Most times when I introduce myself and my business, I see people cringe inwardly. A question comes to their minds and emanates like an aura: “Why should I outsource my web and graphic design when I can create my own look in Microsoft® and save money?” It’s times like these when I feel like a history teacher trying to impart the significance of the Boston Tea Party to a group of students who want to be anywhere but in school.
Web and graphic design are symbiotic entities, two different processes with differing approaches that are essential elements of a modern company’s structure, no matter how many are employed within its organization. A “corporate look,” including logos, stationery, brochures and other marketing materials, and a website, are some of the first things people see that represent your company. Consistency, artistic know-how, and careful planning are the keys to creating a “brand” that plants a positive seed in your prospective clients’ minds, impelling them to patronize your business.
In-house personnel who have no design training are forced to work within a system that dampens creativity and restricts them to the limited abilities of the software to create that corporate look. In addition, the end products of this in-house design, especially website design, can be extremely confusing to those who use them. A website created in Microsoft® FrontPage or even Word, without any alteration of the final product, will most likely only be fully utilized by someone employing Microsoft® Internet Explorer. Netscape, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Konqueror users, just to name a few, may not be able to enjoy the functionality of your website, nor may they be able to purchase products from you if your programming is not flexible enough to support their browsers.
You and your company should recognize early on the limitations of the more popular programs as well as the limitations of the person(s) who will be creating your corporate look as far as experience in graphic design techniques and the language/coding behind all of a website’s glitz, glamour, and functionality. For example, creating a website in a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) program may give you what you want visually, but the file and graphics may not be optimized to use the least amount of bandwidth (load quickly so they don’t go to someone else’s site) and simultaneously give the viewer a pleasurable using experience. In the same vein, graphic design of stationery or a brochure without properly optimizing the graphics will produce more costly headaches for your company when the printing company charges you extra for fixing your files.
Companies that think doing web and graphic design in-house will cost them less will actually spend more time and money by creating end products that aren’t satisfactory and have to get them redesigned.
Other costs to consider include the time and effort it takes to:
o find affordable server space if you don’t have your own
Internet-accessible in-house server,
o update your website as needed,
o upload your files securely to the server, and
o train your personnel to create and maintain it all.
By outsourcing the vital corporate marketing elements of web and graphic design for your website and corporate look, your company will save money on staffing efforts, training, benefits, and full-time payroll costs and get products that best represent your company. Isn’t a higher ROI and better corporate standing just what every company looks for to stay in business?