So you think you are not an artist? Not surprising, according to one of the top designers at Hallmark Cards. Gordon McKenzie tells a story about visiting schools and getting the same answer, over and over, when he asked students to raise their hands if they were artists. In kindergarten and first grade classes, EVERY hand went up. By second grade, only about three-fourths raised their hands. By third grade, only a few held their hands high and by sixth grade, NO ONE had a hand in the air.
This does not omen well in a world where designers are key to the transmission of messages.
Daniel Pink, author of “A Whole New Mind”, says design is a combination of utility and significance. He says, “A graphic designer must whip up a brochure that is easy to read. That’s utility. But at its most effective, her brochure must also transmit ideas or emotions that words themselves cannot convey. That’s significance. A furniture designer must craft a table that stands up properly and supports its weight (utility). But the table must also possess an aesthetic appeal that transcends functionality (significance)."
Two graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design took this awareness of significance to a whole new level when they founded www.airbnb.com In five years, their startup has grown to a company reporting $500 million in transactions. It allows homeowners to rent their spare rooms and has been called the world’s hottest hotel chain.
They did many thinks “backwards”:
So if you are NOT a designer like Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia and Paul Graham, make sure that the designer you hire is someone who “gets” your vision and your product.
When it comes to traditional marketing collateral like brochures, flyers, and other print materials, who should you let write them? You have several options.
A lot of people try that, but let me tell you why it could be a big mistake. You know your business. Maybe too much. How difficult is it to take a step back and view it from the outside? For most business owners, it's difficult. Writing your own brochure could mean that you tell too much, don't tell enough, or miss opportunities to highlight the benefits of your product or service rather than the features. Let the professionals do what they do best.
A better alternative to doing it yourself is to hire a ghostwriter. Many ghostwriters are very good at writing copy. That's why they're ghostwriters. But not all of them are graphic artists so while they may write a great brochure, who's going to design it? You'll still have to hire a graphic designer to design the brochure.
A marketing firm will handle the process of creating your marketing collateral from the start. A good marketing company already has relationships with graphic designers and ghostwriters and can oversee the process from beginning to end, picking the right person for each piece of your collateral. And it can often be done less expensively than managing the process yourself.