Home – New Forums Marketing mastery Is there still a need for good branding?

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  • #967241
    Daniel82
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    Hi Guys/Gals,

    Thought I would ask a quick question. Over the last few years I feel as though more people are choosing to either do their own graphics and “branding” or they are not bothering to do it at all because they think there are better investments to make when starting a business.

    I was wondering – do you all still think there is a need for actual skilled, qualified design professionals out there for a small to mid level business? Or can designers be entirely replaced by “free logo generator” software or the copy of Photoshop they downloaded. This wasn’t an issue 10 years ago.

    Is good branding still an investment or is the money best spent elsewhere?

    I know my thoughts on it but want to get your opinions. :)

    Cheers,

    #1024826
    Past-Member
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    Hi Daniel, I wish you hadn’t asked this … but here goes …

    1. You are an amazing young designer and deserve success too. I have thoroughly gone through your website and if you were one of my students I would be proud.

    2. You talk about 10 years ago – but I talk about 35 years ago. I am told I am an excellent designer by clients having had over 35 years experience in the industry and clients saying they like knowing they can discuss everything with me and more. One client recently told a publisher that there was no way they would use their inhouse services as they had their own designer who was perfect in preparing print files. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

    3. I have had to cope with changes in the industry that were never anticipated – both from pre-computers to post computers. Ten years ago I was faced with a young person saying, ‘aren’t you old to be in design?’ Very bad question to ask a person who knew more technology than they did and whose skills are updated literally every week. I am one of the rare people of my age who combine knowledge with continual updating of skills at a high investment cost to me. I have this ability to absorb learning and weekly update my skills.

    Yes – I know that good designers have to cope with the influx of $50 or $99 logo designs – but if you look at the professional design organisations like AGDA (Australian) and AIGA (American) they ask us deliberately to stay away from spec jobs and the extra low design pits by the logo generated websites. Which is why I can’t get into the discussions listed elsewhere on this site.

    The problem is not only money but perception. The number of times I have had someone ask me in the past 35 years, ‘I don’t really think design is worth anything but my son/daughter wants work experience … can you take them?’ I would have made money if I had charged just for the enquiry. For the record I no longer offer work experience. I can’t manage it.

    David Airey http://www.davidairey.com/ writes amazing stuff on his website and I have his latest book Logo Design Love which I read in one evening but is staying near to me on my desk. He is a designer based in Ireland who is an inspiration in helping other professional designers to stay motivated.

    I have encouraged and motivated young people throughout my entire adult life through my work and my casual tutoring – it used to be TAFE but nowadays occasional online with a reputable design school. At 53 years young I have to re-evaluate again how my work and design services are relevant in this day and age. As a solo I have nothing but my work in the future to live on – so it is very important to me to learn and find other ways of going forward.

    As a young person you have the advantage of not being so weary and not continually comparing to yesteryear.

    For the record … I absolutely love design. I am a designer illustrator with many other skills. I know I am more skilled than many around me and my whole motivation is making sure my clients get more than they ask for. I know both Mac and PC although am Mac based. The industry has changed – just like rocket science. There is no point worrying about the people who use pirated software or don’t do things legally down the line.

    Just be your authentic self – a wise person (Robert Gerrish) once told me that I was one of the most authentic people he had met at the time. Robert, you have no idea how much that means to me right now.

    So hang in there … there are many authentic designers on this site like me, including Astrid among others.

    Yes – branding is important. The design process is important.
    Design infiltrates everything we do.
    Daniel, yes, good design is important.
    You will get clients that appreciate you. Just hang in there and network as much as you can.

    Please contact me privately if you want to discuss more in detail.

    Best regards,
    Karen C.

    http://www.unicorngraphics.com.au

    #1024827
    BrightSpark
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    What can I say after what was said above, Yes I think their is still a need for good branding. There is a big difference between just doing a logo and a branding roll-out. Branding can be from the style and colour of the shirt worn through to the letterhead and envelope that you put it in, to the layout of your reception area and the carpet that is on it’s floor. It invades the whole of the organisation and then from there it permeates out to the public.

    #1024828
    Daniel82
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    Woah.. Karen, that was probably one of the most interesting and helpful responses I have read in a long time on this topic.

    I agree with all of it. I do think there is hope. I guess as designers we have the advantage of being one step ahead. We know good design BEFORE we see it, unlike most other people.

