Your design project has been declined

Love a designer who says “no”.

Your design project has been declinedYou may be surprised to learn that we don’t accept every client or project that comes our way.

Sometimes our design style isn’t a good fit or our values aren’t aligned. We might not be able to meet a timeline or budget expectation. Or on occasion, someone has very, very, very specific instructions for a project, in which case they don’t want a brand stylist’s expertise – they only need a junior designer to put it into digital form. That’s not where our love lies.

Most often, we’re approached for piecemeal work; to jump into the middle of an existing brand and create a business card here, a sales page there. And while you may be thinking you’re doing us a favor by bringing in any job, we’re likely doing you a favor if we decline.

Website only?

Here’s our reply to a potential client’s request for a website re-design. Her logo was made in an online contest and she had already printed business cards. Her hope was that a different website layout would be the answer to more revenue.

Hi, Betsy.

My promise is to only offer the best solutions without cutting corners and with complete transparency. That’s why I won’t draw up a proposal for a sparkly new website. It would be a waste of your money.

What you’re asking for isn’t wrong. In fact, it’s quite common. Most entrepreneurs launch with quick-and-dirty branding and website solutions to “make do” through the first months (or years) of their business: a logo from Fiverr, business cards from the samples at Staples, a Wix website, social media posts made by their 14 year old niece, etc. When it’s chopped up into DIY bits with different designers and influences, you can start to lose credibility. The brand lacks a well developed user experience that has complete consistency, front-to-back. It’s a chicken-egg scenario but I always say, “If you’re not willing to invest in your brand, why should your customers?”

My first impression of your branding was through our call. You were so energized and fun when you picked up! Then I went to your current site and the logo struck me as generic clip art. The colors and fonts seemed dated. So even without getting into the details of your services, my brain was juggling two conflicting brand experiences. It’s subtle, I know, but keep layering collateral on top of that and the audience loses trust and clarity. They might not understand why, but something just feels ‘off’.

You said you wanted your brand to be lively, modern, youthful and simple. That image has to be everywhere – not just on a new site. It needs to be in the sign-up process, in the paper quality that your brochure is printed on (touchy-feely matters), in how you describe your service (not a matrix of niches), the decor of your office (including how it smells!), and even in your recorded voice messages. Interesting, right? I know – I’m kinda nerdy. But this is why some brands light you up and others are…meh.

That’s a long email, but I didn’t want to just say NO and frustrate you. I wanted to explain why because I already envision your brand as SO MUCH MORE  than a website spiff. I think that’s a Band Aid solution for what you really need to make your investment count. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing more.

– Nikki

No cutting corners. No half-baked solutions.

Our design services and packages are for you if:

• you have a clear direction for your business, but don’t know how to translate it visually to attract your ideal customer

• the quality of your current branding doesn’t match the quality of your business

• you’re eager to stand out from others in your industry

• you’re ready to invest in a sharp, cohesive, and professional visual identity

Let’s get you started the right way — because it’s our ONLY way.

Book your 20 minute Brand Chat and see if we’re a great fit.

Related Articles:

5 reasons to rebrand your business
The one branding question you should never ask

Nikki Takahashi

Nikki is the owner, Brand Designer + Stylist at Fetching Finn. She turned her freelance work into a full-time gig way back in 2009. She runs on minimal sleep, maximum amounts of ambition, solid genes, and a lot of Diet Pepsi.

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