Let's be honest. Design professionals run into people who think graphic design can be done by anyone. There are business owners and leaders in all sorts of organizations — whether for-profit or not-for-profit — who think they can do graphic design themselves to avoid the expense and time.
For those of you who think this way, you are not a graphic designer. I'm not saying that you are not creative, don't have Photoshop, haven't taken some training courses, or don't admire good design. It's just that you are not concentrating on that as a career choice. It's not what you do.
Hey, you know you are not in business to do graphic design. And you probably didn't spend most of your adult life working and training in graphic design. Whatever you are doing now, you do that well. But design is an afterthought for you. And good design can't be an afterthought.
So, stop trying so hard to slap collateral, presentations, and all sorts of communications together and calling it good design. (It's really neither good nor design.) Do yourself a favor and hire a professional designer.
I know, you might be thinking, "What value is there in hiring a professional when I have software and templates I can use?" Glad you asked. Although there are many reasons, I'll list only a few here. (And for any designers reading this, feel free to chime in with your reasons in the comments.)
1. Design professionals are not only trained in design, they know how to use it effectively.
Most business owners know their markets well. And they want to be respected in that market, so they will be successful. A design professional can realize your vision better than you, because …well… they are not you.
You may know your audience, but designers are trained (some for many years) to know how to communicate with your audience visually. They have the experience to go beyond sharing information to connecting emotionally with your audience.
2. Design professionals know what works.
You want to reach your audience. You want them to buy, sign up, do this, or do that. But did you know that design can influence the success or failure of those actions? Did you know that every use of space, text, and visual elements can have a positive or negative reaction? Did you even know the power of gestalt?
Yeah, you have your favorite colors and you want your logo big all the time. But every design decision affects the whole communication, and your brand. Designers know this, and will work to ensure you get the maximum impact — and look good doing it.
3. Design professionals are more objective than you.
Like I said before, there are some advantages in not being you. While you are heavily invested and focused on your business and mission, designers are focused on solving your visual problem. They want your brand to be consistent, so that it is trustworthy. They want to use the right amount of creativity to get your brand the attention you desire. But, most importantly, designers also know how to visually connect with your audience to evoke the right emotional response — without resorting to tricks, nor special effects. Just good, sound, design principles.
4. Design professionals can get it done faster than you.
You don't have the time to figure out design. True, you can slap something together fast. But it won't be good. Designers know how to get great results in minimal amount of time. Good designers are efficient and have a solid design process. And design professionals are your partners. They want you involved in the process as much as possible. But, let's face it, you have better things to do than design it yourself.
5. Bottom-line. Design professionals are better than software and templates.
Templates are great for producing decent-looking deliverables — quick and cheap. But not so great if you want it to be unique from the thousands of other people using the same template. And software is like owning a plumbers pipe wrench. Great to have for minor repairs. But it doesn't make you a plumber.
Design professionals have more than the tools to get the job done right. They have the experience, knowledge, and training to give you something templates can't produce: a unique solution customized to your brand and audience needs. And, trust me, software can't design anything for you.