Common Misconception: Web Designers should have to offer branding with their web design packages

Let me ask you a few questions about why as an aspiring web designer you want (or think you need to) offer both branding and website design.

Permission right off the bat: you do not have to offer both — you can but you don't have to.

What are you the most educated in?

I’ve told my story before about how I didn’t go to school for Website Design. I’m educated in Design, but not WEB or BRANDING design. (You can read more about that here.)

We all have things we educate ourselves on. Whether we spend the time on them out of choice or not, you instinctively know the things you’ve poured hours and years into as far as education is concerned. 

Have you poured more time into Web Design or Brand Design?

Or are you wanting to put more into learning Web Design Better but you’re spending time on branding projects that you’re not 100% in love with?

You can partner with a branding expert

Here’s the honest truth about referrals or subbing out work… it gets better with time. 

Handing off work to someone else is going to be a little rough at first. It’s going to be awkward to say you only offer Web Design and that they need to go to one of your partners for branding. I teach my students how to collect content responsibly in Design + Grow, and including others to do the branding work is definitely something I’m all for.

Or if you can still include it in your package and have the brand designer on as a subcontractor that’s a good middle ground as well.

Do you love it? On a scale of 1-10?

If you totally love it, you need to find a good cohesive way to offer both. I actually do love doing branding when I’m in control. So for this reason we keep an idea file for templates and other fun outlets that I can do “branding” for, but it not be one of my main offerings.

What resources (added value) could you give your clients to help in this area?

Could you offer them guides or examples to help them craft their branding themselves? Can you recommend a shop (like Envato Market) that sells premade or semi-custom brands? There are so many great opportunities for businesses to get their branding done by other creatives who’ve already put the time and effort into the work and it’s just sitting there ready to be customized for your client.

As a note here: If your client needs a TON of branding, like packaging, product tags, matching tissue paper, and gift cards, this should DEFINITELY be a separate process from an “all-in-one” web and branding package. This type of branding suite is a whole other animal. If you get a client that needs this, be sure you charge accordingly and make adjustments for Print VS Web as far as your designs. They’re very different.

Are you the best at branding?

If not it's OK to admit it’s not your strong suit and get your clients help in this area. Honestly, you’re taking so much better care of them by not trying to do it all. 

Wanna know a secret? 

I used to offer branding, copywriting, and web design all in one package. 

Early this year I cut those down to just “fixing” their branding and copywriting thinking that would be a better solution to not do it all. Finally, by Summer I cut both branding and copywriting out of my offerings. I did multiple calls with others that offer these things and built a “partners” page on my site to send potential clients to as they booked their website project. And the best part. I DIDN’T change my pricing, I didn’t see a drop in projects or inquiries and NO clients had an issue with it.

Let me repeat that for you. 

I dropped two services from what I offered (soooo much less work), kept getting paid the same, and they didn’t come attack me. They took my expert opinion on why it’s best to have other experts do these things for them. And guess what, their websites turned out much better because I was focused on their website as a whole for the entire process, not what font their logo would be with 20 revisions.

Lastly, keep the website goals in mind: client wins and business success.

  • Does the client win if you’re providing something you’re' just ok' at?
  • How could they be better served if you only focused on the web?
  • Does your target client even need help with this?

That last point was important for me as well in making the decision to cut this out of my offerings. The more I talked to potential clients and did market research, they’d often done their “branding” early in their business and weren’t ready to give up their logo or colors or anything. I was adding things to our “to-do list” as a project, and they didn’t really even always need help with it.

Mindset Tip: 

Plenty of businesses only do brand OR web OR app design OR UX/UI design. Don’t be afraid to look outside of our small, often female based branding and website design community for inspiration. Look at BIGGER businesses. And think of other service businesses. If your painter also offered to remove the wall in your dining room, and shop for a table, and sew the curtains… you’d be like, “ummm no thanks can you just paint the walls?” Just a thought.

You've been looking for the "right way" to design a website.

Lacking some confidence in your design skills? Wanting to start designing websites for clients but not sure where to start?
What if you knew every step (in the right order) to go from idea to development... and clients actually love their final website?

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