Graphic Design on a Budget

Graphic Design on a Budget

“My cousin is going to do my logo.”

“I’m working with a friend to save money.”

“I’ll just go with fiverr, I want to save that money and put it into my other startup costs.”

I work with a lot of startup businesses and so you can imagine that I hear the above statements quite often in my initial consultations. And I can’t say I blame anyone for wanting to save money! I’m a shoestring kind of gal myself. I shop at consignment stores. My kids are outfitted with hand-me-downs. I built my business on things I taught myself how to do. So I get it. Nobody wants to spend money.

But let me tell you, so often I’ve had a client that came my way saying, “My son was going to do this for me but he’s too busy.” Or, “My friend was working on my website but she just doesn’t get it and I don’t feel like I can really tell her I don’t like what she’s doing.” Using a friend or a family member for this kind of work can damage your relationship.

Not to mention, design MATTERS. I mean, it really matters. Think about it. A label makes the difference between a junky homemade bar of soap that looks questionable, like you’d have to PAY me to risk using that on my body, and a high end luxury product. The thing is the same. It’s the packaging that tells you that one is a must-have, worth paying ten times more for.

Do you buy back alley or brand name toilet paper? Do you like Coke or Pepsi, or do you drink from bottles marked COLA? Which purchases are you really proud of? The brand matters. It really matters.

Do you want your livelihood in the hands of an amateur?

Like, if you’re going to have overhead with a real location and rent and other bills to pay, you don’t want to risk people not walking in your door because they’re not quite sure what it is you do. Or because your logo is unprofessional or not well thought out. You need to make sure that you don’t lose your shirt on this. It matters. It really matters.

I was driving home today behind a truck. This guy had a business and had no doubt paid big bucks to get his vehicle wrapped. The design was HORRIBLE. It was SO bad. Listen, I love print shops. I love them. But they’re not designers, marketers, or branding experts. Please don’t just go to a print shop and ask them for a design. Call a professional designer before you spend money on something. Or your investment is just money thrown away. Any time you’re spending lots of money on printing promos, signage, whatever it is — please, PLEASE consult a graphic designer. Your design matters. It REALLY REALLY REALLY MATTERS!

A graphic designer has years of experience. They have high quality fonts. They know what your competitors are up to. They’ve done their research. They’re good at illustration. They know what kerning is, and what leading is, and everything about all the file types you need to do business. They have training, schooling, talent and know-how. It’s a skill worth paying for.

And it matters in dollars to your business. The exact same product, branded, designed and marketed well, can go for much MUCH more money than a poorly branded, poorly designed, poorly marketed one. Think of good design as an investment in your business just like any other investment you’re making.

So don’t go cheap when it comes to starting your business and getting your design work figured out. Start off with a solid brand. Know who your target demographic is in the first place, and find out how to appeal to them, to motivate them to come your way, to make sure you stand apart from your competition. Then create designs that are high quality, on brand, with your brand message, that will grab them right in the face and make them head over heels for you. Then find the ways to get that message in front of them.

Advokate does all of this and more. And I PROMISE you, it’s worth it! 

It matters. It really matters.

Let’s meet.


Kate has a gift for translating our passion for what we do into a vessel for delivering that message to our customers. Her energy is contagious and her creativity delivers. Affordable, responsive, quick, professional and fun!

— Erin Coon, Fun World Arcade & Lake George History Tours
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Kate Austin-Avon

Kate E. Austin is known for her creative advocacy. She is a regular speaker on branding and social media with educational institutions and Chambers of Commerce. She owns and operates Advokate, LLC. Currently she serves on the boards of the Glens Falls Business Improvement District, is on the World Awareness Children’s Museum’s Advisory Council, and is involved in the Jackson Heights PTA. Originally from Killington, Vermont, she studied art at Hartwick College and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art from Empire State College. She is a mother of three.