Want to design something snazzy for your music studio but don’t know where to start? Even if you don’t have a lot of design experience, it's still possible to create a really clean design without much effort. Here are our top graphic design suggestions, starting with the easiest and least expensive options and moving up to more complex solutions:
Recruit a Student
Asking a student to help you do a design can be one of your most savvy options. Several of my students have wanted opportunities to not only showcase their skills but also build their portfolios and fulfill service learning credits for school organizations. Not only were the designs really awesome, but it was free for me! It was a win-win for everyone.
How we used it: Cover art for recital programs
Here is a design a student created for our "Around the World on 88 Keys" recital:
If you want to create your own high-quality design but need some help, my top recommendation is Canva.com. Canva supplies gobs of completely free templates, graphics, and layouts that you can quickly manipulate and customize. You gotta love Canva’s templates--it’s one of their biggest strengths and makes design a breeze.
Some photos and graphics are labeled “premium” and require a small fee, but a lot can be accomplished with the media included with the free standard membership. You also have the ability to upload your own files as well.
It’s easy to create just about any layout with Canva, from posters to business cards to social media posts. And, Canva’s mobile app helps you design great things on the go!
Cost: Free without premium graphics
How we used it: Recital posters, youtube video title slides, social media
Here is a poster design we created using Canva.com:
Microsoft Office and Pages
Word processing programs such as microsoft word (PC) and Pages (Mac) are still the most useful for a large array of documents.
Although limiting and sometimes frustrating for more complicated projects, you can get great results with these softwares.
This option is best suited for newsletters, invitations, posters, brochures, flyers, cards and other text-heavy documents.
Cost: Varies depending on subscription and operating system, but many people already have these installed on their computers
How we used it: Newsletters, studio documents, flyers
Newsletter created using Pages:
Designcrowd is a space where you can host a contest for your design project. You start by writing a creative brief to tell designers specifics about your project needs.
After paying an $89 posting fee and setting a project budget, various designers will submit completed designs for you to review. From there, all you have to do is choose the design you like best.
The quick turnaround, many design choices (more options than you’d get from a single graphic designer), and a money back guarantee make this an excellent option for individuals and small businesses.
Designcrowd has been my go-to resource for business logos and any other branding projects. A designer’s touch is definitely worth investing in if it represents your studio brand for the long term.
Cost: $89 posting fee; select $79-500 for design budget
How we used it: Business Logo (our cost was $200)
Design crowd is the serive we used to create this blog's logo:
Professional Graphic Designer
A professional graphic designer will often achieve the best results. If you need an attention-grabbing design that will convey professional-level quality, it is a good idea to find a skilled designer that can listen closely to your needs and bring your ideas to life.
Good design is when you look at a finished project and say, “I never would have thought to do that!” The ability to creatively communicate a message with efficiency and accuracy are what make this option superior.
Think logos, T-shirt designs, and other business branding as the primary media that will benefit most from a professional designer.
Keep in mind that professional design is not inexpensive. Depending on the level of your designer and scope of the project, this can easily extend into the hundreds and thousands of dollars. But, it also has the potential to positively impact your business for many years.
Cost: Designers charge on average $65-$75 per hour nationwide. Average cost for a logo is $300.
Adobe Professional Design Suite
Adobe is the most powerful design software on the market, and professional designers prefer it.
For most people, the learning curve required to master Adobe will be too large to justify spending the time needed to become familiar with the various programs in the suite. In order to create complex designs, some knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator will be needed.
Many excellent tutorials are available on YouTube and other web-learning platforms such as Lynda.com.
Using Adobe can really save money in the long run, and allows you to work on more complex projects without outside assistance. If you want a new hobby, go for it!
Cost: $20-40 per month subscription
How we used it: Book layouts, photo editing, vector graphic creation, logos
Here is a fun but more challenging recital poster we created in Adobe:
We hope this overview of design options gives you the basics to get you pointed in the right direction for your next project. Stay tuned for more in depth articles about our design process.