    The sad part is I have to pay the rent and if I try and charge what design is worth, I will have no clients. I’m sure this will change in the future as I build up a bigger client list and my portfolio keeps improving.

    I can’t really expand much more on what you said – it’s all spot on.

    Brightspark – I agree, I wish more people understood what branding actually is. None of my clients ever seem to know what branding/corp id guidelines are, and once I tell them, they don’t seem to think it’s necessary. *sigh*

    Cheers
    Daniel

    #1024829
    Astrid
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    Hi Daniel

    Good posting – and Karen’s answer is spot on as well. Thanks for your comment, Karen ;-)

    I would say there is still a lot to teach about ‘branding’ – this has become such an inflationary expression – and half of the people using it don’t know what it means. Just a logo won’t do it.

    Re your logo question: With all the current run towards the – how I call them – ‘cookie cut style logos’, businesses can face the danger of looking uniform, of not standing out of the competition. Who just follows the trend will get lost in the crowd, sooner or later (and nothing else than copying and trends you see on these spec pages, just because of the nature of this competitive bidding, no one can afford to spend much time on a logo for $100)

    Of course the logo alone won’t make a brand, there is also the rest of the corporate identity to design and to guide.

    There will still be enough to do for good designers. The public only needs to learn again what good and professional designers do – and what role good design has in society – it’s a bit more than you can get out of Photoshop.
    We – same as architects – are the ones who are constantly challenging and changing the way people look at things.

    Of course the perception of good design has suffered over the last years, firstly because of all the schools churning out designers after a short time without giving them the proper tools to survive out there — and also because it’s so easy for everyone, even without a proper tertiary training, to call themselves ‘designer’ …
    How should the public know about the difference if we don’t tell them?

    Daniel, stick to your values and you will see as a result that the clients will come back. It takes a while but it will work out.

    #1024830
    Astrid
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    PS:
    one of my recent blog entries

    Similar topic.

    Cheers,
    Astrid

    #1024831
    Daniel82
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    Thanks Astrid – much appreciated. Good to know I am headed in the right direction :)

    #1024832
    Robert Gerrish
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    KarenC, post: 29381 wrote:
    Just be your authentic self – a wise person (Robert Gerrish) once told me Robert, you have no idea how much that means to me right now.

    Not sure about the ‘wise person’ monicker, but I’m pleased it helped (and I meant it!)

    Robert

    #1024833
    mike@engagemarketing
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    Hi Daniel

    i’m going to send you an email tomorrow but for now I’ll keep it short. A business can be successful without a good visual brand of business identity.

    Having said that, design can be a competitive advantage.

    For example, you move to a new town. It’s a while from where you used to live and you don’t know anyone or any business. There are 5 mechanics in the town. 4 of them look the same, with the Times New Roman signage out the front that they’ve had up for the past 15 years.

    The 5th mechanic has nice branding with appealing colours, a professional font and consistency throughout their workshop and marketing materials.

    Only one of these businesses stands out and purely on this alone, you would choose the new mechanic at first sight. You’ve caught their attention and from there its up to your customer service and the rest of your marketing message to make the sale.

    Thats as practical of an example as I can give! Summary – yes there is still a big need for good branding – It’s just that not everybody knows it.

    #1024834
    Tracey Anne
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    Hi Daniel,

    I’m not a designer, but a fairly new start-up (Oct 09). I was tempted to go el-cheapo in terms of branding but a good friend convinced me to invest in a professionally designed logo and stationery. He was absolutely right and I’m so glad I listened. Until I could actually see my logo and beautiful high-quality business cards, letterheads and envelopes my little enterprise didn’t seem ‘real’ to me. I love my logo; it gives me pleasure to see it at the top of my website and I’ve already had one client say that in choosing between me and another editor what tipped the scales in my favour was that my quote (on letterhead template including logo) looked ‘more professional’.

    That’s a long-winded way of saying ‘hang in there’. There IS a market for your services and always will be :)

    #1024835
    Daniel82
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    All very encouraging responses guys – thanks. I think that having solid brand management just shows that you show pride in your own company. Printing your own business cards on perforated stock you bought at OfficeWorks basically gives a feeling to the customer that there’s no value in whatever product or service you are selling, and that you might skip town in a week when you decide you aren’t serious about running your business.

    If you can see someone has invested good time and money in their branding, it shows they have faith in their business – and it rubs off.

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