My work keeps piling up today which means I really should be working on client projects right now, but I had to stop and write this blog post ASAP because I can’t take it anymore. I have to stand on my soapbox and scream out to all small business owners something very important.  Here it goes, brace yourself for disappointment: “You are NOT a graphic designer so quit trying to be one”! Read it again and remember it.

All small business owners wear multiple hats, but please take off the graphic design hat.  Just like you shouldn’t do legal work for your business without a law degree, you shouldn’t be designing without design skills, experience, and a great eye.

Go Fetch Marketing’s co-founder, Brad Howard is a graphic designer.  Clients actually pay him good money to design. Graphic design isn’t his hobby, side job, or just for kicks job. He isn’t an interior designer or photographer, who now thinks he can be a graphic designer.  Graphic design is his career, his passion, and his education (Fine Arts Degree).  Brad has an eye for graphic design, almost 4 decades of experience in multiple industries and in multiple mediums. He can design logos, websites, brochures, billboards, environmental interactive displays, signage, and any print design.  He can whip up a nice painting or sketch my daughter a quick pencil illustration of a cartoon character.  He is a designer, illustrator, and artist.

You think you are designer or you think you can hack something together because there are so many great tools out there on the Internet but remember, “You are NOT a graphic designer”.  I understand the “shoestring” budget.  Most of my clients have a small budget that we try and work with, but if you don’t have the funds to start out on the right foot in terms of design and branding, please regroup, rethink, save more money, and then go for it.  You can even probably find some great graphic design students still in college and pay them on the cheap to design for you.

I promise you, if you spend your tight budget in the right areas, in the long run, your marketing will be more successful.  Leave it to the experts to design things for you. In today’s noisy world, you can’t afford to be glanced over on the Internet and social media because your graphics, brand, or logo suck.  You can’t get away with clip art anymore or putting together crappy flyers in a Word Document. It is time to leave it to the experts.

I have had multiple clients over the past month attempt to put together their own graphics and it looks awful. I am fortunate enough to know a little about graphic design programs to be dangerous, but I also know I don’t have an eye for design so I never would even attempt to design something.  I let Brad and our other designers set the vision and I just help guide the design by setting the creative direction, but often times the designers steer me back and say NO for good reason.  That is when I stand back and let them do their job, just like they stand back and let me do my job.

Let me give you an example.  Just this week, I was struggling with some websliders for a WordPress website that Brad designed. I had changed the site layout so much that the sliders just didn’t work anymore.  I thought I could fix the problem so I attempted to attack it with my limited design skills.  The logo on the sliders was getting in the way of the photos and I kept playing with the logo (shrinking it, moving it, etc….).  I then thought I didn’t like the black gradient on the sliders so I started messing with that.  After about an hour of failed attempts, I got frustrated and quit.  I had Brad take a look at it and in about 5 minutes he fixed the problem. He quickly realized everything was too busy on the site and took off the logo and black gradient. Guess what? It was the perfect fix. I spent an hour of frustration on something that Brad resolved in 5 minutes.

I am certainly not saying you can’t fiddle around with some photos for your blog or make great posts on social media with pictures and videos but when it comes to complicated design and your branding leave it to the experts.  I promised it will pay off in dividends in the long run.  I will tell you when you can DIY and save some money but graphic design isn’t one of those areas.  Feel free to offer your vision or suggestions for how you would like your brand presented, but then stand back, be patient and I promise a masterpiece will arrive.