Reasons to use a graphic design agency

There’s an old saying that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. It’s is certainly true as far as marketing is concerned – a bad first impression will be your last impression…because they’re gone!

Today’s rarest commodity.  Attention

We live in a world of information overload where people are being swamped by the tsunami of “stuff” breaking over them 24/7. A hyper-competitive world where thousands of businesses, organisations and individuals are all clamouring for our attention. A world where consumers already have most of what they need and are spoilt for choice. 

So, when people come into contact with your brand or offering, you have about a millisecond to engage their interest. Making a great first impression has never been more important or more difficult!

It’s all about look and feel

When someone lands on your website, sees your pop-up, glances at your packaging, glimpses your press ad, passes your exhibition stand or picks up your leaflet, appearances are everything – the way it looks creates an instantaneous emotional reaction. 

The process is so quick that it’s not conscious, logical or considered – it’s just a rapid firing of neurons across the brain, producing what you might call “a gut feeling”.  The shapes, the colours, the typography and the images combine to create an effect that’s positive, negative…or nil (so dull it doesn’t register at all!).

What about the words? If the visuals don’t instantly grab the eyeballs and create subliminal engagement, that person is gone – a great headline and compelling copy are both wasted if the “look and feel” doesn’t stop them in their tracks.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy

So, when creating a terrific first impression is so vital, and so much about the graphics, you’d be crazy not to hire a graphic design agency – it’s a no-brainer, right?

Sadly, however, the idea of DIY design has been steadily gaining traction. We all have access to a computer, and the graphic design tools have become more accessible, affordable and easy to use. You can download images, typefaces, and whole templates.  We’re constantly being told how easy web design is with Wix or Weebly or WordPress. Any dummy can master Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDraw… awesome design is just a click, drag and drop away!

All the gear, but no idea

This promise, that all these tools will set our inner designer free, is a compelling one – but sadly it’s not true.

The tools, no matter how capable or easy to use, does not turn the amateur into a professional, the beginner into a master, or the talent-free into a design genius.  Today’s digital cameras can do almost everything for you – but they still won’t transform you into Annie Leibovitz or Ansel Adams. We all have a kitchen – but we are not Jamie, Gordon or Nigella.  You can buy a Fender Stratocaster – but you’ll never play like Jimi Hendrix. 

It’s the same with graphic design. Some people have “an eye” and others don’t.  Some people know what they are doing, and why, while some are obviously clueless. Studying art and design, then practicing for hours, weeks, months and years, does actually make you more skilled, more aware and more experienced than someone who has never given such matters more than a passing thought. 

The fact is that a professional graphic designer, someone who successfully earns a living in this field, will almost certainly do a better job than even the most enthusiastic amateur. 

Pick a professional – but which one?

If you seriously want your business to succeed then hiring a professional graphic designer is not a luxury but an absolute necessity. It will obviously cost you some money, but attempting to do it yourself is a false economy. Amateur graphics make you look amateur. The only customers you are going to get (if you get any at all) will be looking for products and services that are cheap. Much better to create a brand that fills people with confidence and persuades them you can be trusted to add real value to their business.

Once you’ve accepted that pro is the way to go how do you select a design company that is a good fit for your business? Major global brands, with substantial budgets, feel safest with big name consultancies. If you are a smaller business, however, it makes sense to find a design company staffed by people with big agency experience and top-flight ability, who have started up on their own. The fees will be much lower, and you’ll be working with the owner or senior partners (not palmed off on the office junior!). Beyond that, look out for the following qualities:

  • Experience and expertise. How long have they been in the industry? Have they spent some time learning their trade in a well-respected agency? Have they worked on a good range of clients across lots of different sectors? Does their portfolio include some famous brands as well as smaller organisations? Do they offer a blend of graphic design and digital capabilities?
  • Creativity and flair. Is their work exciting, surprising, eye-catching, engaging, motivating and memorable?
  • Commercial awareness and results focused. Do they have a systematic approach that enables them to solve awkward business problems and help clients achieve their commercial goals? Are they skilled brand builders and expert marketers who can give you a clear explanation of the strategy that informs the work they have done for each different client?
  • Good listeners who understand what you want. Do they ask the right questions and really “get” your business, your market, your challenges and your vision?
  • People who you can work with. Are they a nice helpful bunch who will be responsive, turn stuff around quickly and whose fees are reasonable?

Guess who ticks all those boxes?

You’re right – SandisonPay! We would say that, wouldn’t we? But our clients agree:

I have worked with Claire and the ever-growing team at Sandison Pay now for well over 3 years across various business and personal projects; not once have I looked back. Honesty, professionalism and a high level of service are at the centre of what they do for me.

Gianmarco Fiorentino
Owner, Biltong Bokkie