6 Reasons to Hire a Designer (Plus a Bonus)

6 Reasons to Hire a Designer | Lemon and the Sea: There comes a time in business when you should consider hiring a designer, even if you've DIYed your brand before. Designers can help you build upon your current brand and better reach your clients without having to figure it out on your own.

Hiring a designer can really help you build a brand and website that reach your audience and reflect your business. Of course, I'm all for figuring out things on your own when you're just starting your business, but as your business grows, it can make sense to hire out tasks, including design so that you can focus on working on your business.

1. Designers are Experts

Just like you might hire a Virtual Assistant, Copywriter, or Accountant because of their expertise in a field that you aren't as familiar with, you hire a designer for the same reason. Of course, you need to check out a designer before deciding to hire them to make sure that they are going to be professional and deliver what they say they can (check out their portfolio, testimonials, and blog posts), but once you find a solid designer, they can complete the work a lot faster and make it super simple for you to make updates in the future (if that's what you're looking for).

You also need to figure out what you want help with - not all designers do everything. Some just offer brand design, other website design, and others will create packages that include both. You also want to consider the platform that you want to use (such as Squarespace or Wordpress) and find a designer who focuses on that platform.

Many designers have a degree, but not all do. In order to really get a sense of the level of design, make sure to check out their portfolio and ask if you can talk to any previous clients. Even if a designer doesn't have a graphic design degree (mine is in Architecture), they still may have design education that really contributes to their work.

2. Designers can push you

Before I start the actual design work on any project, I give my clients some pretty in-depth and thought-provoking questionnaires. Now, some of the questions are simple, like what colors they like, but others are designed to push past just visual trends into a deeper understanding of my client's business. These include "how you you connect with your ideal clients?" "how is your process unique?" and "what do you want your branding to accomplish?"

By asking these questions, I help my clients dig into their business and really think about what they need out of a brand or website. Many of my clients come back with answers that they didn't expect because they had never thought of those questions before.

3. Designers can see past today

This can be true of a lot of professions - coaches, copywriters, etc. - but I find that as a designer, I have a great outside perspective into my client's business. I get familiar with their message, their ideal audience, and how they work, so that I can tailor their brand and website towards the future instead of where they are today.

For example, if a client wants a website and doesn't think they want e-commerce, I try to think of anything that might need to be sold online in the future. I don't do this because I think they should sell that way (although for many businesses it makes sense), but because I want to build a website that can accommodate growth in the future.

4. Designers become a member of your team

Depending on the designer you hire, many offer priority spots to previous clients. This means that even after your larger project in complete, you can come back to your designer and have them help you with a smaller project without a long wait. Of course, you have to pay for the work, but it can be really helpful to have a designer you can count on who already knows your brand and can build upon it instead of having to go over everything with someone new.

Many of my previous clients consider me as a part of their larger team and they know that if they need something designed, they can reach out. And because I already know their brand and business, I can quickly turn around the project. They don't have to worry about how they're going to design something when they would rather be focusing on growing their business.

5. Designers go past templates

It's no secret that I love Squarespace for website design because it's so easy for my clients to learn, but Squarespace does have some limitations in it's template design. That's why I work hard to customize every website to fit my client's larger brand instead of just accepting the template's limitations. (I wrote a post about some custom CSS you can use on your Squarespace website here.) I may not be able to work around everything - although I will try - but I can do a lot of custom work that transforms a template into a website that represents my client's business.

6. Designers save you time and money

This may seem a little counter-intuitive at first because hiring a designer can be an investment, but it can ultimately save you lots of time, money, and frustration. Most of my clients come to me when they are fed up with trying to build a consistent brand and website on their own. Many are using website builders that either require coding knowledge or have very little flexibility. When I come on board, I'm ready to go on their project because I already have the knowledge I need to build their brand or website (and if I don't, I'm using my time, not their's to figure it out).

