DIY Graphic Design: Is it Worth it for Businesses?

Years ago, DIY graphic design really wasn’t something an everyday business owner could get into easily. A licensed copy of Adobe Photoshop and the skills to use it proficiently and setting it up to print at the desired scale, for example, are not exactly easy or straightforward even today. 

What’s changed? Free, relatively easy-to-use online tools such as Canva have broadened access to graphic design and lowered the bar so that just about anyone can create a nifty design in a matter of minutes.

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Are Free-to-Use Graphic Design Tools Any Good?

Of course they are! Canva is massively successful around the world for a reason, and the design possibilities are flexible and useful for everyday designs. As for offline tools, Inkscape and GIMP are open-source software programs that replicate the functions of premium Adobe products Illustrator and Photoshop respectively.

The problem for your average user is that these latter programs have steep learning curves. Heck, even Photoshop has so much potential that goes unused by people that have studied graphic design for years! Think of these tools a little like Microsoft Excel: just about anyone can create a simple table without using 99 percent of the power of the software, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Similarly, these programs and their premium alternatives for graphic design are extremely powerful in the hands of a professional graphic designer with years of experience. And getting back to Canva – yeah, it will get the job done for a birthday card or a university presentation slideshow, but its free features are quite limited and you may be disappointed at its lack of potential for high-quality designs.

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Can I Learn Graphic Design for My Business?

Nothing is stopping you from learning how to use Photoshop or an alternative software suite so that you can create simple designs. However, many of these software packages may seem unintuitive, so be prepared for a steep learning curve.

Alternatively, you can assign an employee with a marketing background to complete simple graphic design tasks for your business. On the plus side, you may be able to brainstorm design ideas.

A major consideration is your expenditure of time and resources towards coming up with designs. The more time you or your employees spend coming up with designs and learning how to use graphic design tools, the less time you’re creating value within your organisation.

Think of it like taxation and accounting. Every business owner should have some knowledge of Australian taxation and accounting principles, but few actually have the time or are willing to risk filling out their statements themselves – that’s a job for an accountant. Graphic design consultancies provide a similar leverage of organisational time and resources by doing what they do best, while letting you provide helpful input and getting back to creating value.

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Is DIY Worth It?

It’s always great to learn new skills, and having basic graphic design skills is just one more helpful skill. However, when it comes to business designs such as branding, signage, and more, leave the job to a professional graphic design firm.

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