Design counts

25 Mar

I once worked with a graphic designer who told me the Mac and its software were just tools, same as pen and paper. He was 100% right. Just having the tools does not mean you know how to use them, or better yet, use them effectively.  Many people today have access to InDesign, Publisher, Dreamweaver, Photoshop and a myriad of other design software. And these people use these tools without any clue as to what goes into design. You can see the results in poorly designed, often unattractive brochures, ads and other marketing communications materials. It’s the same with writing. We all know how to write, but not everyone knows how to write well.

Design is the first thing we notice about a piece, whether it be the color scheme or the layout, the font or the images. A good designer knows how to entice you to read the piece and also to use the design to communicate certain elements of the product or service. I have been fortunate to work with great designers and I have also worked with mediocre designers. There is a difference. But either way, any professional designer is better than an amateur who thinks he or she knows what she is doing. We should all acknowledge our areas of expertise and leave some stuff to the professionals. It makes a tremendous difference.  Here are some things a professional considers: readability, flow of information, aesthetics, color palette, suitable typeface  and amount of white space. Another item that a professional brings to the table: creativity.

You wouldn’t go to an amateur to build your house, why would you use an amateur to create your brand identity for the world to see?

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2 Responses to “Design counts”

  1. Sue Jenkins March 26, 2008 at 9:15 am #

    Yes, yes! People who have no experience with design should really not think they can do it themselves to save some money.

    I recently designed an InDesign newsletter template for a client who wanted to be able to layout their own issues. Needless to say they’ve done a terrible job keeping up with the standards the original design, and all their issues since the first one look HORRIBLE because they’ve done things like change the fonts, colors, and alignment, and even went so far as to break out of the preset two and three column layouts. Very sad. And the worst part is they don’t even know how unattractive it is now. To them, it’s more important to have saved money than to maintain an attractive brand identity.

    To make matters even more complicated, customers really need to choose their designers carefully. There are plenty of “graphic designers” out there who have been in business for “years” but who clearly have no design skills whatsoever. Unfortunately, not all customers can tell “good” design from “bad” so there’s a lot of bad design out there.

    Thanks for your analogy about using an amateur to build a house, I’m going to use that one.

    Sue Jenkins
    Luckychair.com

  2. Marketing Writer March 26, 2008 at 2:30 pm #

    Thanks! Of course — lots of customers cannot tell good design from bad, precisely because they are not trained! As an industry, it is our duty to continue to educate about the importance of these issues.

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