Choosing Who
Does Your Branding

By Martin Steinhobel
Content
Branding
Design

What are your options?

When it comes to doing the work, you have a number of options, each with pros and cons. You might be tempted to have a student do the design work, or you might decide you need to use a large firm; get ready, they will not be cheap! There are options in between that most likely will work better. Here is a quick rundown on the pros and cons of the most common options you might consider:

Student

Using a student to do your brand identity work will be somewhat hit and miss. Do they really have the ability and experience you need? Do you really have time to manage a design project or the brand design experience you will need to make this work?

Freelancers

While there are definitely some freelancers out there doing good work, you won’t find them among the low-rate ones. Having spent the time and effort developing a clear message and a solid plan, be sure you vet any freelancer you plan to work with if you decide to go this route. Review sample work, and interview prospects before making any final decisions. If you find you have to work via email or some app or whatever – simply avoid. You need to be able to develop a relationship with your designer, and this is not going to happen via instant messaging! Also, remember that you get what you pay for, so be sure you understand exactly what will be delivered. Note that there is a big difference between a .psd or .ai file that has been flattened and one that retains its layers when you come to make basic changes down the road. My recommendation is to avoid this route unless you have a recommendation from someone you can trust.

Small design firm

While students and freelancers are typically working alone, the small design firms will include a number of colleagues. This is very helpful as they will be providing feedback to one another which only improves their design work. What you need to look for is a design firm that is interested in collaboration, has a good portfolio of work, and is going to be able to understand your business. Be aware that some design firms are very ‘design’ centric and pride themselves on artistic and creative ability. While this certainly has its place, as a technology consulting firm you will be better off working with firms that have a solid understanding of business goals and the marketing process, and can work with you on presenting your message in a collaborative manner.

Hire your own designer

You can always hire a designer. Having in-house design capability can be very beneficial and provide you with ready access to design talent, but unless you have or are going to have a lot of design work, this may not be the best solution from a budget perspective.

Large Design Firm

Larger design firms clearly have an edge, but unless you are also a large business, you are unlikely to get their best talent applied to your project and you might find your project falling through the cracks. Also, you will be paying a premium that might be better invested elsewhere.

Do it yourself?

Unless you know the difference between a font and a typeface and have a clear understanding of grids, I would suggest not doing this. Think about it: your customers are hiring you for your expertise and experience. You know very well what a difference this makes to your ability to produce good results. It is the same with branding. Designers are talented, experienced, and trained professionals who will inevitably do their craft better than an amateur.

What’s next?

Think carefully about how you want to proceed and choose the option best suited to your needs and budget, but before you decide – read on!

Want to learn more about brand identity?

Check out our Complete Brand Guide!

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