Graphic Design – I’m over it (almost).

Well not totally, but it just seems to get out of hand so damn quickly. I spent the first half of my career carrying on about the importance of BRANDING BRANDING BRANDING and the second half feeling a lack of satisfaction with regards to nailing it.

Why? Because it gets too personal. Every man and his dog jumps on board to talk about the new poster design. Change this. Amend that. We forgot to include the 50 logos or the 7 drink specials or “I don’t like that girl in the picture”, or can’t you make it look like this one….

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. It’s about what will sell the message, get noticed by the target market and sit within your brand.

I first drafted this blog post in 2012 – the same year that Canva was founded. Wowsers has that changed the landscape. By 2015 it had amassed 2 million users. And who are they? Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure they’re not Graphic Designers. It’s no wonder apps like Canva and Easil are taking off in Aussie pub / clubland – finding the balance between price / speed / turnaround / QUALITY with an experienced designer is bloody tough. Pubs & clubs are pumping out Graphics every day – no wonder they’re all looking for an answer, but if I see one more Duty Manager sitting out the back trying to choose the right font for a poster I’ll SCREAM. There are customers at the bar! (And you didn’t go to design school, dude).

Let me ask you this: If I took one of your posters and moved 20 metres away from it, would I still be able to tell that it was yours? If the answer is no, then maybe you need to take a second look at how your brand is being represented.

This year, I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen the very worst of DIY from surprisingly large hospitality businesses, and then medium sized businesses outlaying upwards of $70,000 a year JUST FOR GRAPHICS (ok there’s some video and photography thrown in to that mix). Maybe that’s the right price. Maybe they’re getting ripped off. The truth is that there just doesn’t seem to be a hospitality industry standard that I can see being reflected across the board.

$90 an hour is a fair price for a highly skilled Graphic Designer, and you really do get what you pay for when it comes to this stuff, but even the best designer needs a clear & concise brief, and that’s where the Marketing expertise comes in to the equation. The designer is sitting there staring at a blank screen – without giving them direction, he / she will spend precious time (with the meter ticking) just “mucking around” with a few concepts to get a feel for what might work.

When I put a brief together for an external designer on behalf of my clients, I often spend a good 30-60 minutes on it. The designer gets the exact copy, the demographic I’m reaching out to, suggested images that I’d like to see and an overall “vibe” clearly outlined. This all saves TIME and therefore MONEY in the long run.

But hey, I’ve been doing this for a lot longer than your Marketing Co-ordinator / Manager probably has. All these “tricks of the trade” are skills that can absolutely be learned. Good habit forming for young Marketing recruits looking to form a career in hospitality can make a sizeable difference to your expense lines, remove day-to-day frustrations (for you and them) and pave the way to branding success! Leave me a message if you know someone who might need a hand… 🙂