Today, thanks to all the free software available, everyone can be a ‘designer’. If you are just starting out and you don’t have the budget to pay a professional designer, the free software can be a God-send.
There are countless design blogs to guide you through the basics, from which fonts work well together, to how to manipulate pictures and free graphics. They’re easy to use and have amazing tutorials with built-in templates. But… although the free software packages are a great place to start, they can’t replace the professional designer. And here’s why.
5 Reasons why you need a professional graphic designer
As creative professionals, we’ve paid large sums of money towards studying, and have slogged our way up through the ranks in design studios or advertising agencies, climbing the ladder through Typesetter or Desk-Top Publisher, Layout artist and Finished Artist and Graphic Designer, before reaching the dizzy heights of Art Director and then Creative Director.
Every layer adds to our knowledge and ability. It’s what gives us the depth we can then bring to the work. It allows us to see beyond the logo. It takes years to gather the knowledge we have, as well as the skill to use it.
It takes a lot more than free graphics software to create award-winning, sales-earning, brand-building graphics. Graphics that not only work but have legs. Graphics that will survive the growth of the company as well as inspire it and become the foundation of your brand identity. That’s why, although some people will readily create a logo for US$50, companies like Nike will pay hundreds of thousands for one and the very necessary brand bible.
The process of creating starts before we sit down in front of the computer to action the design. The process begins with researching what your competitors, both local and internationally are doing, brainstorming, sketching and refining.
We know what is involved and why. For example, why certain fonts work better than others for your company in your industry and why certain colours will be the death-knell for your identity. Free graphics software doesn’t come with that built in.
Apart from the aspects I’ve already mentioned, my profession also involves creative problem solving, together with understanding design terms, spending hours sourcing the right fonts – seriously hours on just fonts, experimenting creatively to achieve ground-breaking work, working with a wide variety of brands and working with other creative professionals.
Free graphics software only has so much it can offer. No matter where you work, whether at a design consultancy, an advertising agency or as a solopreneur, you still need to buy expensive materials, invest in fonts and stock libraries, buy and update computers and pay for licensed software, if you want to stay ahead of the game and be relevant. Your project may even require a specific photoshoot. And that will require a professional photographer.
Professional graphic designers are always learning, not just the software updates, but what’s happening design-wise internationally. To add value to our clients we need to move with the times. In fact, we want to be leading the pack. This is why we say the free graphics software packages are a good place to start but will never replace a professional.
Even if you think you can learn what I know, do you really have the time and patience it will take while working on your business at the same time? Do you have enough time to really invest in and focus on something a design professional has already spent years learning? Here’s another question – do you expect me to share that knowledge for free?
Graphic design is one of the most important aspects of creating your brand identity. It takes a group of professionals collaborating together to create a complete persona for your company that will not only put you on the international stage but successfully keep you there. Contact The Digital Alliance today for all your brand identity needs.