Tag: business

Stock images can damage your business

If I see another little 3d white man with a huge spherical head on a website or as a Twitter profile image I think my head will explode with creative madness ! This little man is soooo over used by small businesses that it shows a lack of understanding of just how important branding and graphic design plays in your potential customers decision making.

Why stock images are bad for business

This may sound like I am being extremely harsh on the little white man and please don’t suggest I am bullying him but your business is a unique entity, unlike this little fellow. By using common stock imagery you are : –

  1. saying that you are just the same as the next business.
  2. you don’t care about your company’s image and marketing message.
  3. and worst of all you are also saying that your service is cheap and untrustworthy!

Consistent brand message

Most medium sized to large corporations will have what is called a branding style guide and it must be adhered to at all times. Some of the elements in the guide can include what fonts should be used, their spacing & curning, the exact RGB, CMYK colours of the brand and the typical images and marketing message that should be considered as part of the overall look and feel of any marketing collateral whether digital or offline.

I realise by using stock images that look the same you think you are being consistent but if that image is seen again and again throughout the web on different websites that aren’t your own business then you are damaging the possibility of selling your product or image to the target market.

When I see people using unaltered stock images online it really disheartens me and puts me off using that business service or product, it makes me feel I can’t trust them and I will disregard them from my retail choices.

Alter the stock images

hills are alive

Don’t get me wrong stock images are great in helping graphic and digital designer gather elements you need to create unique graphics but if you use them as the sole way to “picturize” your website you will simply be putting your potential customers off doing business with you as although may you think the images you have chosen look good the majority of people will see an unprofessional website that shows lack of care, does that really reflect your business goal? I doubt it, your business has personality so show it off to the world!

Other stock images to avoid

The little white man doing various activities is my no.1 thing that makes my creative blood boil to see people using on their digital platforms, I mean, why!?!

But it also gets worse, pictures of random actors trying their hardest pretending to be business people standing in line are common place, avoid them or use sparingly and never use them for your main brand image that is simply a big no no!

Hire a designer

It is probably better to have no images at all if you are going to use unaltered stock images that are damaging your online reputation with potential customers. If you need unique images communicate your message verbally through correct use of heading styles, and contextual information and then hire a graphic/digital designer when your business budget can afford it.

It may seem like an extra expense your business doesn’t need and maybe the cost will seem heavy at first but if the graphics communicate your business message in a unique and imaginative way compared to your market rivals then when people are looking for your service/product they will remember you and see that you are indeed a very highly professional business worthy of doing business with as well as increasing the worth of your business.

I am JAWILSONDESIGN a branding, web and graphics specialist that can help you improve your company’s image in a unique and imaginative way if you should need any help updating, improving or creating a new brand image please don’t hesitate to contact me.

10 tips to trusting a designer?

Hiring a designer to develop a website, logo or something else that requires creativity can be a daunting task. This isn’t childsplay, this is your business and you are giving the designer you hire a lot of responsibility & trust in adding value to your company you have spent a long time developing. Trusting a designer can be hard, like any time you first meet someone, you tend not trust them straight away, trust takes time to build.

In this post I give 10 tips to help you build strong relationships with your designer and in turn, build mutual trust.


Good design takes time


Mona Lisa was not painted in a week and Rome certainly was not built in a day and the creative process hasn’t really changed in those several hundred years passed. A designer needs time to create something truly special, for instance, a simple image for a blog can take anything from 15 minutes to an hour depending upon several factors : –

Creative block or creative flow – ideas don’t always flow, it isn’t like other work where you have the facts and it is just about putting the problems together to create a solution, thinking creatively can flow easily but it can also be hard.

A good image will need to be developed from either several sources or a drawing done by the designer you are hiring, both require time. Time to find the perfect images or time to draw the perfect image in illustrator.

Drawing,Photshop, illustrator, indesign, printing. Whatever the process for creating the design it will take time and you must understand that most good designers do not use stock imagery or will at least manipulate the stock images.

Look at their portfolio

[image] http://www.artshosting.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/portfolio-bg.jpg[/image]

Now looking at a designer’s online portfolio is all well and good but can you trust that their work is 100% their own or is it sourced from several locations pretending to be their own work? I have seen design tweeters reporting their work has been stolen by others pretending it is their own! Very naughty.

Back up what you say

Ideally you will want some testimonials but even these can come into question whether they are genuine or not. Give someone five dollars and they can record a video testimonial on fiver.com. This is wrong to do as it is giving a false image of your company and you are manipulating your potential customers.

Meet Face to Face

Now this may proof difficult if you are in the USA and your designer is in the Europe but technology has moved on and Skype can allow for face to face conversations to anyone , anywhere in the world!

Use your intuition and see whether you blend well with the designer you are thinking of hiring. A good relationship, as well as working relationship is important as the designer will want to do a good a job as possible for you if you have mutual beliefs and design principles.

What can they do for you?

Can they offer you several items of design rather than just one? Logos, business cards, website & corporate documentation? That could save you some money upfront and also increase the designer’s focus on your business rather than sharing it amongst other design projects they have on at that time.

Are their services cheap? Ask yourself why


You get what you pay for is true!

When a designer does something for free or very little compensation their heart just isn’t in it. What is the benefit to them other than some extra work in their portfolio? A design contract has to benefit you both so if you are expecting a bespoke website, with unique images, incredible layouts and interactivity then expect to pay for it otherwise you will find you relationship will not be as strong as you would like.

Agree requirements upfront

With any creative project it is never 100% complete and more and more features can be added, particularly with web designs. Agree up front what you need the designer to do for you and in what kind of time frame you expect them to turn it around, it may be that your requirements are not possible for that particular design agency or it may be that they can do it more quickly, either way, make sure you both understand what is needed.

Sign a contract

Contracts scare people! You feel like you are selling your soul to the devil but the truth is that it is a golden shield to protect you against getting less than what was agreed in your initial meeting. Your designer will have to abide by the law that was laid down in the contract so ensure you have a contract drawn up, it is in the best interests of both of you

Give space but keep tabs

For a designer to be able to focus they need some space.

They understand you are anxious for the design work to progress quickly but the best designers will want to make sure they are doing the best job possible to a high standard and that takes time.

Although it takes time just keep a small eye on what they are doing, you don’t want them to put your work to the back of their to do list when their client list builds, make sure they are doing the work required but keep things friendly and amicable otherwise you’ll have a frustrated and probably angry designer. Believe me, you won’t like them when they’re angry!

Are they compassionate?

[image] http://www.jawilsondesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/compassion.jpg[/image]

This may seem like quite an odd thing to ask but with compassion also comes empathy and with empathy comes an understanding of how important what they are doing for you is and not just creating a wage for themselves. You can discover whether the person you are dealing with has compassion by looking at their Linkedin profile, discovering their likes and interests or maybe they publicly talk about charities and causes they support on their website/blog.


Whenever you meet someone for the firs time you can usually judge whether the person is trustworthy & if they have a good work ethic and whether you can develop a good working relationship with them. Their personality should come across when you spend a coffee hour with them discussing your needs & wants. A few questions you might want to ask yourself when having a informal conversation with the person you a considering hiring are : –

Is the designer approachable? Open to ideas? Can they listen to constructive criticism? Open in conversation & friendly?


Now you have a basic defence to ensuring that you do not get sub standard design work or get shafted from a designer that you choose to work with. If you have any other ideas of how to develop good working relationships with designers please feel free to comment below, your views are welcome.