfully put together a plan and have projects in place that you know are outside of your skillset and you have the budget to invest, then it is definitely the right time to hire a designer.
ProTip: The last thing that a designer wants to do is walk into a chaos of a business who hasn’t put any thought into the project at hand and constantly makes edits that contradict each other. This will not be a healthy relationship, and you will probably not be able to keep the designer for long.
Hopefully these tips will help you figure out when the right time is to bite the bullet and hire a designer for your project, but like every purchase, emotion plays a big part, so definitely follow your gut. If you feel like it is time, but one of these things doesn’t align, most designers can work with you. Just because your budget doesn’t get you the highest rated designer in Print Magazine doesn’t mean that you won’t find a great designer who will do the work within your budget, or give you the option of smaller packages to accommodate your budget.
And like always, if you think it’s the right time, but are not sure, leave me a comment or reach out. I would love to answer any questions.
Design Transparency Series Update:
We are going to take a little break during the holidays, but before then, we are going to hit our last topics, which will be: tips for hiring the right designer for you, what you should do to prepare yourself to work with a designer, and the main philosophies that good designers have that sets them apart from the rest.
After the holidays (I can’t believe I’m saying holidays…seriously, where has this year gone??) we’ll pick it back up and I’ll be asking for more questions to keep this series going into 2018. If you think of a question at anytime, leave comments on here or social media or send them to me directly via email.