7 other reasons people don't hire a graphic designer (and what you can do about it)

Cost is no doubt one of the huge underlying factors which dictate whether or not we will purchase something. Blame it on the economy or just human nature, many of us are driven to find the best deal, the cheapest product or the latest item on sale – A car, that new dress or even the discounted meat that is about to go out of date in the supermarket. (Come on, who can’t resist a chunk of beef for only $1.95)

I have even been known to proclaim “I don’t buy it unless it is on sale” – call it “household budgeting” as you will!
As a graphic designer, i was interested to find out why potential clients shy away from using the services of a professional graphic designer. 72% of people who answered a current survey of mine said that cost no doubt was the underlying factor. This didn’t surprise me one little bit so i did a little bit more digging and changed my question and asked the good fellows of the Business Business Business Website: “Besides cost, what is the one thing stopping you from hiring a Graphic Designer to complete your business brand identity?” 

Reason 1: “I think people don’t understand the value in getting a graphic designer”

What can you do about it? As a designer, you need to help client’s see the INVESTMENT they are making in their designs, not just giving them a quote. Explain why the project is going to cost $X and what the possible ROI is going to hold.  Roz Stovle explains in her article,  Graphic Design: A Return on Investment:

Design is an investment that will have a beneficial long and short-term effect on your business. You’ll benefit with an increase in the sales in the short-term, and a strong, loyal customer base that can last for generations. Look at brands like Cola, Pepsi, and Johnson & Johnson who have been in business for generations. They have a solid customer base past down within their own family. Designing with your company’s big picture builds quantifiable, financial profits, and non-quantifiable benefits like trust and loyalty.

Also point out to the client that by INVESTING in a graphic designer, you are saving the client from doing it themselves which saves your client time to spend on more important things, like running their business.

Reason 2: ” I already use them and I do appreciate their work but they need to do due diligence…one of the problems I have with graphic designers is that they don’t do their own spell check prior to sending the design to be approved. I send the correct spelling but when it comes back there are spelling errors. This irritates me as that means that I have to check every single word. The only work I should be checking is the design.”

What can you do about it? While It is not a designers purpose to write and proof client’s copy (this is why we have copywriters), you should make a habit of running your client’s document through spellcheck. Not only does this pick up any human errors, you will have created a happy client who is potentially a referring and returning client.  Educate clients that it is not a designers purpose to write and proof your copy. Our job is to visually articulate the copy and elements provided to us, not scan every inch of your copy for grammatical and spelling errors. It is also helpful to have clients sign and date a “Proof approval Form” so they understand the responsibilities of the designer and themselves.

Reason 3: “Many over charge. I know they are experts but 5k a very simple logo is a bit much. Or I get told, I don’t know how much it will cost because it could take many many hours if you want revisions etc.” 

What can you do about it? I a not going to tell you how to charge because pricing is unique to each designer, their experience and niche. As quoting a project goes,  David Airey writes in his book Logo Design Love (Second Edition):-

Talk first, quote later.
You can’t accurately price a design project without first understanding the needs of a client. Designers who advertise a list of predetermined prices for x amount of concepts with x rounds of revisions are, perhaps unwittingly, advertising themselves as a commodity and leading potential client’s into “shopping” for price instead of value. But design isn’t a commodity with no regard to who produces it. – Chapter 6, pg72, p2 

Reason 4: “I find it difficult to get the graphic designer to see what I see in my head!!!”, “I know from barrier for us is that we struggle to articulate what we want and that blocks us from delivering a brief to the designer.”

What can you do about it? Provide your client with a design brief straight up. Ask them to a list of appropriate questions to get the ball rolling and if something isn’t clear? Ask them more questions. It’s all about communication! Not sure what to include in a brief? Here are 16 things to include in your design brief to get you started.

Reason 5: “finding a designer that already designs stuff you like” 

What can you do about it? Make sure you have an online (or printed) portfolio to show prospective clients. Remember though “Quality over Quantity”. If you have a few design styles, create fictitious design briefs and make these designs readily available for anyone who needs to see them and create different categories within your portfolio. Also, make yourself readily available on channels your target market hang out – this will help the right clients find you.

Reason 6: “there’s software that allows u to design things on your own. For example Canva and Picmonkey

What can you do about it? This one is a hard one – try to persuade client’s thinking by pointing out the limitations to using these free software applications. Again, try and point out the INVESTMENT of using a designer (Point 1) and how you know what design decisions are best for their business goals through your research and design process. 

Reason 7: “They need to be able to respond to problems and issues and readjustments without taking it personally against their work.”

What can you do about it? That one is easy – don’t take things to heart! Just remember people have chosen to work with you because of your skills and what you can do as a designer. If a client does not like what you have done? Re-assess the desired project outcomes, make the changes requested and try again! And if at the end you still hate what you have done but the client loves it? Just don’t put it in your portfolio!! 😉

As a client, are there any others you would like to add?

© Studio: tiffany gouge