What my vacuum cleaner taught me about graphic design

Wet Christmas tree needles killed my vacuum cleaner.

I spent a few weeks trying to fix it (no, I will not be adding Vacuum Repair to my list of services) and ultimately decided to take it to a local shop. Susan, the repairwoman, took one look at it, asked me how long I’d had it, and informed me that it would cost more than the vacuum was worth to fix it. Time for a new one.

I hadn’t been prepared to find something new, so I assumed I’d buy the same kind—it had worked well enough for 10 years, and there wasn’t really anything I disliked about it. Susan asked me a few questions, and then pointed to a little blue vacuum sitting against the wall. THAT is what you need, she said. I was skeptical—it didn’t have any fancy doodads, looked like it belonged in the 1950s, and was more expensive than I had expected. But I tested it out and decided to go for it.

Turns out…

I LOVE that vacuum. It makes me so happy (never thought I’d say that!) and is one of the best purchases I’ve made in a while. Whenever I use it, I think about how it applies to my graphic design work, too.

Here’s what I mean:

1.     It’s not flashy and doesn’t come with a lot of extras that I don’t need. The vacuum is a lovely shade of blue and is clearly sleek and modern, but seemed too boring at first. Even though I never used the other attachments with the former vacuum, I thought I might be missing out. But I appreciate not having to pay for what I don’t need, and the extra clutter that comes with that. A good graphic designer can help suss out what you need for a given project or goal, and get rid of the extras that aren’t necessary.

2.     It can clean just about anything. I don’t need a separate vacuum for carpets or hardwood floors—this simple appliance just knows what is needed and switches effortlessly between the two all on its own. A trusted designer does that, too. No matter what the project might be, they’ll know exactly what you need and are familiar with your brand and the “rules.” And they’ll do it seamlessly with a lot less effort needed from you.  

3.     It’s cordless—no strings attached. When I need the vacuum, I pick it up, take it where I need to go, and use it. Working with an outside designer can give you the same flexibility to get help only when you need it. When you don’t, you can allocate resources towards other projects.

4.     It’s a great value. In spending a bit more for the vacuum, I bought an appliance that is well-made and will last a long time. By the time I’ve worn this one out, I’ll definitely have gotten my money’s worth. When you’re hiring a designer, spending a little more up front will also be worth it later on—you’ll have stronger, more effective materials that will be more durable and get better results. Cheap design often comes with hidden costs that can be even more expensive to fix.

5.     It’s light and easy to use. If I feel like doing the cleaning myself, great. If I don’t, this machine is light enough that my son can use it—I can delegate the job! If you have a trusted designer on hand, you’ll know how simple it can be to pass off a project that you can’t or don’t want to do, and they’ll make it easy.

6.     When something goes wrong, I know what to do. Because I bought the vacuum from an actual person instead of a website, when something does go wrong (because it will at some point), I know exactly who to call for help. An ongoing relationship with a graphic designer can give you the same peace of mind that if (when) something goes haywire, someone will be there to offer advice and help you get it fixed.

Do you want to feel happy and prepared, too?

Weiher Creative is trusted by clients to deliver graphic design services that are agile, capable, flexible, and accountable. We work with organizations around the world that depend on our ability to shift and stabilize with changing deadlines and priority projects. This is how we secure a reliable and responsible experience for our clients—we can do the same for you. Schedule a time to chat with us!