Of course, the up front investment can seem like a lot because not only do you have to pay for good design, but you also have to be available to work with your designer and give feedback, but in the end, you get very clear guidelines on using your brand assets and a clean, user-friendly website with a back-end that you can understand.

Designers keep your brand consistent

In a world full of brands and visuals, staying consistent is extremely important if you want people to begin to recognize your work. A designer helps you with that - from setting a color and font palette to laying out exactly how you should use your design assets - your designer will set you up for success.

When I design for my clients, I always design with templates in mind. That way, when they need to update a blog post image or are planning a yearly event, they can use the work I've already done and simply update it with the new information. This keeps everything looking consistent with the rest of their brand with very little effort.

And when it comes to website design, I make sure that all the fonts and colors are set to match their brand so that they don't have to figure out what to use where. Every page is going to be similar to the last (at least in terms of basic design), so that even if they want a sales page that stands out, it still feels like part of the overall site.

Tips for finding a designer

When you're ready to hire a designer to help you build your brand or website, there are a few basic things to look for.

  • Check out their work. And not just what's in their portfolio, but also what they share on Instagram, their blog, and what you see on their previous client's websites.
  • Take a look at their services. Before you fall in love with a designer, make sure that they offer the types of services that you need. Some designers offer a wide range of options while others stick to just one thing.
  • Learn their process. Many designers have a specific process laid out for their projects. You want to find out how they communicate with you, how involved you will be, and when you can reach them. If you work a 9 to 5, but your designer only has meeting times available while you're at work, it could be difficult to work together.
  • Get to know them. If you're interested in working with a designer, make sure that you talk to them before signing the contract. I always set up a Skype meeting with interested clients before getting into pricing and contracts so that we can get to know one another and make sure we vibe.
  • Ask questions. I encourage my clients and anyone interested in working with me to ask questions. This helps me learn about how they think and what their needs are and it helps you to get the assurance that the designer you hire can do what you need. Don't be afraid to ask questions and listen to how they are answered (even if the answer is "I don't know," you should feel that the person you hire will find out for you).

If you're looking for a designer to help you dig into your brand and help you take your business to the next level, check out my services and see if I would be a good fit for your project.


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Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Why I Love Squarespace for My Clients

Why I Love Squarespace for My Clients | Lemon and the Sea

Whenever I talk to people about my website design services, they always ask which platform I use to design. There are so many out there (and I’ve tried quite a few), but I’ve chosen to stick with Squarespace design because it meets the needs of my dream clients – even needs they didn’t know they had.

While some designers and online business owners are supporters of using other platforms, especially as a business grows, I’ve found that Squarespace is the best balance of beautiful design, easy-to-use functions, and integrations.

Here are some of the reasons I love Squarespace websites for my creative entrepreneur and small business clients – and for myself:

Low cost for basic websites

Squarespace offers plans starting at $16/month for up to 20 pages (less if you pay yearly). If that isn’t enough space, it’s easy to upgrade to a plan with unlimited pages for just $26/month. And, if you sell products through your website, you can choose an e-Commerce plan that allows you to pay less in fees when someone purchases.

Easy to update their own website

One of the main reasons my clients come to me for a website design is because they are frustrated with their current website. It’ shard to update – if they can even figure out how to do it on their own – and out of date because of constantly changing templates and versions.

Squarespace makes design easy because it’s a drag and drop platform with lots of different block options to meet all of your needs.

It’s also very easy to edit text on your website – without touching the code – which is important when you want to make a quick change without waiting for a designer or developer to have an opening in their schedule.

Another great feature is that Squarespace is designed to work across every platform and device – which is extrememly important now that most people visit websites on their phones. You can even check the tablet and mobile layouts while designing on your desktop.

Page templates

I’ve heard a few people complain that you can’t have page templates in Squarespace to make designing multiple pages with the same layout easy – but that isn’t actually the case.

