Having your own designer vs. using the in-house shop designer; Why every business should have their own designer in between b2b shop interactions

We work with clients of all different forms all the time. Many of them come from this channel specifically, so i wanted to take some time to talk about why I think it's essential to have your own designer and not be using the designer that is hired at your shop.

To be clear, what I mean by a shop designer is the graphic designer employed by the shop you're doing business with. This could be a print shop, an embroidery shop, a vinyl and wrapping shop, etc. It could extend so far as to include design services offered by platforms like Printful, VistaPrint, etc.

Your designer is on your site, not theirs.

Your business likely isn't one well-versed in the world of printing and design. most aren't. That's why freelance designers and graphic design agencies exist. What most people don't fully understand is the difference between these and the designer your local print shop might have working there.

The designer at your shop is on their staff. That is someone who likely wears multiple hats, is always going to be on their side, and will likely make recommendations to you based on what is most profitable or easiest to execute for the business they work for. There's nothing wrong with having loyalty to an employer and I'm not blaming them for being this way and acting in this fashion when dealing with clients of their shop, but when i am getting something manufactured or otherwise fabricated by my local printshop, this is not what i am looking for in my designer.

Put your graphic designer in the middle of dealing with the shops

Whether they are going to be formatting your logo for print, helping you edit your document, or fully creating a new file for you, it;s generally better for you to do that with your own designer and then inject them into the situation so that they can make sure things are being done to your standards, not your shop's.

The skill gap

Graphic designers hired by local print shops are often not graphic designers at all. They are someone who was looking for an entry-level, decently paying job and found that through their searches. When you deal with a graphic design firm or freelancer, that person or brand's entire identity and success is based on the quality of their designs and client interactions. When you are in the design phase of your project, prior to print, 10 times out of 10 you are going to have a better outcome dealing first with your designer to then have them deal with the print shop, get them over the files they need, etc.

Your shop designer's specialty is taking those creative files and getting them formatted to their job. If you're doing a sign, for example, they can take your design, make sure it is to scale, and best format it for the printer they are using and the medium by which they'll be fabricating and installing the signage you're having made.

You shouldn't, for example, ask the sign shop to come up with branding if you are starting out.

Sorry if I am rambling a bit here. Just trying to get all the ideas out.

It doesn't cost you anything to use your own designer

Here's where it gets crazy. It literally costs you nothing or less than nothing to use your own designer.

Every shop that you'll ever deal with (if they know what they're doing) is going to charge you a design fee for using their design services instead of sending them a finished file. By having your files ready to go to simply be handed off, yu're not paying that. You're saving money by using your own designer and having a better experience; it's a gross AND net-positive for you and your business in dealing with b2b shops.

As an example, say your sign shop is going to charge you $1200 for the design portion of getting your signage created. You can often find a good graphic designer locally who is talented and will charge you somewhere between 40-100 an hour. If the sign design takes them 1-2 hours, you're looking at 80-200 bucks. It's that simple and the time they're spending is much more transparent.

Then from there, you forward the shop info and have your designer get in touch and get them what they need. It's a more professional workflow and costs you less. It's crazy that anyone does things the other way. It's pure laziness that would have someone settle for an in-house designer at a print shop instead of having their own designer. That's like having a court-appointed lawyer instead of your own. You can draw all the same similarities.

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