Don’t Lower the Bar

I want to talk to you about e-design.

I have received a lot of questions about e-design in my live Q&A calls. They’ve mostly been about whether we should lead with this. Should this be the new front end of my web site? Should this be the new thing that we’re doing, the “magic” next great thing that should be happening right now? And the answer is actually NO!

I’ll get into this a little more, and I apologize for being a bit on a rant. I opened up the June edition of House Beautiful, and there were four pages on e-design, touting about how it would be less expensive for clients because the designers would have less to do.

The Problem with E-Design

And you know what? It’s not true. My take on e-design is that it’s something that was invented by venture capitalists as a place to put their investment money, creating another one of their business adventures.

And the purpose of that business is to sell cheap furniture, which generally ends up in the landfill in four years (not creating good design). I don’t think we should be a part of that. It’s just not a very attractive situation. I also don’t like it because they sell design services so cheaply.

In order to make this work, the designers they use must be beginners trying to make a living. However, it’s really diminishing their personal value as well. The whole pricing idea is that having the client ordering and measuring themselves, it’s less work for the designer, which is why it’s less expensive.

It’s not true at all. I think this is all coming to the forefront for us, because there are lots of internet people, such as online advertising and website salespeople. They are jumping on it as the next best thing we should do, and therefore, they could sell more of their web services to you.

The problem is that when they don’t know or care what your business is, it’s just something new for them to sell. So, take a minute and pause on this, because this is not a good thing for you.

How E-Design Impacts Attracting Your Ideal Client

Why isn’t this the bandwagon you should jump on? Because it doesn’t address your ideal client. Think about it. This is the type of client who wrings their hands over $100. This is the type of client who will always want you to find it cheaper.

This is not your ideal client. It’s not the person you want to work for. If you do that, this client will take you in the wrong direction. And quite frankly, if you have a business that you are moving upmarket and trying to get into high-end design, or you have good high-end clients and an excellent high-end brand, please don’t do this.

You will end up diminishing your brand. You will lose that top end to gain the stuff that you don’t want, so don’t go there. The analogy I want to throw out would be someone like Ralph Lauren designing a line and placing it into Target stores.

That’s not good. That’s going to ruin his top-end. I would never do that, and you shouldn’t either. The reality is that we can do virtual design anyway. We have been using technology, laptops, iPads, and even big-screen TVs and a studio to present our drawings, 3D images, as well as clear and crisp product images for some time.

It works really well, and now, we’ve been packaging it all together and putting it on a Zoom screen. It’s no big deal, whether we do it virtually, part virtually, all real, or all virtual half and half.

It doesn’t make any difference, because the value of what you’re providing is the same.

And it’s a really high value, so don’t lower the bar.

Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.

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