Our best tips for saving money on your graphic design bill


Before you can start saving money on graphic design, you first need to have an understanding of how design agencies work.

Large agencies employ both creatives and designers and despite the fact that these two things appear to be the same, they are not.

Creatives are the ideas people. When a client approaches a large agency to design a piece of marketing collateral, the job of the agency creative is to come up with the underlying concept and copy and imagery for that piece. Once they’ve done their job then they hands things over to the copywriters to come up with the words for the piece. Only after these two professional have done their job do they pass it on to designers whose job it is to bring those ideas to life.

If you have lots of money, then you can go to a large agency and get them to do all of the creative, copywriting and the design for your marketing piece.

Boutique agencies like Swish Design have amazing designers in-house (and a copywriter by the way – me!), but no dedicated creatives (because generally speaking our clients can’t afford hours and hours of creative work.) Our designers are more than capable of doing the creative work that precedes design work, but this can quickly cause the cost of the job to double or even triple.

So the most obvious way to save money on your graphic design bill is to do the creative and copywriting side of things yourself. I won’t say it’s easy … but it gets easier with practice 🙂

The AIDA principle is the most useful thing to think about when trying to write copy and do your own creative. Before you hand things over to your graphic designer you need to have addressed these four things:

A – ATTENTION: Is there something in the copy that grabs the reader’s attention.

In other words – have you written a great headline? A great headline usually asks a question ie “Do you find it hard to lose weight?” or poses an idea “It’s time to shift those unwanted kilos”

I – INTEREST: Does your copy engage the reader’s interest?

This is usually done by indicating you know what the reader’s problem is: “We know it’s hard to find the time to exercise/eat the right foods”

D – DESIRE: Does your copy create a desire for the reader?

Are you telling the reader you know how to solve their problem? “We have developed a simple eating plan that guarantees results in 2 weeks”.

A testimonial also helps here: “I was 15kg overweight and in despair but 2 weeks after starting the xxx program I had already lost 5kg. I couldn’t believe how easy it was!”

Creating scarcity is also a useful technique: “The first 15 people to sign up get a 50% discount”

A – ACTION: Does your copy include a very strong call to action?

There should be no doubt for the reader as to what they should do now. Do they call a number, visit a website, send an email? The action you want them to take should be clearly indicated and easy to do.

Once you’ve addressed these four points you should be able to provide your designer with the following:

  1. All the copy (words) for the piece in a Word Document
  2. The images for the piece or an indication of what kind of imagery you would like to go with the piece.
  3. You might even provide a sketch of how you envision the piece looking. Click here for an example of a sketch someone provided us with … and the final piece.

In short, saving designers from guesswork is the single biggest thing you can do to save money on your graphic design job 🙂


2 thoughts on “Our best tips for saving money on your graphic design bill”

  1. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this post. I think the biggest single mistake is that people think the design comes first, and the words come after.

    Not only have you pointed out how to save money, you’ve saved the business owner precious time, and you’ve also removed so many of the frustrations that I hear about.

    Good stuff!

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