Here is a wake up call to so called designers.
More so, for the people who are running their own “web design firms” that resell cheap templates thinking it is good business.
It is not.
I’m going to take a dip into a local design firm’s portfolio to reveal what I think is a complete mockery of good web design. Yes, I realize that I’m the co-founder of Slocum Design Studio. This isn’t a post to bash the competition or make my products and services look superior. It’s about changing your perspective – whether client or designer – that we need better wholesome design in 2011.
Complete solutions that build a better business for your design firm and for your client.
What we are learning
- Identify poor web design
- What to look for in a great design firm
- A look into 3 examples of a local portfolio
- Design better in 2011
What To Look For In A Great Design Firm
If you have recently worked with a design firm – how did they treat you?
- Were you satisfied with the experience?
- The team?
- The price?
Here are 3 traits, other than their design capabilities, that make a great web design firm.
1. Did They Design For Your Purpose?
Web design or identity design is not just about putting out a tangible “drawing.” This is usually the first mistake with folks searching for a design or selling the design.
More often than not, there is no regard for scale when choosing a design for yourself or your purpose. Most think that scrolling through a clipart gallery and crafting the title in Comic Sans is good enough.
And that’s just it – “good enough.” The balance between cost, time, and quality.
Learn the purpose of your product, your company, or your idea. A great designer will research and discover this with you and craft an identity or design that matches. This results in a design and identity that scales with your growth.
A design that truly resembles who you are and what your purpose is.
Did your last firm research and identify purpose with you?
2. Fighting The Competition
No matter what you say, your competition is everywhere.
Even if you are a non-profit looking for donations, your competing against the eyes and ears of potential donors.
It’s our job to evaluate what your competition is doing.
- How are they marketing their services?
- How are they grabbing the attention of customers?
- How can we position you to succeed against them?
You want a team that is passionate about you succeeding as the client. Don’t sign up just to be another notch in the portfolio belt.
How much time did your firm spend on analyzing the competition for you? Were they passionate for YOU?
3. Supporting You In All Efforts
Not just a chew and screw effort – this is where most small firms and freelancers fall off.
- Need high end photography? Call a photographer.
- Need HD Video? Get a videographer.
- Need business advice? Grab a consultant.
A great firm should be able to support you in all efforts. Most importantly – support you for growth. At Slocum, we have all talents in house and ready to go for any given project.
You want a strong company that you can fall back on when you need support. When you are looking to launch a new business effort – a great team to brainstorm with.
I’ve seen a lot of clients bounce from firm to firm because they weren’t offering XYZ.
Start offering XYZ and do it right.
Did your last firm support you in all efforts? Support the product or service you purchased from them after a year?
A Look At Bullshit Design
At Slocum, we understand that budget is a great concern for clients. Not everyone has a marketing department looking to acheive the most innovative design concepts possible.
We realize this and have crafted our own budget and time concious product called Slocum ME Services.
What happens when a firm undercuts in price and sacrifices great design? You suffer.
Let’s Play: What’s Wrong With This Picture
Notice the happy family celebrating their new purchase!
Funny. The same happy family bought the same house from a different realtor?
What Went Wrong?
Web design aside – there is something extremely wrong with using the same stock photography across multiple local business sites.
Let alone real estate websites.
This designer is not only hurting himself, but damaging clients at the same time.
If I’m someone looking to purchase a home from either of these realtors – their website is my first stop. What kind of credibility do they have to the consumer when we see all the same photos?
The designer has cut corners to save cost, sacrificing design, credibility and ultimately taking money out of the realtors pocket.
I want to know, how does this sit with you?
No More Bullshit Design In 2011
Let’s make a pact right now.
No more bullshit design in 2011.
If you’re a client looking to buy into new web design, identity, or print design – take the time to find a quality team. I can help.
If you’re a design firm – stop cutting corners.
With the economy the way it is, there are plenty of freelancers you can hire to augment your services. Stay off template sites and marking them up for resale. This isn’t a gas station – it’s other people’s business your building.
If you don’t understand that – I can help.
So let me know, if I’m being too harsh or unrealistic – speak up in the comments. Share with us some poor design experiences of your own.
(This article inspired by Julien to Spot The Idiot.)
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