Posts Tagged ‘graphic design’

The Marriage of Marketing + Design = Success

There are a lot of good graphic and web designers working today in the marketplace. You might even know one or two of them. But what makes a good designer great?

That takes a special breed of designer! 

And it requires the marriage of marketing and design. A great design professional will incorporate the best marketing techniques available. They know what works – they see it every day. And they probably collect examples of great marketing collateral that they have seen for reference.

An effective marketing design professional will emerse themselves into your business. They may not know pest control when they land the assignment but they will understand it before begin the actual design process.

Being a marketing design professional takes a lot of hard work and dedication. If you’re shopping for one be sure to ask a few simple questions:

  • Can I see your portfolio. Do they do the same thing all the time? Does it look the same? (You can view my portfolio at www.debrongraphics.com and www.debbyjohnson.com)
  • What collateral material will they do for you? If you go to them saying I need a tri-fold brochure do they ask questions? Do they want to know what you’re going to do with it and how you’re going to use it?
  • Do they suggest alternatives or additional concepts to consider? Now, I don’t mean are they upselling you like a car salesman – no offense to car salesmen – but are they thinking ahead from a business sense.  When I build a website for someone I almost always “qualify” my price by telling them that I stand by my price as given. I may suggest additional elements and/or pages to incorporate but that is not to add to my price. Its because I recognize that they need it to succeed. I’m all about their success!
  • Do they have a good track record? What kinds of projects have they worked on? Are they used to working on large projects or do they focus more on smaller projects? I know that I love working the full spectrum. I’ve done plenty of small “mom and pop” projects, start-up companies, which are really fulfilling to watch succeed and commercial projects with values up to $129 million dollars. (Honestly, that’s almost too many zeros for most of us to comprehend!)
  • Are they excited about your project? Do they ask intelligent questions. Are they engaged? If they aren’t engaged now they probably never will be once the actual rolling up the sleeves, down and dirty work begins.
  • Do they understand marketing? You don’t want someone who spouts concepts but has never used them. Do they know what they are doing?
  • Do they tell you to cross market and give you ideas about how to do that? Anyone who tells you that you only need to market one way doesn’t know marketing. And if you meet a web designer who tells you “If you build it they will come” RUN as fast as you can in the opposite direction. There’s a lot more to a success website than just building it.
  • Do they know how to incorporate, or marry, successful design with marketing expertise? Again, look at their portfolio and really analyze their work. (You can view my portfolio at www.debrongraphics.com and www.debbyjohnson.com) Do they show cross-marketing there? Does the design make sense from a marketing standpoint or is just meant to look good? Does it deliver a message? Is the message received? And what’s your call to action? If you can’t see all of that then its not working.

Taking it up a notch and combining all of these elements is what GREAT marketing design is all about.

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How to Find a Good Graphic and Web Design Professional

Open any phonebook or do a search online and you’ll find more graphic designers than you will need in 10 lifetimes. With the proliferation of desktop publishing software more and more people are billing themselves as graphic designers.

And if you’re talking web designers? Well, have a conversation with about 10 people about web design and invariably several will mention that they can build a site, or their brother, uncle, nephew or niece is a web designer.  I have to admit I’ve gotten a lot of business that way! Once they realize that their relative/neighbor/friend doesn’t have a clue what they are really doing they are happy to hire a professional!

So what do you do when you need graphic and web design work done? Start by looking at the professional’s portfolio. Do they have good solid work? Do they offer only template work with no regard for what their client needs? How long have they been working in the field? Does everything look vaguely familiar, like it might have been ‘borrowed’ from other designs in the marketplace? Does their work reflect different styles or does it all look the same?

Next you’ll want to talk to the designer about your project. Do they ask intelligent questions about your business? Do they know your business? They don’t have to have ever done work for anyone in your line of work before to know how to create effective marketing collatoral for you, but a thirst for knowledge to understand your business is a good sign as it relates to the marriage between marketing and design, which we’ll talk another time.

And as you talk to them you’ll want to ask yourself one really important question – do they care about my success or are they just trying to make money? I find a designer who is enthusiastic and loves their job (its not really a job its a passion when they truly love it – its like getting paid to play!) and is focused on your success can be a silent partner in your business. Your success should be their primary goal. As I tell all of my clients, “If you don’t succeed, I don’t succeed. If it doesn’t work for you – its not working for me.”

Why is that? Because a happy successful client will be a client for life and tell others. An unhappy client, well….they will tell others alright but I’ll wish they hadn’t! There’s something really nice about knowing that you helped someone else build their dream.

Everytime you give, you get back tenfold. And that’s priceless!

Next time we’ll talk about the marriage between marketing and design and how a marketing design professional can take your business or project over the top!