We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but in a world full of endless choices and service providers, your agency needs a leg-up in the design department. You’re not going to optimize your sites with just the 6-hour Adobe CC course you took when you were bored.
(We’re not even going to mention the pile of other things on your desk that you need to finish.)
You may be an absolute maverick at designing and launching sites, but imaging and design are entirely different animals. When it comes to developing an impactful brand, you owe it to yourself to bring a designer on board.
Time, money, and professionalism are all considerations when it comes to hiring a designer, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to look and sound good.
After all, first impressions are the longest-lasting, and to draw in the clients that you want, your first impression—and your clients’— need to be flawless.
What can a designer bring to the table?
You are a smart, creative, and savvy individual who has a record of making your clients happy. You have an eye for detail, you work hard, and you know how to build functional sites to create a user-friendly experience.
But your creative vision, your perspective, and your time only extend so far.
What’s more, even if you do have a knack for dreaming up concepts, you have to dedicate your efforts to all of the areas of your agency. If you’re trying to simultaneously bring in more clients, you’re not going to have time to dedicate to aesthetics in the way you should.
Cue: unimpressed clients, leading to an unhappy you.
So let’s look at what a designer offers, besides the obvious benefits of their job description and your time.
There’s no doubt that you have some experience working with imaging, or at least seeing how it affects the layout of your site. You’ve probably also seen some absolute trainwreck sites (not yours, of course!) with images sourced from all over the place. Yikes.
A designer assures aesthetic harmony in the images used on your site. They will ensure that each image contributes to a comprehensive and evocative message.
Streamlined, targeted audiences through visual cues
Just as a designer can make sure that all of your imagery works together, they can also ensure that your imagery’s layout, themes, and tone is appropriate for audiences that your client (and you) are trying to reach.
Whatever the emotion, age group, or lifestyle you are trying to attract, a designer guarantees that the targeted users will come—and stay.
Knowledge of trends
When was the last time you checked in on Pantone’s Color of the Year? (It’s ‘Very Peri,’ by the way.) When did you last study the trends your target audience is following at this very moment?
Don’t worry. If you haven’t had time to, that’s okay.
A qualified designer’s skill set includes the ability to create a consistent color palette that is on-point with current preferences and evokes the reaction you’re looking for in your audience. They can also use visual languages and references that put you ahead of the curve.
Who knew that there was so much power in a palette?
(Hint: your designer did!)
Alternative (and informed) perspective
You might be absolutely brilliant at design, but you could always benefit from a second set of eyes. It helps us catch a myriad of minor errors, layout points that you might have overlooked, and any tonality or messaging oversights.
When it comes to preventing client-based headaches, a designer is a valuable weapon.
In which areas can a designer be the most effective?
A good designer is accustomed to having their fingers in many different pies, while staying hungry for new challenges.
Need a new, more powerful layout to set a client apart in their field?
A designer’s got you covered.
Need the visual strategy for an ad campaign?
The designer will help you with that, too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a designer’s experience—and prepare yourself to be both surprised and amazed.
How should I go about choosing a designer?
If you’re going to entrust the look and feel of your clients’ sites to someone else, you need to be comfortable with their work. Here are some hints for making sure that you find a designer that fits your budget, profile, and vision.
Consider your objectives and needs
How many sites are you currently managing, and what are their needs? Are your sites needing a total makeover, or simply some touching-up to stay a bit more relevant?
Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your designer is the first step to ensuring a good fit.
Check out more than just the portfolio of their previous work
You’d obviously never hire someone without a decent amount of experience, but you also want to see how they do what they do. Designers, after all, are artists, and you want to make sure that both their style and aesthetic range match your vision.
If there’s any doubt whatsoever about the scope of their portfolio, ask them to create a small project. (You will pay for the sample project, regardless of whether you hire them or not, of course, because you’re a good person.) That will give you a real-time idea of their skills and your compatibility.
Have a chat!
This next step in choosing a designer is crucial because it serves a threefold purpose.
First, you need to make sure that you define expectations in terms of deadlines, output quantity, and more, so that there are no nasty surprises after onboarding your designer.
Secondly, you need to ensure that you can communicate clearly with one another.
Third (and above all), you want to be sure that you find someone you enjoy working with. Both you and your prospective designer know some clients can be nitpicky and frustrating. You want those ceaseless, tiny tweaks to become inside jokes, not lead to resentment.
Your Designer, Your Brand, and You
As you continue building the next phase of your agency’s potential, don’t overlook that there are people available who can save your sanity and enhance your agency’s offer.
With the correct, collaborative designer, you and your agency can realize so much more than you had previously imagined.
May your future be bright (or pastel, or minimalist black-and-white—whatever works for you.)
If you need help choosing a designer, GoWP would love to chat with you about it! Schedule a call and see if our design services are right for you.
In the meantime, check out this article on the importance (or not) of a designer by WebsiteBuilderExpert.
And if you’re still unsure about taking the plunge, talk to other experienced agency owners in our Digital Agency Owners Facebook group! They can help point you in the right direction and discuss the pros and cons of hiring a designer with you.