You can create your own page templates by adding a design as an unlinked page and then duplicating it and updating the content. To learn more check out this post.

Creating page templates for my clients makes it easy for them to add new projects to the gallery or play around with the layout without worrying about messing up the live website.

Full ownership of their website

Squarespace makes it really easy to both me and my client to have access to the website during design and for me to transfer ownership once the project is completed – and I can remain on the website to make updates in the future. Check out this post to learn how to set permissions for your website.

Can see the design concept live

When designing anything for my clients - brands, websites, or collateral - I always start by designing a concept. This allows my clients to look at the ideas that I have based on their business, questionnaire answers, and our conversations before I finalize anything.

Squarespace makes this really easy for website design because I can create the concepts in Squarespace so clients can see how their website will actually look live instead of imagining a PDF becoming a working site.

We can also collaborated on changes via phone or chat so clients can see updates as they happen, which makes giving feedback and making changes much easier and faster.

Easy SEO

Check out this post for some great ways to increase your SEO with Squarespace’s built-in features and a few tricks.

Customizations are available and can really make the design their own

Great customization options that still allow someone who isn’t’ web-savvy to update their own website. That means that even if I add lots of custom features to a website, my clients can still edit pages and make updates on their own without worrying about messing up the code.

Great tutorials through Squarespace

Squarespace’s tutorials are in-depth on every feature they offer and their customer service is quick to respond to issues, so you can almost always find answers quickly if you can’t – or don’t want to – wait for a designer to help you out.

Easy integrations

Squarespace is set up to easily integrate with MailChimp (for email newsletters), Acuity (for scheduling), social media, and G Suite (for email). While you can certainly use other tools with Squarespace, their integrations make these easy to set up and maintain when you don’t want to mess with code.

Always coming up with new features

Squarespace is always developing new features and fixing bugs that have been reported, but you don’t have to worry that these updates will break your website like on some platforms. They always do beta tests with memebers of the Squarespace Circle (that’s me!), so they know that everything is working correctly.

And if you choose to work with a designer who is a Squarespace Circle member, you can use these beta items on your own website before they are released to the public (no promises they’ll work perfectly right away though).

Security

Because Squarespace creates and manages all of the integrations with their websites, there is little chance that there are loopholes people can exploit to hack a website. This may not seem like a big deal when you’re first starting out, but if you’re hacked and lose your entire website (I had this happen to a client), you know how frustrating and time consuming that can be.

Integrated e-Commerce

When you’re just starting a business, you may not know whether you want to offer products or courses that require e-Commerce capability – and that’s okay. Squarespace allows for e-Commerce on any plan and template, so you can add it at any time.

Great for any small business owner

Squarespace’s versatile templates and functions make it a great platform for any small business owner including wedding professionals, instructors, virtual assistants, designers, authors, bloggers, physical businesses, interior designers, and podcasts. If you can create a business, you can use Squarespace to design your website.


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Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Introducing Process to Profitability

Introducing Process to Profitability | Lemon and the Sea

I'm starting a podcast!

On Process to Profitability, I'll be chatting with creative entrepreneurs and small business owners in every industry about the tools, strategies, and processes that they've used to serve their clients and grow their small businesses.

Since starting my business, Lemon and the Sea, over two years ago, I've discovered the key to building a business that you love and that is profitable is serving your clients and customers really well. 

This is something that I have implemented in my own business and that I've helped my clients set u pin their businesses. Now I'm excited to show you how you can create a business that showcases your heart to serve and still allows you to grow and build a business that fits you and reflects who you are.

Each episode will feature either a guest or will be a solo show with me talking about the processes that I use in my own business. I'm going to encourage to listen and then take what you've learned and apply it to your business in a way that's going to match what you do and the people you serve.

Every one of us is on a unique journey, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from each other. So I'm excited to bring on some amazing guests who can teach you what they have learned over the years and how you can apply that to your own business in a way that works for you.

