Thursday, 12 November 2009

Design - a cost or an investment?

Here we are again, it's been a couple of weeks since my first attempt at blogging and I wanted to return with a connected subject matter. The subject of leaflets also happily sits alongside the half price offer we have this month (that was the only shameless plug!!).

If you have a tax problem you go to your accountant, if you have a legal issue you see a solicitor, so why if you want to produce some marketing do you do it yourselves?

Selling design is not easy, people often don't see the value in others time and for some reason (thanks to the easy accessibility of free 'design' programmes - if i had a pound for every 'designed' publisher doc I get asked to print...) everyone thinks they are a designer. But what is design? I don't have the exact answer but I know it is not the art of making things look pretty.

Like business cards I come across a high number of leaflets both in business and at home, unfortunately many of them make too many common mistakes that can be easily ironed out with a bit of professional advice. It is often the case that too many people see design as a cost and not as an investment, a couple of examples of recent stories below to highlight the fact -

- At home we received a locally based pizza menu, it had obviously had some level of design as it was not overly offensive to the eye but (and this is a big but) the content was just awful, actually scrap the word awful and replace with hilarious, it had no less than 11 spelling mistakes (some repeated a number of times) my favourite was 'See Food Pizza' (honestly you couldn't write this stuff!) they had also managed to spell the name of the village they were based in incorrectly! A simple bit of proof reading would have eliminated these errors and then maybe I would have considered eating there.

- Again at home (why is it always business to consumer people who don't believe in image?) I received a flyer (not actually sure it should be classified as a flyer), this time it was for home maintenance. It had obviously been done in word (not a good start), had a number of the generic clip art images and clearly it had started life as an A4 sheet but in a stroke of genius they had trimmed it down to a wonky A6 with what must have been a blunt pair of scissors! Again a grasp of basic English was lacking, of the 20 words that were on it there was 7 spelling mistakes including diging and cleanning (as you can see there wasn't even a consistency in spelling!).

Am I, or others, going to buy on the basis of what was received? I very much doubt it, the chances are they have either paid someone to distribute these or indeed done it themselves, so in essence they have wasted time / money. As I said in my previous post if you can’t be bothered with your own marketing then people will assume you won’t be bothered in providing a good product / service.

From these and other examples my thought is that some people don't see the real value in design, arguably a poorly designed piece of marketing can in fact do more harm than a well designed piece can do good! By just investing a bit of time and money you can take a simple leaflet to the next level without breaking the bank. My ethos is that we don't design to make things look pretty; we design things to make them actually work!