So you”ve got your business set up at great expense, employees are on the payroll, suppliers want to be paid and you need to get your project to the market right away.

You have taken advantage of the better rates offered by Direct Media and booked the media space and you now have the platform to get your message across. The only thing left to do is get the ad made up and you”re good to go.

But then you find yourself with a choice: inexpensive ad design or pricier ad design? Following all the recent outlays there are people who would go for the former. However, this may not be the best idea.

Cheap vs Expensive Design

I always say that design is a bit like clothes for your company. So while you would dress appropriately depending on the occasion (for example by dressing sharply to go to a business lunch with an important client), your business should also present itself appropriately for its target market.

Two Extremes: Low Cost Design

The difference between a low cost ad and a more expensive ad is dramatic. Cheaper ads tend to be produced in very little time, which usually means very little time for thought.

Many designers in agencies that produce a high volume of high speed, low cost design work report a kind of ”creative burnout” that comes with being unable to focus on any one project for more than a few hours before the deadline.

Even if more time was given for the production of the ad, then the quality of the work is likely to be lower due to either inexperience or laziness on the part of the designer. For example, if you pay £150 for an ad, even if you give a week long deadline, it is unlikely that the designer will work solidly for that week on your project – would you spend years learning a profession to work for £3.75 an hour?

Having said all this, if a generic advert is all you need, then it could be worth getting something completed quickly and cheaply. At the stage the purpose of the ad will be nothing more than to inform people who would be interested in buying your product or service that your product or service exists.

Depending on your industry, this could be all you need. In the case of smaller music events, some properties, taxi companies, jobs and other items that are needed instantly, cheaper design may be the most cost effective option.rnrn

Two Extremes: More Expensive Design

However, imagine this was the only promotion for the BMW Z4

No PR, no slots on Top Gear, no TV advertising, no press advertising. Not even anything online.

Is there any way at all that BMW would sell so many of these £30,000 cars with such an advert? Personally I know very little about cars, so I wouldn”t be able to give you the ”driver”s review” of the car, but the only person an ad like that would appeal to would be a car enthusiast.

On the other hand, based on these ads, if I had a spare £30K burning a hole in my pocket I would be tempted to get one.rnrn

The reason is stated in BMW”s TV commercial above. It”s because BMW are selling ”joy” rather than cars. Advertising can be engaging as well as informative. People associate products with images, and if they like the image, they will buy the product.

To produce an ad like that does cost money though. While the ”low cost BMW ad” was produced in about half an hour by one graphic designer, the actual press ad would have been produced by a team of copywriters (who help come up with the concept and write the text), photographers (who took original photography of the car in the ”paint scene”), artworkers (who enhance the photography and sort out the layout of the ad) and set designers. The agency involved would have recruited the best in the industry for this type of project and they would not have come cheap. The advert would have been coordinated by a creative director and managing director, account handlers and other behind the scenes people who are essential for the running of the advertising agency.

As well as the production of the ad, a large amount of market research would have gone into the campaign, to zero in on exactly who would be buying the car, and what makes that group of people tick. Bear in mind that this would not have been the only concept presented by the agency involved – a number of options would have been presented to the client before the actual full scale production of the finished campaign.

The results of this level of investment into an advertising campaign are plain to see. BMW are recognised as industry leaders in the luxury car market, they sell millions of cars and command luxury prices for their products. All due to advertising.

So how much should i spend on Design?

It would be beyond reason to expect everyone to spend the same amount on ad design as BMW. Very few companies have the budget of a major car manufacturer, but it is always worth investing in creativity when presenting your product to the market.

A higher quality designer will not only have a higher level of technical abilities, but will also have sufficient knowledge of your target market to ensure that your message gets conveyed as effectively as possible. What point would there be in paying for a large scale newspaper campaign if you simply draw apathy from several thousand people?

The best thing to do when organising the artwork for your campaign would be to keep an open mind with regards to price, but also to ask for a menu of options. Take a look at what”s on offer and weigh it up with regards to your budget.

Remember, no product sells itself, a well planned campaign inclusive of the best design sells the product.

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