Is Top Shelf Web Design Worth it?
The fee differences between a top-tier design firm and a mid-level one are enormous. It leads many people working outside of the industry to wonder, is the “Best” really worth it? As in any industry, there is no way to answer this question across the board. But most industry people know that some of the best are worth it and others are not. For those trying to figure out whether the best is a good investment in the future of their web/mobile endeavor, there are a few simple considerations that need to be made.
- Try to Figure Out What You’re Paying For. Sometimes the highest priced web design firms are able to charge what they charge because of the reputation of a single member. Sometimes it’s a founder who achieved success in years past. Other times it’s a luminary designer who does a tremendous amount of work each year. If you are going to spend this money, you don’t want to pay for a brand; you want to pay for specific talent. Unless your top shelf design firm is guaranteed to offer you top shelf work, it’s best to try to find better for cheaper. Perhaps from an up and coming designer who’s looking to prove himself or herself?
- Make Sure You’re Paying for Expertise in Your Kind of Work. Different industries have different needs of their websites and mobile apps. Navigational and aesthetic requirements will differ, and no single web designer or design firm will be able to deliver the best in every kind of case. Make sure that the portfolio of the firm you are considering is relevant to both the fashion and the function of the site you want to create. If you simply enjoy the work, but it isn’t directly relevant to what you do, you’ll likely spend more than you should for work that isn’t exactly what you need.
- Make Sure Your Design Firm is in Step With the Times. Many famous and expensive web design firms overstay their welcome somewhat. It’s hard for a team of creatives to stay lean and mean for decades. Great minds come and go, and sometimes the ones that brought magic to a firm move on, the the detriment of the firm as a whole. Don’t look at the work produced five years ago. Judge a firm by the work it has produced in the past 5 months! If this is excellent, it’s likely that you will receive the same.
There is a class of design firm whose value exceeds their cost. But you can’t advertise this; you, the client, have to figure out which firms have the stuff and which don’t. Firms like WSI come to mind, an example of a firm that’s still outperforming itself year after year, despite being affordable compared to other qualified firms. It’s up to you to find the WSI in your region. They’re out there. So do some homework, make some meetings, and investigate a lot of portfolios until you’ve found the firm that’ll give you the most value for your money.