Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The development process for each new law firm we work with is unique. Some firms have a very clear vision for their new sites: the colors, the imagery, the logo—they’ve got it covered. Other firms have more of a hands-off approach. They leave it to the experts and we rely on our creativity and knowledge of the firm’s background and marketing goals to create that ideal site. As graphic designers, there is nothing that we enjoy more than the creativity and collaboration of the development process and nothing that makes us prouder than the customized websites we create for our clients.
Over the past few months, it has been brought to our attention that some of our site designs have been replicated by other attorney marketing groups. Seeing these “copycats” really peeves us for a few reasons. Of course, there is the obvious—we’re artists and this is our work. We’re proud of it and we’ve worked really hard on it. But as disheartening as it is to see your work copied by a less skilled artist, that is not our primary gripe. The reason these copycat groups anger us is because it’s just really not fair to our clients or theirs.
If you advertise custom designs, they should be CUSTOM. Our clients pay good money (albeit often less than our uncreative counterparts) to have an original site design and with us they get that. But then just a few weeks or months later, there is a duplicate design on the web. It’s really just not fair.
Then there are the firms that work with these copycat groups. They often pay thousands for what they too think is a unique site design when in fact there is nothing unique about it. So if your law firm is in the market for a new website, let this post serve as a “buyer beware” warning of sorts.
Before engaging a design firm, check out their portfolio and check out the portfolios of their competitors too. You may just find that some designs are far from original. For instance, one of our counterparts Integrity Marketing Solutions, seems to have taken a liking to some of our work and use our designs as templates for their “custom websites.” By checking out our portfolio and theirs, you would find that some of their sites are strikingly similar to a few of our sites. (See Below)
Beyond comparing portfolios, be sure to read testimonials and contact current clients about the design process. Ask questions about the designers’ creativity and whether or not templates were used. Speaking to current customers will give you greater insight into any limitations or flaws of the design group so you can make certain that you are making the right choice.
With Zola Creative, you can be sure that your custom design really is customized for your firm, not “borrowed”.