Why investing in original design is a good idea


Does rejecting original design and using stock or mass marketplaces pay off in the end? Or is it a false economy? Hint: it doesn’t pay off.

The internet has been a boon for the world. Information is now everywhere and easily accessible. Along with it, we have access to a whole world of digital goods – music, movies, pictures, and even design. You can buy fonts, logos, photography and more with just a click and hey presto you’ve got a logo, or a website, or a brochure.

The cost of digital items of course is low. The premise is that with the whole world as a marketplace, designers can lower the price of the item to sell more and to many. However, with most things in the world – you get what you pay for.

If it’s cheap, it’s cheap for a reason.

Firstly, the original designer put absolutely no time and attention into the creation of the item.
– almost certainly your new $5 digital logo will not have been crafted to resize perfectly, work on different coloured backgrounds, be useable in different formats, or be able to grow and adapt as your business grows. As Dan Ibarra from Aesthetic Apparatus said “(sites like) 99designs are something akin to a Walmart. Not dedicated to bringing you good work, but to bringing you a lot of it. That’s not necessarily better.” The same goes for print sites as well, they can offer you free business cards because they spend no time at all quality checking their process.

Secondly, you lose any chance of being unique.
– if you contract a designer to work for you and they create original content, then that content is yours and yours alone. It has been crafted and thought about in relation to your business and expresses the unique and individual characteristics that only your business has. If you purchase stock imagery or vector icons and logos from stock sites, they will be sold to many others as well. Your lovely new design could be repeated around the world and you’ll be as unique as the next person who buys the circle logo with a name in it.

Thirdly, you’ll have no support with that item.
– try tracking down the original designer of your circle logo and you’ll almost certainly come unstuck. Need amends doing to it? You’ll probably have to pay someone all over again to replicate it properly. Want to get your logo embroidered on a shirt or screen printed? That’s when you find out it hasn’t been supplied as a spot colour vector file. Or the conference you’re sponsoring needs a white out version to go in their programme and you’ve only got a full colour jpg.

Even if you ignore these problems, think about what you’re saying to your customers and how they’ll perceive you. Here’s a picture of some people in an office. Think about what this photo is saying to your customers. It’s saying absolutely nothing; your office doesn’t look like that, none of your staff look like that (check out that guy’s grin on the right hand side – you can probably see his teeth from space!), it doesn’t show how you do business or what makes you unique. Why waste money on something that does nothing for you? Do you really want to tell your customers that you care so little about your service to them that it doesn’t even matter who is in the photo that represents your company?

Business group portrait - Six business people working together. A diverse work group.

Cheap has its worth some times. But ultimately if you want your products and services to be valued highly then the way you represent them should be valued too. Your cheap/free logo, your bargain business cards, and your amazing free website are only giving the impression that you too deal in cheapExpect your entire business life to be one big negotiation.

The Awemous Team