Design Business Decisions That Make A Business


Typically in a design business like this one, someone like myself – a graphic designer, creative or such – will be engaged someway into my prospective client’s process.

This differs from job to job, but a business idea would have already been conceptualised, developed, and URLs purchased, way before the time my phone rings.

Sometimes the venture idea is very new, and other times they may have been trading for years. But in most cases, design is more an afterthought.

Then, an interesting predicament often follows once a creative is engaged to say, build a website or develop marketing materials.

This happens when we try to solve fundamental business problems with design.

The design process itself is quite revelatory. In solving a problem (for example: reaching more customers), it involves analysis, distillation and truth.

Design Solves More Than Problems

To me the design business is actually a lot closer to psychotherapy.

To produce engaging communications, requires a process of encapsulating and refining a business proposition. It makes us think about who we are, what we do, why we do it, and why should anyone care.

Many times in my career this process has literally derailed entire projects.

I can recall many examples to this, such as the client who wanted to develop a dynamic news-orientated website, only to discover they had no news.

The client who wanted a press campaign advertising a product, but with no call-to-action.

As such, I stopped taking on projects based on a under-developed business idea.

Though it often cost me the job, I began to advise certain prospective clients away from buying design.

Instead they should use whatever resource they had earmarked for logos and websites, into better defining their ideas.

So if you have a campaign, product, service, or venture and you’re considering buying design, I recommend engaging a creative early on with a considered design brief.

A consultation with a a creative might flag up any glaring business issues in the first instance.

Before that, here’s a quick checklist of business considerations you should consider before contacting anyone:

  • Can you describe your idea in a single sentence?
  • Is there real demand for your service/product/offering?
  • What’s driving you to do this venture?
  • Have you taken any steps to soft-launch your idea?

As well as these points, seek out advice on buying design from reputable design business organisations, such as the Design Council.

And remember, the best marketing you could hope for is a better product.

– Greg Bunbury


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