Two things to keep in mind when working with a design/marketing agency.


1. It’s your Investment

Great graphic design is a good investment. 

Here’s a fictional scenario to showcase the above:
Sally has founded a new accounting business and is starting to gain a foothold in the local market. She has begun to turn a profit, but needs to reach and impress more prospective clients. How should Sally reinvest in her business?

Should Sally (A) buy a new furniture set for her reception area, or (B) work with professional graphic designers to brand and market her business?

The answer is simple, right? While the value of a slick leather couch is obvious and a crucial part of an afternoon nap, a powerful brand can convince clientele before they even get a chance to be seduced by your full grain upholstery.

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It’s tough for some people to see the value of, and invest in, something intangible and initially undefined (like a logo and website). It’s easy to budget for the familiar, the tangible. Too often, the sofa/garden sculpture/new set of pens/matching desks and waste baskets win rather than an investment in great design and branding. Is this wise? Not so much. Striking branding, which differentiates your business from competitors and speaks directly to your target market audience, provides a far better return on investment (we’re not lying – see this).

This is a silly scenario, but you get the point. While you can’t nap on it, drive in it, or accessorize your walls with it, great design has a much greater reach and is almost always a better long-term investment. Choose your priorities and spend smart. You get what you pay for.


2. Be picky about who you work with

Not all graphic design is equal. In a world where design software is available to anyone with a computer, only some have the training and experience to create effective, timeless design. We liken it to The Builder vs. The Architect; do you want a custom house designed for you? Or a cookie cutter model identical to your neighbors? Anyone with design software can create you a (probably unimpressive) logo, but there are real qualifications associated with professional graphic design.

In the words of Dr. Ralf Speth (CEO of Jaguar), “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design”.

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Check with your designers before you start working with them:

  • Do you like their past work?
  • Do they have accredited degrees associated with graphic design and/or marketing?
  • Do they have experience?
  • Do they give awesome high-fives? (liking the folks you work with is key)


Like architecture, graphic design has a long and colorful past – it didn’t just crop up with the latest Adobe Creative Suite upgrade. Respect the craft, and you’ll get what you pay for.

We’ll go into more details regarding the true value of effective design in our upcoming blog series (Five Reasons). For now, check out this book written and designed by our very own graphic design professors and mentors (Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady).


Elma is a partner and Creative Director at Highline.

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