15 June 2021

Debunking creativity

In this post, graphic designers Meghan Doran (Lateral North) and Ellen Forsyth (Twig Education) aim to debunk creativity, shedding light on pricing and demonstrating the process behind every finished project.

As a business, it is worthwhile to be able to stand out uniquely from the crowd. Something that can help achieve this is branding. It may seem easy to go onto a logo maker and make one yourself, but it is important for the final result consider the following questions:

  • Does it fit with your target market?
  • Does it communicate your ethos?
  • Does it communicate your services?
  • Would it work well on a business card and a website or an app?

This is when a creative can be extremely helpful – they are able to create a bespoke design that illustrates your specific vision and values, works across a variety of formats and entices the target market that you’re aiming for.

A brand goes beyond just a logo, there are multiple elements. Managing this journey on your own can be difficult; a designer, copywriter, photographer or a videographer can guide you through and help your business discover a tone of voice, a visual aesthetic and much more.

As the importance of digital continues to grow a potential customer’s first impression is often through a digital platform such as a website or social media. Creatives and designers have the skills to create memorable content that helps create an enduring impact, which in turn can improve customer retention and company growth – all good things!

A creative can add value to your business through their skills, experience and competence. These personable elements allow them to understanding not only your needs but the needs of your target audience, something a logo generator would struggle to do! By creating something that is bespoke to your business, you can begin the process of standing out from the crowd.

Working collaboratively with creatives

Before seeking out the skills of a creative it is important to explain what it is you’re looking for in a brief. A brief is ideal not just for the creative but allows you detail and manage your expectations of the project.

A brief should also consider budget. Open communication surrounding budget is always helpful; it allows the creative to gauge how they can help you in the best way within a budget and come to a strong collaborative agreement. If this seems daunting don’t worry, a creative will be able to advise and help you in this, especially if it is your first time operating in this space. It is worth highlighting that during these initial discussions you might come to the conclusion that your budget is too low considering the outcome you’re looking for. At this point you may wish to consider looking for a different solution or investing more in the project.

A creative should be able to break down their work and time, providing you with a solid understanding of their pricing and costs. If you have not previously worked with creatives then seeing a flat rate price may leave you shocked. However, don’t be afraid to ask for a breakdown of costs into justifiable pieces of work. This process is all part of building trust between business and creative. Before beginning the project, everyone should understand each other’s point of view and highlight shared objectives.

Price always depends on what a creative is being asked to do. As a business it is worth understanding what the industry as a whole is charging. Some helpful resources in this space include Nikky Lyle’s fool-proof salary guide which covers a variety of different creative freelance salaries across different experience levels and careers in the industry; Nikky also has some other fantastic resources to help with portfolios and pitching. Intern has also recently created a programme towards pricing right. As a client, exploring these resources will also help you develop a more realistic budget for projects that may require a creative. Additionally, there is a variety of creative freelancing communities that can help you discover the best creative for you; Lemonade Gang and In The Collective are helpful, supportive and all-around lovely groups.

The creative process

It can be easy to look at a piece of design work and not realise how much work went on behind the scenes to create it. Let’s take designing a logo as an example.

Research: this is such a key part of logo design that can include research into target audience, competitors, the company itself and its history. All of these areas need to be carefully considered before design takes place.

Idea generation: the next stage of the process is generally idea generation, sketching ideas, writing down key points and important features for the logo to have. It is important to note that these key stages take TIME and without these important initial steps, the final design may not have the same impact.

Development and final touches: it is only here that the final logo may start to take shape. The ideas will be tested and developed with early concept ideas often changing considerably. But again, this stage will take some time to get right before finally refining the logo into its finished form.

However, a logo isn’t what makes a brand, you have to consider every visual part of your business, going through the same steps for each and every asset. This is what takes time and inevitably money; investing in good design is key in creating a captivating, trusted brand and business.

Having a well thought out brand identity is a key part of creating a good first impression with potential customers, building trust and ultimately standing out from the crowd. Online logo building tools do not provide the unique skills and experience that creatives draw on to create totally distinctive outcomes. Hiring a professional designer or creative can give your business an edge over the competition.

Continuing to use creatives such as photographers, copywriters and illustrators as your brand grows can also help to further strengthen the brand’s image. By working collaboratively with freelancers, together, you can create and build a brand that is engaging and successful.

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