A couple of weeks ago I got asked a question by one of my clients. He asked “How do you get other clients to hire you if you haven’t designed for their particular industry?” I thought it was a very intriguing question that deserved a few solid reasons why businesses shouldn’t dismiss a designer simply because they haven’t done a site similar or in the same field as their business.
Design is much different than many other professions, especially web design. A typical employer would hire a carpenter for their experience installing carpeting and wood flooring. They would need to have the skills to properly plan and execute the job from start to finish. So, does this mean that you wouldn’t hire a carpenter who hasn’t worked in a commercial building vs. a residential home? It is the same process, just in a different environment. The flooring may have a different look, cover more square footage vs. less etc. etc. but the knowledge necessary to complete either job is the same.
Web design is a process too. Starting from researching the client and their competition, discussing the client’s needs and desires to solve their problems and reach goals, and executing the design. Every client is different. It doesn’t matter what field they are in. Each project requires the same amount of research, careful consideration and planning. If a designer designs one site for a restaurant, it doesn’t necessarily make them an expert. Sure, they are a step ahead on their research on the particular market. And that could be seen as an advantage, of course.
If you are hiring a designer who has proven they can design for multiple types of industries already, why wouldn’t you trust they could also tackle yours too?
This mindset can be traced to any consumers thought process before making a purchase. Whether that consumer be purchasing design services or a new MP3 player. Customers want to know that others have had success with their decision to buy said item or service. If they cannot see the satisfaction via other similar work samples, then how do designers prove there services are worthy of purchase?
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Your designer should explain to you how they will deliver, what ideas they can bring to the table that might be better than your competition, and prove they have the knowledge and have done or can do the research to take on your new industry and project. You’d much rather have a passionate designer willing to put forth the extra mile for your business than a company who considers your business a dime a dozen and doesn’t have a fresh outlook on the possibilities your project could have.
I think there is something to be said about having a fresh perspective on a project too. But, an experienced company can generally charge more because of their expertise. You pay for the security blanket, which is some cases is necessary. For smaller businesses looking to keep within a budget, you should definitely consider a designer who is willing to put forth the effort to take on your project.
If they are willing to do the legwork and research and can prove by their initial ideas that they are worthy, why not? Most designers don’t care to do sample work or “spec work” as it’s often called. But if they are looking to venture into a new industry, it would hurt to ask them to take on a small project that would require much less money upfront and give you a snap shot into what working with them would be like if you decided to hire them for a larger project down the road.
Are you a business owner? What do you look for in a potential designer? Would you hire a designer that hasn’t done work in your industry?