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5 Reasons Why You need to Hire a Freelance Graphic Designer Early for Your Startup

 |  Jurij Radzevic

Importance of a Freelance Graphic Designer in Your Startup

Small businesses and startups have a lot on their plate already. An entrepreneur is burdened with a series of tasks that must be properly executed in the early stages of the business to ensure the venture has a solid foundation. 

These include creating an appealing logo, appropriate social media pages, a design manual for the creation of content and other design-related tasks specific to the product (and these are only the tasks relating to the visual identity of the business). All of these elements form the company image as perceived by the consumer. 

In a world where what you see is what you assume, a startup simply cannot compete with other more established brands if it doesn’t look good. The first impression a customer gets of your business affects their feelings towards it, and determines whether they will be interested in your product or not. From a marketing point of view, it is easy to understand how not hiring a good designer early on is one of the biggeest mistakes a startup CEO can make. 

Graphic design has emerged as a crucial aspect of a company’s image. As the image is everything in the corporate world, those who do not place importance on it will barely survive the brutal competition. Hiring a creative graphic designer early on can only increase your startup’s chances of survival. This is of particular importance when you take into account that up to 90% of startups fail. Not convinced? Below are several reasons why you need to hire a good designer early on. 

Who is a Graphic Designer?

Freelance graphic designer

Graphic designers are notorious for coming up with elegant and refined job titles, like digital artists, or Crayon Evangelist. While to some their job seems straightforward and self-explanatory, the most talented have an understanding of how to create aesthetically pleasing designs. It may seem simple, but give it a shot yourself and you will realize it takes more than a couple of InDesign workshops to master this skill.

Companies hire graphic designers to ensure their image is both consistent and up-to-date. Business leaders recognize that these designers’ talents are integral to company growth as without them, advertisements online, in print media or in TV commercials would be drab and lifeless. These advertisements are essential for the promotion of a brand, and especially a new brand. Think of the importance of these activities when launching a new product, or when trying to keep an established product top-of-mind. 

A product being top-of-mind implies that the customer is more likely to purchase a company’s brand than other brands. An example of this would be what comes to your mind when the word ‘beverage’ is mentioned. Most people automatically reply with “Coca-Cola”, because it is top-of-mind in its category thanks to effective marketing. All of this is made possible with the help of graphic design.

6 Reasons why you need a graphic designer early?

  1. It saves time:

You can save time by dividing visual identity work between your graphic designer(s) if you are so lucky to have more than one. When starting out, entrepreneurs often attempt to learn graphic design skills, to understand its importance to their business.

However, small business owners should focus more on getting a broad overview of the business than involving themselves with the minute details of graphic design. Your expertise as an entrepreneur lies in the oversight of all business operations, from supply chain to management of finances, and to graphic design. 

Leave the individual graphic design tasks to the professionals who are capable of performing such tasks better or quicker than you. This will increase your efficiency right from the get-go.

This does not mean you will not have a say in what is being designed. You still have to specify to your designer exactly what you want. It merely removes extra work from your desk, allowing you to fully channel your focus to business management instead. As the saying goes, time is money. 

  1. It saves costs later on

Hiring a good designer from the start can help save you costs later on. Why? As your business grows, graphic designers naturally become more expensive, as the size of the company dictates the expected salary for such roles in many cases.

Having someone from the start allows them to grow with your business in terms of salary progression. This is fairer for both parties, and you also get the chance to form a better bond with that graphic designer. If all pans out, the designer will feel more loyal to the business as it grows. 

You also save the cost associated with hiring a graphic design company. They are typically much more expensive than hiring an in-house designer. Freelance graphic designers can also be hired on a per-project basis. They lower costs even further as the amount of content you need at the beginning is less, and as such, they are a great asset for new ventures. The only difficulty is finding the right one. 

  1. It gives an edge over other startups:

Freelance graphic designer

Imagine an established visual identity whilst still in an incubator program. With a sleek and polished image from the get-go, you will have a brand that also presents your company as having a competitive edge. 

