DIY design vs Pro Design

August 23, 2018

8:46 am

How great would it be if everything was easy to do yourself? If you always possessed all of the skills necessary to make things happen in a blink of an eye. You’d just WHIP and ba-baaam!

How do you know that you will be better off by hiring a professional, or just simply do it yourself? What are the cons and pros of each option? It also depends on the amount of money you are willing to invest, and how much risk it is involved.

Lean bootstrapping is great for development and certainly not new to the digital era — it’s just more acceptable and less expensive than it used to be. Remember how all of those tech companies started out? It certainly wasn’t by initially hiring professional engineers!

The idea to let your creative side come out to create something new is exciting and fun. However, if you need any real work done, you should let the pros do it… just because there’s always someone more qualified than you.

Let’s weigh it out together, shall we?

Designing a logo or a brochure can take up a lot of your time if you don’t have the skills or the appropriate tools. Not only that, but not everybody has the aesthetics vision to create something that functions and looks good. A promotional item needs to speak to an audience for it to be effective.

Laying out typography, knowing what’s the best font to pick so that the content is readable, using a grid (and what kind of grid?) are just some of the things that will make or break a Design. Even (inexperienced) designers can make such mistakes. But aren’t we all constant students?

There are options out there that allow you to purchase a pre designed logo or brochure to use as base for your final project. That is a great place to start from. There some risks with that as (with anything), one is that you will end up with a design that so many other people have, and if we are talking logos, it defeats the purpose of it all together.

Just a disclaimer: we believe in creating a company from scratch using these shortcuts. Everybody starts from somewhere. However, they are shortcuts, you get what you pay for! We also believe in supporting companies with beautiful design that simply works for them and their audience — that’s why we exist for.

DIY design in the short term is indeed cheaper. In the long term it will most likely stop to serve you after your biz matures. DIY Design is great if you have close to 0 budget, and you want to get started by bootstrapping your company. You can always hire a design studio to work on a visual identity later. * wink wink *

DIY design will take longer than you expected. If you purchase a template online, you will notice you will need Illustrator and Photoshop, sometimes even Indesign… Which will require you to ultimately learn how to use these tools. If you don’t have the time, hardware or patience to learn, you might as well just hire a pro service. Plus, these tools cost too, even Affinity products can be a better option, but they still cost.

We all know information is at the tip of our fingers and there are tons of options out there for you to try out — which can be a rabbit hole in itself. Options basically never end and there’s always something new to learn. Be smart with your time!

Turn around time for pro design is generally faster depending on the kind of project and will look 10x better than what you can pull of. Even if you are an artist, design is not art, and the confusion and mix can do more harm than good to a project. It’s a common mistake to approach designers with an illustration that needs to be a logo. WROONG. Why? Do you go to a doctor prescribing the medicines you should take or do you let him diagnose the problem for you? A drawing or illustration is not a logo, so keep it simple 🙂

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DIY lasts less than pro. Lifetime of a logo for example, will be just as long as your business values and mission remain the same. But you will need to figure these out first in order to design a successful logo. But let’s face it, you basically don’t even know where, when and how to use mission and values on your branding. Where to start with that? The stuff sounds boring and unnecessary, but it is in fact the heart and soul of your marketing… and that’s an example on why DIY lasts less. A visual identity that is based on strategy and business goals will justify itself, and will speak to the right audience too.

DIY websites can be done easily if you are starting out. With so many tools out there like Wix and Squarespace, you can create a decent looking website that will do the job. And you can improve upon and on up until the point you need a functionality and you can’t have it or don’t know how to implement. For example, e-commerce websites, booking, event organization, product galleries will never look the way you want with out of the box designs from those tools. There’s also the matter of security. Depending what kind of marketing and commerce options you offer, you’ll need certain standardized practices in place so you don’t pull your hair out screaming WTF is going on.

When we talk about websites, even some agencies cheat a little bit with that. Using pre-made themes instead of authentic design. Also, when you lack the knowledge, there’s just so much you can do, but as a startup, a pre-made theme will suffice, since there are tons of customizations you can do upon the basic given theme (you just need to do some learning!)

It is known that some designers in Fiverr use templates so they can offer a cheap design, so keep your eyes peeled for that too. I’ve had people turn to me to ask to redo their logo and whole visual identity (after they had already spent a fortune on Fiverr) because they’d end up finding out that it was a template or the result was just hideous. If you have the bucks to go to a service like that 2-3 times, you are probably safer going to a professional in first place. That’s not exactly DIY mode, but people often look for cheap and end up screwing themselves over.

You can never compare the results of DIY with the ones from a Pro. If I tried my hands on some plumbing our house would be full of water in no time… So that’s why I hire a plumber! But if I am in the middle of the night and my sink fills up, sure, I will do my best to let the water flow, but I will still need a plumber before it explodes all again.


 How to find the right brand design studio or designer 

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About the author

Julia Braga
Julia Braga

Founder of TRUU, she is a technology lover. She did her first logo when she was 13, and never looked back. Loves music, photography, horses and video games. She is also known as The Branding Girl and has an Youtube Channel. She's the person who's gonna walk you through your project!

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