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Cheap, Freebie “Design” Tools Are Not Really About Design At All

They’re slick. They’re cheap. Their sales pitches look convincing. And there are some very well-respected people promoting their services. But they have absolutely none of the virtues of what REAL design brings to business.

Dragged and dropped, templated, clip-arted, cheapo do-it-yourself “design” tools do not really produce design at all — at least not the type of design that can truly transform your business and take it to new heights. They are Trojan horses — fakes, frauds — cake decorating applied to something that should really be taken a lot more seriously: your business.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t a place for what those tools have to offer — there is. But only within the larger context of a professionally planned, strategic design and branding program. They can be helpful in extending an established brand and design strategy, for day-to-day activities such as creating images for a blog or to share online.

Cheap, Freebie “Design” Tools Are Not Really About Design At AllBut too many people seem to be playing around with those tools and using them as the foundation for their entire brand image. And unfortunately, it is not likely to be a good one. There is no consistency from image to image, poor branding and amateurish typography to name a few. Most importantly… the strategic component is completely missing! The images don’t fit in with a bigger design and branding strategy that determines how the individual pieces fit into the larger puzzle.

The result? A fractured brand that does nothing for your brand other than raise questions in the minds of your intended audience and business prospects. That’s a huge no-no in a distracted world where time is limited and clarity is key. Plus, your images look like everybody else who is trying to save a buck. Not exactly the answer to one of the most common business challenges in today’s world — carving out your unique corner amidst all the noise.

The bigger strategic picture

If you truly understand all that real design can do for your business — I don’t think you would waste time going down those paths. Sure, it can be fun, but shouldn’t that be left to things other than something as important as your business? I don’t know about you, but I think of arts and crafts as something you do on a rainy weekend — not the foundation of your business branding, marketing and communications.

Professional design pays for itself

One of the biggest benefits of working with a real designer is the holistic approach we bring to your branding and marketing — using good, custom design to create a cohesive program that not only stands out, but clarifies your business in an instant — visually unique, across all your channels. We interpret information and distill it down to its essence, and then communicate that in a visual manner that people will understand in a glance, driving it through all your communications — online and offline — all the while influencing behavior to achieve your business objectives. Only REAL design will do that, because nothing ties your content back to the vision you have for your business like good design and a smart visual strategy. It may cost a little more, but the dividends are more than worth it — just ask anyone who’s done it.

Don’t entrust your business to freebies

Time is slipping, slipping, slipping… slipping away… the more time you spend playing around with the latest, greatest freebie tool and not engaging with the power of real design are more missed business opportunities.

So stop wasting precious time that your business will never be able to recoup, and start working with a professional designer who has the knowledge, experience, talent and strategic outlook to get you where you need to go. Arts and crafts can wait for later.

Featured image courtesy of stock_xchng.
Photo illustration work: Paul Biedermann, re:DESIGN.

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