Imagine you are currently in an incubator program and you are actively seeking investment. As an entrepreneur, you know that a corporate investor is necessary for your startup, and you want the best chance of securing one.

Startups can be prone to poor visuals in promotional and communication materials, but only the most creative and visually appealing content will be remembered. Your edge over other startups increases your chances of survival and entry into big markets. Creative content also promotes brand loyalty, and early in the business, this will make you extremely competitive. However, this depends on the skills of your designer and your instruction in creating smart designs. 

  1. Aids in creating a brand early on:

Visual identity is a huge part of creating your brand, and branding is key in pulling consumers to your product or service. Building a brand is something that startups often struggle with, especially as startup founders often have a high degree of technical knowledge, but limited experience in business.

This should not discourage the aspiring entrepreneur however, as there is breathing room for error in the initial phases of a company’s lifetime. Businesses inevitably morph and shift in their visual identity as they grow in size and better define their niche within the market.

It should be noted however that hiring a graphic designer can be of tremendous help to you along this journey. Understanding what is effective - what your customers will really respond to - in terms of a visual identity will be critical in generating awareness for your brand, and ultimately sales. A graphic designer can help you to bring your ideas to life in ways that those without a designer’s expertise simply cannot not do.

Whilst customers do not expect a startup to have a consistent visual identity from day one, there should be an evolution in your brand as the business grows. Marketing is a form of story-telling, and loyal customers expect to be taken on a journey, and in pursuit of this a graphic designer will prove essential.

  1. Gives a fresh perspective:

As a startup, your graphics may suffer from a degree of monotony. This happens when entrepreneurs take it upon themselves to handle the graphic design even though they are simply not good at graphic design, and end up thinking along a single train of thought. 

A graphic designer helps to avoid this by bringing new perspectives to the work. They can also help revamp your startup’s look to improve its image for customers and investors alike. A good designer will also listen to the business owner and suggest improvements to their ideas. Apart from bringing the entrepreneurs’ vision to life, they are crucial to completely refreshing how a company looks.

Imagine preparing for an investor pitch. You know what you want to say, but without the appropriate visuals, your concepts will be difficult to follow for your potential investors. One of the secrets to a great pitch deck is effectively communicating your ideas visually, and a graphic designer has the vision for such tasks.

  1. Graphic designers understand budget constraints:

Freelance graphic designer

As a startup, finances are always tight. Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to economize in order to maintain the business’ liquidity. A graphic designer understands this reality and is willing to work accordingly.

Graphic designers are capable of working within a budget too. For example, they won’t make full-color designs if your firm can only afford two. A graphic designer will also ensure they do not go beyond the budget for a website as well. Instead, they can develop a small website, leaving room to slowly enlarge it as the business grows, to make sure it reaches the desired goal. These goals are set by the entrepreneur themselves to ensure accuracy. 

The earlier a graphic designer is hired to work for you, the more time they will have to adapt to your financial situation. This gives them the ability to design accordingly. 

Conclusion

The initial team you build is the one that is going to take your business forward. A great graphic designer can ensure the business’s goals are kept in mind while he/she designs the content. You need to make sure they can be trusted with the company’s important documents. The logo is your identity in the business world and entrusting it to a graphic designer is a huge risk.

However, once the designer is on-boarded and feels comfortable within the company, the startup has a greater chance of truly becoming successful. There will be times when the entrepreneur and the designer will clash over a design but that only goes to show you have hired someone who cares about the business. This level of care is essential in employees when you start out because the market can be so cut-throat. Be careful with the decisions you make today so you do not regret them tomorrow.

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About the author

Written by: Jurij Radzevic

Growth hacker with experience in digital marketing and SEO. Graduated from The University of Southern Denmark with a master's degree in marketing, globalization, and communication. Currently working as a Head of Digital Marketing at Valuer.ai in Copenhagen.

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