Graphic Design Nottingham

The Good, The Bad & The…

Graphic Design Nottingham

or Why You Should Invest in Proper Design

After thirty-odd years in the industry you’d think that we would, by now, have seen off the low budget, cheap graphic design and web design agency competition (naming no names), that they’d been consigned to the annals of time along with their “stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap” mentality!

Unfortunately it would seem that this is not the case and that the bucket bargain boys are back and are as brazen as ever!

Now, this MAY sound like a bit of a whinge or even a dig at what we would consider to be low budget, low quality, poorly conceived and delivered design… and being honest to a degree it is, but not without good reason!

With more than three decades experience in delivering professional graphic design solutions to hundreds of clients, we feel that we’ve earned the right to comment on some of the poor quality design that is being produced by “design agencies” passing themselves off as “professional”… and definitely to point out where they’re selling their clients short!

If you are a start-up business who’s just setting out your stall it’s completely understandable that any marketing and design budget will be tight and as a result you may be under pressure to save money wherever you can. However this should never be to the detriment of the most important design asset your company is ever likely to invest in… your brand ID and logo!

Increasingly there design services proclaiming to offer the equivalent level and quality of design that you would expect to receive from a seasoned, experienced and professional design agency at knock-down prices. And if you want a website built, they’ll even throw in the design and branding for free!

It’s our intention to offer any business looking to develop their branding and logo design through a design agency a few simple pointers on what to look out for OR more importantly what to avoid.

Firstly, looking for a cheaper option for your design requirements is understandable but only as long as it’s a decision based on a realistic and comprehensive design proposal that covers all of the requirements and deliverables, not purely on price. There are many, many businesses out there that will claim to have the knowledge and expertise available to design professional quality logos, brochures and websites but sadly many inexperienced clients fail to appreciate just how much time and expertise goes into something this important.

This is probably why we creatives are often wrongly accused of professional snobbery for complaining about the lacklustre output of non-designer businesses but it couldn’t be further from the truth. For the reputable majority who have slogged their way through years of price resistance in the name of delivering quality work, it’s a point of principal and professional pride.

By claiming to offer the same level of service at a fraction of the cost businesses undermine and de-value the expertise and experience of the design industry as a whole. Unfortunately by the time the the penny drops, quite often the damage is done and the budget is blown!

It has to be said that there are also high-end advertising, design, digital and branding agencies out there that will happily charge more than a wounded rhino, but in the main they fully understand who their target audience are and are happy stick to their own rather exclusive, above the line ponds.

Graphic Design Nottingham

For the rest of us small to mid range design agencies it’s the “pretenders” that irritate and enrage. They are increasingly responsible for the misconception that all professional graphic design services (except there own) are overrated and overpriced but at the end of the day, as with anything, you only get out what you put in and if you want a professional design solution you will always need to be prepared dig a little deeper… BUT the results will always be worth the investment!

If you’re worried about making the wrong choices (and you should be) when searching for a decent design agency the warning signs are fairly simple to detect…

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – There is no problem with picking an agency that offers fixed price, packaged or scaled services as this is a good way to make sure you are ticking the requirements off and it’s all for a known cost. However, the price tag should always be a realistic reflection of expectations. And if the word ‘FREE’ is all too obviously bandied about then buyer beware. There is STILL very little that is free in this life!
  • Assess the work on display – Always take the time to explore a potential suppliers’ website and portfolio offering. This is where their expertise and experience will be laid bare. There’s nothing wrong with a design agency having a distinct style but if everything essentially looks the same then the chances are they will be relying heavily on templates and formulaic, unimaginative design.
  • Look for the basic design principles – All good graphic design should be created around a simple set of core ideals including; balance, clarity, simplicity and definition. Overworked, over coloured, cluttered and arbitrary layouts that are short on structure are a clear sign of a lack of technical design experience and creative flair.
  • Avoiding the bells and whistles – Any designer worth their salt will conscientiously stick to the ‘keep it simple’ mantra and avoid the over use of clichéd software techniques. Whilst you would expect a good design agency will have all of the latest creative software applications available, as with any delicately balanced recipe they should be used sparingly. On the other hand for the fast food option it’s an “all you can stomach” buffet of lens flare, motion blur and rainbow colours that would make Joseph appear comparatively dull!
  • Trying too hard and missing the point – Another danger with poor quality design lies in the over-egging of ideas. This often happens when the “designer” has various ideas but can’t rationally make a success of any. Instead they will attempt to force together two or more concepts that could never comfortably occupy the same creative space. The result is often a chimera of a logo or branding that fails to offer any actual visual representation of the business or explanation of their corporate message.
  • Presenting the Obvious – If by chance the previous points appear to be adequately covered, the moment of presentation of any ideas will be the last resting place of the bad creative concept. Design isn’t about regurgitating the contents of a brief into some literal representation, it’s all about the designer interpreting the brief and exploring many possibilities along the route to a solution which should be something that OTHERS would (or could) simply never have thought of!

We could go on but we won’t. By now you will have made your own mind up as to whether this is a useful page of sound advise OR simply uppity designer-types throwing toys out of their pram!

We sincerely hope it’s the former and if the latter we wish you the best of luck! ^_^

Graphic Design, Logo Design and Branding, Website Design Nottingham

If you have a design project in the pipeline, please feel free to check out out our design services; logo design and branding, design for print, design for digital, design and creative, advertising and display and branded copy and content services.

Want more information or to discuss any potential design project? Please feel free to call us now on 0115 9503 956, or click here to email your enquiry