Believe it or not, it’s more cost-effective in the long run. Professionals work more skillfully and generally faster than do-it-yourselfers. They make far fewer mistakes, saving you time and money. They use high-end feature-rich professional software packages and resources, and are trained in their use, rather than cheaper or low-end resources. The results always look better, and in the case of printed materials, are also much easier for a print house to handle the resulting graphics files for the project. In the case of web design, professionals don’t allow what we call “garbage code” to creep in and slow down your system, or make the code hard to read for other developers. Their code is “validated” to make sure it meets minimum standards for use on the web or in emails.
Put another way, here’s what you get with a professional: You will get more efficiencies. Efficiencies in asking the right questions. Efficiencies in proper training. Efficiencies in using more proven marketing tools and techniques. In the end, you will pay to do it right, instead of paying more to do it over.
On the list below are the elements to analyze when making your choice for a designer. Analyze these elements in light of the specific project, budget, and timeline you have in mind.
- Experience (not just years, but industries, teams, roles, and ability to ask the right questions) Paula Scher, principal at Pentagram Design was quoted once as putting it this way, “It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds.
- Design Style (impressionistic, web vs. print, bold vs. delicate)
- Disciplines (print, packaging, promotions, trade show collateral, logo design, illustration)
- Marketing (strategic vs. tactical, knowledge of target market, ability to suggest alternatives)
- Good Communication (follow-up, status re: timeline and budget progress, relationships)
- Professionalism (from the contract to handling problems to final product)
- Portfolio (what does it demonstrate/why included, and is there more to the story of each piece? Range of work presented? Consistent in quality?
- Price (don’t choose on price alone. Yes, you will likely pay more for an experienced designer, but what are you really paying for?)
So, do yourself a favor and hire a professional. You won’t be sorry.