Design Budgets You Can’t Afford

  • by Christine Batta
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Many nonprofits can be reluctant to hire a professional design team for their branding needs. Design projects can come off as expensive or you have heard stories of how project costs have gotten out of control. The truth is hiring a professional design team to work on your brand can be one of the most reasonable and impactful investments you make for your nonprofit. You just need to come up with a budget and plan with your designer and stay with it.

Here are some design budgets you can’t afford and how to avoid them.

Someone who can’t make up his or her mind

A big decision that will impact the success (and bottom line) of your design project is picking the right person to work with the designer. Choose someone who is focused, understands the brand and knows what the goals are. Some individuals focus too much on what the visuals look like versus what is trying to be accomplished through the visuals. You can lose a lot of time and overspend on resources going around in circles. Focusing on people's personal preferences is also a messy tactic that is not recommended. Good design is focused and decisive. The final design should be the product of the process and arrived at with reason.

Someone who can’t control or communicate with their people

You are in the middle of the design process. You are coordinating with one person, ideas are gelling and everything is going smoothly. Then you show the project to other people and everything starts falling apart. This is a sign that the nonprofit’s team is not working together. The project leader for your nonprofit needs to manage the different opinions and sell/stand behind the decision made and the process. This communication breakdown will cause the designer to have to redo things, which will affect both the budget and the deadline. Things also tend to veer back towards a messier design based on a visual preference of what people like rather than the brand-focused decisions made by what the project is trying to achieve.

There may be points where valid concerns arise or other circumstances require someone new to be brought in on the project. The representative of your nonprofit needs to decide when the right point is to bring new people in and allow for this time in the budget. Communicate throughout the process and make sure everyone is on the same page for what the principle goals are.

Let your designer know who the people are that need to sign off on the final design and let them help you. Designers cannot reach out to people they don’t know exist and nothing is worse than presenting a final design and a key figure isn’t onboard with all of the decisions.

Not considering time as part of the process

Few factors impact the budget more than asking for things last minute. Contacting your designer should be considered part of any event planning. Reaching out to your designer as soon as you know an event exists can help to avoid rush fees. Events that require promotions, programs, etc. need to discussed well in advance.

Waiting too long can result in rush fees from both the designer and the printer. This can result in things being overlooked and mistakes missed that require fixing. All of this equals more time and more money. Everything should be finalized before sending to the printer. Proofs cost extra and take time to process. Never count on being able to make edits at this stage.

Budgets can get wildly off course when you’re paying for rush design, rush print, rush edits, then additional proofs and processing time, then reprinting. All of that equals money, money, money.

Professional design work can be a great investment for your nonprofit and at a reasonable cost if you appropriately plan your deadlines and budget. If you are interested in learning more on how to budget professional design into your nonprofit’s mission the SW Creatives team would love to work with you. Contact us now.

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