Our shop is 2 technical founders and a business guy. We don't have a bit of design talent between us but we have bootstrap! Our software is a utility for viewing and codifying large sets of data.

Lee, Ali, and Daniel have it right. These days, your branding is part-and-parcel with the perceived quality of your whole outfit, and for that reason, I think great design is a non-negotiable.

But if you're bootstrapping, then you must face the very real concern of budget constraints. The blanket doesn't stretch.

So perhaps the real question is how to get great design without gutting your bank account?

If I were in your shoes, I'd start with a 99Designs contest: That way, you're forced to write a design brief, and you can see a variety of different color palettes, typeface/mark combinations, and even interesting examples of lateral thinking based on the connections that each designer was forced to make between your words and the visual representation of your brand.

From there, I'd take the results of the contest and either do a few Clarity calls with branding experts to get their feedback or reach out to a couple of top-notch designers you already know.

Then I'd add all of the designs to your creative brief, pick a winner, pay that person, and either hire him or her to finish or go explore Dribbble or your own network.

Spend as much money as you reasonably can on the best designer you can afford. You won't regret it.

Key takeaway: great design sharpens how you think about your own product.

Answered 6 years ago

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