One of the skills we don’t have in house here at KashFlow Towers is design skills. There’s not a proficient Photoshopper amongst us. So we’ve always had to outsource. I’m yet to find a design firm or individual designer that provides good work, good pricing and good service. Someone we can work with on an ongoing basis for things like web design, print advert design, web banners, etc.

I know that it’s an age-old truism that creatives are often not great at business, but they can’t all be terrible, can they? These are the highlights of our experiences so far:

Company 1 – Quotation Paralysis
These guys were not cheap, but their work was absolutely outstanding. They usually responded to emails and queries very quickly.
The problem: They had an inability to give a usable quote. This was back in my Key Onedays when we used to do a lot of back-end development, so I’d be looking for a design quote to pass on to a client as part of a bigger project. As such, I needed a price to be within a reasonable sized ball park. Absolutely impossible to get from these guys. They were terrified of either underquoting or overquoting – so in the end they did neither.

Company 2 – The Dissapearing Act
Extremely competitive pricing. The work was not as blatantly brilliant as Company 1, but it was of a good enough standard. When they said “unlimited changes”, they meant it. We had mutual clients that could be particularly fussy and not once did Company 2 complain about it. They got tens of thousands of pounds worth of work from us and from people we referred to them over a period of a couple a year or so. I could have happily worked with these guys forever.
The problem: They’d disappear for weeks at a time, no autoresponder, no warning. Just gone. When they re-appeared on the radar they’d be no explanation as to what happened.

Company 3 – Just don’t get it
We didn’t work with these guys for long. They had a good portfolio and were reasonably priced. But they just couldn’t work within a brief. They had their own ideas and it didn’t matter what the client wanted.

Company 4 – The Disappointer
This is the designer that prompted this rant. They’ve done a few little bits and pieces with us over the last couple of months. I’ve not dealt with them personally, but my guys that have have been really impressed with the professionalism and the level of service we’ve been getting. So recently we’ve asked for quotes for a few minor design jobs.  That was weeks ago. Despite leaving telephone messages and emails we’ve heard nothing back from them.

In my frustration I sent a message out into the twitterverse: “why are good designers crap at business? They either unable to provide a usable quote, and/or they provide shite service”

Here are some of the responses I got back:

JayGreasley: why are business leaders crap at design ?
RachaelWyatt: that’s a crap generalisation Duane.
Ed_Hart: Probably for the same reason that good business people are generally crap at designing. We use different bits of the brain.

Whilst Rachel is right that it’s a generalisation, like a lot of generalisations there’s a reasonable sized dollop of truth in there.

As Ed Hart says, and Jay Greasley implies – it’s the whole left brain / right brain thing.

Supposedly people who are more right-brain orientated are the creative types that are better with symbols, images and are driven by feelings. The left-brained amongst us are supposedly logical types that are less creative.

If you’re not sure whether you’re left-brained or right-brained, then take a look at the picture below. If she’s spinning clockwise then you’re a right-brained creative.
If you see her as spinning anti-clockwise then you’re left-brained logical type.

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