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Do you design a logo or website if we can articulate exactly what we want?

Feb 23, 2018

Do you design a logo or website if we can articulate exactly what we want?

The best content for your website and marketing comes from you.

From your head, from the conversations you have with clients, from the questions your prospects ask.

So if that’s the case, if you’re really keen and enthusiastic, can we design a logo, or a website, or a graphic, or whatever you need when you know exactly what you want?

I’ve had a few accountants ask me this recently, and it’s an excellent question.

It means that you want to be directly involved with your own marketing. It means you care. You’ve been thinking about your firm, and what it stands for, and everything you want your website or brand or marketing to be.

There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of designers who can do exactly what you tell them to do. You sketch out your idea, tell them you prefer blue rather than orange, and show them a few logos you like. They do what you ask, you get what you want, and everyone is happy. Right?

Right, unless you want to know whether what you’re asking for is actually the best fit for your accounting firm.

Most accountants I talk to tell me, “I’m not a marketer” or “I’m no graphic designer” or “I’m not creative”. That’s not true, by the way. Everyone is creative. Including accountants. We passionately believe and stand for that, and our mission is to draw out that creativity and help you be a better marketer.

But it is true that there are elements of brand, and graphic design, and website building, and marketing, which are new to you. Which have changed since the last marketing conference you went to. Which could completely change the perspective you have now.

Here are a few things to remember when you are choosing an agency to work with on your brand or design:

1. Be flexible and open to expert advice.

This presumes trust, of course. But once you’ve chosen a creative agency to work with, be ready for some of your suggestions to meet with a bit of push back.

If based on our experience (in brand design and with accountants) we either disagree or have different opinions, you’ll be open to those and willing to consider other angles.

2. Do you really want someone who doesn’t challenge you?

If all you need is a logo that you tell a designer to create, and they essentially obey you and make what you want, you can do that. You could use a freelancer or outsourced company like Tailor Brands or 99 designs. You may even get something you (and all your clients) really like.

But no one likes change. It’s hard to be challenged on things, and be pushed to think differently. Your friends and family will not encourage you to change because they love you for who you are. Your clients may not be too excited about change because they’re comfortable with what they know. (Think about the uproar every time Facebook or Twitter makes a little tweak to their UI. The whole world seems to rise up in rebellion and then a few weeks later forget that it was ever any different.)

Certainly finding a designer and telling them what to draw for you is cheaper, and faster. But I’m guessing they won’t tell you if they disagree. And if you insist, they’ll do what you want, without challenge.

3. You’re building confidence in your brand, not simply designing something.

It is entirely possible that during a brand or website process we would agree with a lot of your suggestions and ideas. It’s even possible that the end result is very similar to what you considered at the start.

But we’ve done enough of these projects to know that sometimes even the slightest adjustments can make a huge difference to the impact and strength of your logo and brand. And we’ve seen projects go from “I definitely want this” to “wow, you’re right, that wouldn’t work at all.”

Part of what a great creative project does is give you the confidence in your brand. Even if your final logo bears a remarkable resemblance to what you dashed off with pen and paper, or apple pencil and ipad, it’s not simply “a logo” that you have. It’s all the meaning behind it. You know why every line is there. You chose colours carefully, with purpose and intention. The angles and curves and shapes tell a story. This story is one you can tell to clients and buyers, and it builds trust.

It’s not about saving thousands of pounds or dollars and getting a freelancer to throw together what you want. It’s about absolute confidence in who you are and how that is visually represented.

4. What will you do after the project is complete?

We encourage accountants to go far beyond the logo. Beyond the website build. Beyond the project you’re working on to things like:

  • How will the logo be used?
  • What elements of it can be used in other ways?
  • How could it be animated?
  • What imagery, icons, graphic design, photography will complement your logo?
  • What’s your tone of voice?
  • What content will you be creating on a regular basis?
  • How will you share it to the world?

5. Your opinion matters.

When you know all these things, it’s still critical that you feel that your opinion has worth when you share it. You won’t be dismissed or ignored, but every suggestion will be considered and if it’s not the best one, there will be a good reason why.

Work with an agency who values your opinion and ideas. Who encourages you to share sketches and thoughts and word lists and questions.

After all, the best content for your website and marketing comes from you. Whoever you work with has to believe that – no matter how many discussions and changes are involved to get to the best result.

If you’re thinking of working with PF, start with our one-on-one branding workshop in the first instance. If at the end of those sessions you decide you don’t want to go down the full brand project route with us, you’ve got our opinion and advice to consider, and no hard feelings. And if what you get is valuable and helpful and inspiring, your project is already underway.