This may seem like a self-serving argument, but that doesn’t mean its not true, for graphic design in Austin, or anywhere else. Creative ability, knowledge, and experience will all be more important than price in affecting the positive outcome of your design work. And the created work should all be in support of your overall branding efforts. After all, no one ever made a convincing argument that a poorly designed piece was worth it because it cost less. “I know it looks like c$&@, but it was the cheapest.”
A sign of problems
The most recent example I saw of this was just down the street from our office. A local salon business called us for the design of an exterior sign. The nice young lady I spoke to declined our help because of our $300-$375 design and production price. She instead hired, or outsourced, to a design company in India. The result was a less-than-gorgeous sign with so many bullet points that it was unreadable even from a few feet away while driving. That definitely defeated the point of the sign. I noticed recently that it has been replaced with a design you can read.
Buy good design
If price were the only consideration when hiring a designer, why do you need one? The ability to “use” Adobe Creative Suite does not a designer make. Take a look at the graphic designer or design shop’s portfolio. See if their style fits what might be in your mind’s eye—or at least if you’re impressed with their work. If so, you’re likely to be satisfied with the final graphic design work, even if price is not the cheapest. After all, it’s the value of the final product that matters.