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sional designer to help you. So, you create a logo
yourself and your 5th grade son does your brochure
for you in Publisher or Word. The logo gives a weak
impression of your company and the brochure has
crazy graphics and photos stretched and distorted.
These things really bring down the consumer’s trust
in your company. You would be better of with no
marketing material than bad material that gives a
flimsy impression. Contrast that scenario with one in
which you hire a professional to design a killer logo
that portrays the positive aspects of your company,
like strength, stability, caring, etc. It tells the con-
sumer that this is the real deal. This company stands
behind its product and believes in it. The consumer
feels that they can trust this company. Your brochure
is also professionally designed with the look and feel
of your brand. It gives the right amount of informa-
tion without drowning the reader in wordy, end-
less copy. It has your new killer logo. Maybe some
professional shots of your product in use. It creates
a positive impression. All other collateral, packaging
and websites are designed with the same look and
feel, the same brand, so that there is a consistency.
The consumer knows that this is the look of “XYZ”
company. It is reassuring to see the familiar brand,
you develop a trust with your
customer, and they believe
that your brand is superior
and identify with it.
Where should someone go to have a brand created?
JC: Well, that depends on the size of the company
and budget. You could go with a large ad agency, a
smaller design firm, or a freelance graphic designer.
Agencies will cost the most, because you have graphic
designers working with art directors, creative direc-
tors, maybe a copywriter and a production manager.
They may be able to produce a huge amount of work
in a short period of time, due to the staff on hand. A
freelancer, on the other hand, works generally alone
or in collaboration with say a copywriter, so they tend
to much more budget-friendly, but can take longer to
get larger projects completed. Larger companies with
big budgets have in-house art departments and they
also sometimes hire agencies to create new looks.
Smaller companies usually go with smaller design
firms, or freelance designers. I usually work alone
as a freelancer, but I also have a network of other
designers that work well with me, who I call on when
my client has a lot of work to get done quickly. It is a
good idea to shop around, since costs can vary sub-
stantially. But, even more important than cost is the
connection you have with the designer. If the designer
“gets” you and your product, then they will be able
to more efficiently create your brand. This can be a
personal thing, but the designer should be showing a
good effort up front to really listen to you and under-
stand your business before any design begins.
Does it matter if the designer is local?
JC: Sometimes it can be nice to meet face to face with
someone, but really these days, it doesn’t really mat-
ter. I have clients from all over the country. It is more
important to have a good connection and relationship
with them, which can develop well over the phone,
skype or e-mail, etc.
How do you come up with the brand look and feel?
What if someone has a start-up and has never done this
before, or doesn’t even know how to describe what they want
their brand to say?
JC: I always start by asking my client a list of 10 or
so questions that really help me to understand them,
and things like their product, the personality of their
product, their target market, and what sets them apart
from their competition. This is a hugely important
step, because if we skip it, then I could head in an
entirely wrong direction wasting a lot of time and
money. For larger companies, much of this informa-
tion has already been worked out - they may have
done marketing studies, etc. and it is just a matter of
communicating it to me. But, sometimes clients have
never thought about these things before, and it can
actually be very helpful and sometimes eye-opening
for them to define themselves and know more clearly
where they are headed, brand-wise. I try to make the
process as painless as possible, but I do really encour-
age my clients to take this step very seriously.