New episodes will be published every Thursday and I have a great lineup of guests that I'm really excited to share with you.

The show premieres on June 1st and I hope you join me on this journey from process to profitability.

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Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


How to Use the Squarespace Image Block

How to Use the Squarespace Image Block

One of my favorite parts about being a Squarespace designer is that I am a member of the Squarespace Circle. While that isn't necessary to do my job, it does allow me to find out what updates Squarespace is making and experiment with my (on my website and on client sites) before they are released to everyone else. (The other big benefit is that I have a six month trial on all new websites instead of just 14 days.)

Sometime this is beneficial - I knew when Squarespace was beta-testing PayPal integration and when fixes are made - but it can also be  detrimental when I know of a new update and can't share it with other Squarespace users just yet.

One update that I am excited about - and that many people were looking forward to - is the new Squarespace Image Block and the options available for adding text to images without a separate design program.

Basically, the Image Block now allows you to add text to images in a variety of ways instead of just as a caption below or in an overlay. Plus, the design settings for each option are controlled separately, so you can change them for each type of image you use.

If you haven't experimented with the new Image Block options, here is an overview - including the settings you can update in the Design > Style Editor menu. 

 
Inline Image Block

Inline Image Block

Image Block: Inline

Display an image with optional caption

  • Caption font matches paragraph font settings
  • Do Not Display Caption
  • Caption Below
  • Caption Overlay
  • Caption Overlay on Hover
 

Poster

with subtitle

Image Block: Poster

Display an image with text overlaying it

  • Text Alignment - left, right, center
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Inline Link Color
  • Title Separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Image Overlay Color - color filter over image
  • Content Width - the width of the text
  • Title Background Color - optional color behind the title text
 

Card Image Block

with subtitle

Image Block: Card

Display an image with the text aligned to the right or left

  • Dynamic Font Sizing (On/Off) - resizes the text based on the browser
  • Content Position - top, center, bottom
  • Text Alignment - left, center, right, match (aligns title and subtitle on the same side of the image), opposite (aligns title and subtitle on the opposite side of the image),
  • Image Width
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Subtitle Font
  • Subtitle Color
  • Inline Link Color
  • Title Separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Card Background Color - color that displays behind the caption
  • Card Padding - spacing on either side of the caption
  • Card Separation - space between image and card background
  • Image Overlay Color - color filter over image
  • Title Background Color - optional color behind the title text
 
haute-chocolate-styled-stock-photography-brights-workday-17.jpg

Overlap Image Block

with subtitle

Image Block: Overlap

Display an image on one side with text on the other, partially overlapping the image

  • Optional background color
  • Dynamic Font Sizing (On/Off) - resizes the text based on the browser
  • Content Position - top, center, bottom
  • Text Alignment - left, center, right, match (aligns title and subtitle on the same side of the image), opposite (aligns title and subtitle on the opposite side of the image),
  • Image Width
  • Title Overlap - how much the title overlaps the image
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Subtitle Font
  • Subtitle Color
  • Inline Link Color
  • Title separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Image overlay color - color filter over image
  • Title background color - optional color behind the title text
 

Collage Image Block

with subtitle

Image Block: Collage

Display an image on one side and text over a background “card” overlapping the image

  • Dynamic Font Sizing (On/Off) - resizes the text based on the browser
  • Content Position - top, center, bottom
  • Text Alignment - left, center, right, match (aligns title and subtitle on the same side of the image), opposite (aligns title and subtitle on the opposite side of the image),
  • Image Width
  • Content Width - the width of the caption
  • Content Offset - how much the caption overlays the image
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Subtitle Font
  • Subtitle Color
  • Inline Link Color
  • Title Separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Card Background
  • Card Padding - space on either side of the caption
  • Image Overlay Color - color filter over image
 

Stack Image Block

with subtitle

Image Block: Stack

Display an image with text below

  • Optional background color
  • Dynamic Font Sizing (On/Off) - resizes the text based on the browser
  • Text Alignment - left, center, right, match (aligns title and subtitle on the same side of the image), opposite (aligns title and subtitle on the opposite side of the image),
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Subtitle Font
  • Subtitle Color
  • Inline link Color
  • Title Separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Card Background
  • Card Padding - space on either side of the caption
  • Image Overlay Color - color filter over image

To-Do for You: Try out the Squarespace Image Block and take advantage of the SEO boost that having actual text instead of an image of text can give you.


