There are a lot of great tools out there for graphic design, and there are often a lot of accompanying blogs and tutorials for novices wanting to try a little design on their own. But taking the DIY approach to your design using these resources as your tools, is akin to thinking that because someone knows how to hammer a nail, they are ready to guide you in building your own house.
There’s extensive training that a professional designer has received, but there’s also an element that can’t be taught in a classroom, and definitely not in a 500-word design tutorial: the love of design.
You might point out that your flyer for an upcoming seminar for finance managers isn’t marketing to a graphic designer anyway, so what does it hurt to take the DIY route? It is likely a DIY flyer could miss your finance managers’ attention with poor design, by causing them to miss the registration deadline that’s listed in a font that fades into the background or a light color, or they may ignore your flyer because the design isn’t eye-catching.
There are a few design mistakes that make every designer cringe:
- Using out of date fonts catches the eyes of a designer. A font like Papyrus is a clear indicator that your graphics were probably not done professionally.
- Crowding out the white space also ruffles the feathers of a graphic designer, because it makes your design too crowded and can prevent your audience from knowing where they should be focusing their attention. There are guidelines for balancing your design elements versus the white space.
- Designing in Window’s Paint is a quick and clear signal for DIY graphic design. (Luckily the design gods won this debate and it’s been put to rest!).
- Misusing software for design, such as creating a graphic piece in Microsoft Word, is another way to demonstrate a lack of design savvy.
You may recognize some of your own unsavory design missteps in this list, but you’re on a limited budget and those graphic design tutorials are helping you make strides in your brand messaging and event promotion. Keep in mind that hiring a graphic designer is not an all-or-nothing investment. You can:
- Hire a designer for mission-critical graphics, like your logo and website design and then consistently use your colors and logo in your own designs.
- Hire a designer to review what you’ve started on a graphic design and give you feedback.
- Get a designer involved in a particular campaign where you’re looking for a cohesive look. Measure the impact of this campaign to help you determine when you should hire a designer in the future.
At SJC Marketing, we have an in-house designer who not only does great design but also has that love of design that makes his work stand out in the crowd. Make an appointment to talk with Tony Barmann about your website design or about an upcoming campaign that requires a little design excitement. And don’t worry, Tony promises not to say “eww” out loud during any part of your design review!