Hire (and pay) a pro designer or DIY?

How hiring a professional graphic designer can drive success

It’s a tough market out there – it was a miserable Summer in 2023 for weather, strikes continue as does the ongoing cost of living crisis, we could go on, and on. Bearing all of that in mind it makes sense as the leader of an organisation, public or private, to be wary of investing in unnecessary services.

Having said that, even though there’s software out there that anyone can use to design assets for their business we still believe it’s financially sensible to invest in a graphic designer.

But we would see that, wouldn’t we?

So, here we have set out why we think it makes sense and the questions you should consider when thinking about when to DIY and when to hire.

Brand Identity and Consistency: For individual creative assets it can seem like the more sensible option to use an online design tool rather than find and then brief and hire a professional.

The crucial thing here is to look at the bigger picture. It’s relatively straightforward to create individual pieces of work. What’s much harder to do is to do so in such a way that, when looked at together, it’s obvious each individual asset is part of one brand. Without consistency your brand strength will diminish, or simply won’t grow in the minds of your audience. And if you’re not in the minds of your audience you won’t be making sales as a business for long or fundraising as effectively as you could be.

So make sure you abide by your brand guidelines if you’re going to do the work yourself, and if you don’t have a set then it’s well worth investing in the creation of a set that you can then stick to.

And this is why, if you have or are likely to require more than just a few pieces of creative it’s prudent, when looking at things from a long term perspective, to invest in finding an agency you can call on as and when required.

Professional graphic designers know how to develop brand guidelines (which should include color schemes, typography, and how your logo should be placed etc) and then know how to ensure your creative sticks to those guidelines, evokes the emotions you want in your audience and makes the desired impact. This gives you consistency across platforms and marketing materials, which serves to solidify you in the minds of your buyers.

Time: DIY design platforms offer pre-made templates and are pretty intuitive to use, which can make them an easy option for creative such as social assets. You do however, need to have a specific idea in mind that you want to bring to life.

If your thoughts are at the more nebulous stage it can actually be quicker to share your goals with a designer and leave them to bring it to life – allowing you to get on with all the other elements involved in running your business.

Accessibility: Design is about much more than making something easy on the eye.

Graphic design is guided by a vast number of rules and principles. These serve to make materials which are accessible to everyone, legible and readable. Without a full understanding of these principles your work might not be accessible to people with colour blindness, or might be harder to read for people with dyslexia, to name just two things you need to keep in mind so your work achieves the impact you want.

Print: In the same way making a piece of creative accessible requires technical know how, so does preparing a creative asset or publication for print.

For example, preparing something for print requires an understanding of image resolution, of how colour prints (the difference between CMYK and RGB), page numbers for print as well as how to prep it to make it officially print ready.

All in all, we absolutely accept there are going to be times when you want to DIY for reasons of speed or budget.

Overall however, it’s a competitive market out there and with an in-depth understanding of design principles, composition, and aesthetics a graphic designer will be able to elevate your brand. Being on top of market trends they’ll be able to keep you fresh and relevant in your market place so you don’t look dated in comparison to your peers.

By investing in the expertise of a professional, you can scale and achieve designs that truly reflect your brand, captivate your audience, and set you apart from the competition.


Invest in your organisation's future

Two tin robots holding tins connected by string, one holds the tin to their ear and one to their mouth