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Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


My Favorite Squarespace Customization Tutorials

My Favorite Squarespace Customization Tutorials | Lemon and the Sea

One of my favorite things about Squarespace website design is that I can customize so much of a website while still maintaining the clean design of the platform.

But I don't figure all that customization out on my own. There are lots of great designers out there who are sharing how they have customized Squarespace, so I like to take advantage of their generous sharing to use for my own designs.

These are some of my favorite customizations and how I've used them both for my own website and for clients:

Adding a Custom Font to Squarespace from MunoSpace - This is a fantastic post if you're interested in adding a custom font (not from Google or Typekit) to your Squarespace website. It does involve some Custom CSS, but the instructions are easy to follow - just make sure the font you want to use is a Webfont. I used this tutorial to change one of the heading fonts on Stag and Lily Event Co. to match the logo design.

 

How to Create an Accordian Menu from Forth and Create - This customization may seem difficult since it includes Custom CSS, Javascript, and a Markdown Block, but the instructions are easy to follow. I used this customization on quote a few pages for Ronsen Consulting so we could display a lot of in-depth information in a way that is interactive and legible.

 

Adding Domain and Email Aliases with G Suite from Squarespace Answers - This tutorial, which is actually the answer to a question in Squarespace's forum is extremely helpful if you have two domains for your website and want to receive emails to both without setting up and paying for two G Suite accounts. I used this to help Nicole at Stag and Lily Event Co. transition her domain name and email address.

How to Use Index Pages in Squarespace from Lemon and the Sea - This tutorial walks you through how I used Index pages and Custom CSS to create the new look for my website, Lemon and the Sea.

 

Squarespace SEO Tricks You Should be Using from Lemon and the Sea - I created this tutorial to help bust the myth that Squarespace can't have good SEO and to share the tricks I've learned through setting up basic SEO on all my client websites.

Squarespace Hack: Customize Your Contact Form from Forth and Create - This easy-to-follow tutorial uses Custom CSS to customize Squarespace forms so they better fit your brand. I use this on most client websites, including Candice Prentice's author website.

How to Create a Gallery in Squarespace from Lemon and the Sea - Galleries are one of my favorite tools in Squarespace, especially for small businesses that need to show a lot of images. I used this tutorial to help Jennifer at CAVdesign create her portfolio, as well as for Kate Phillips Events in a brief Squarespace customization consultation.

 
 

Customizing Squarespace with CSS Tricks from My Billie Designs  - this post covers a few different CSS Customizations you can use to make your website more unique.

Custom CSS for Menu/Recipe Design from Meg Summerfield  - The menu block isn't one I use often in website design, so I was thrilled to find this tutorial that allowed me to customize the block for use as a recipe display on Candice Prentice's Recipe Blog.

 

3 Ways to Have a ‘Tweet This’ Quote on Your Squarespace Website from Kreanille Design  - If you've ever wanted to add a "Tweet This" link on your Squarespace website, this post will show you a few options for creating one. I used this on my blog for a while before I began to focus more on Instagram and Pinterest.

How to Customize the Read More Link on Squarespace Blog Post Excerpts from Megan Minns - I haven't used this tutorial yet, but I'm excited to. Megan explains in detail how to customize your Read More links in blog posts so that they are more visible and fit your brand.

To-Do for You: Check out Squarespace tutorials (Pinterest is a great place to find them) and see how you can make your website your own.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.