Is your design professional?
Often, smaller organizations launch with materials designed by a volunteer or a student. While that may be appropriate in the early stages, as the organization grows and seeks greater opportunity and influence, the quality and professionalism of the design need to keep pace.
Being professional is like being dressed appropriately for an event. You might be able to get away with some thrift store gem at a black tie affair (ie keeping your student-designed logo as you step into the big leagues), but that’s going to be a rare case.
Having professional design isn’t just about the finished product, it’s about the process of getting the work done in the first place.
Professionalism extends to working with the designer, you want your experience to be fun and pain-free, you want someone who “gets it,” without weeks (or even months!) of revisions. Experience lends itself to professionalism — you need the job done well and the process to have a sense of ease.
In the end, a professional design has an intangible quality that you might not be able to explain, but you’ll know it when you see it. The visual world has its own language, the good design allows messages to be understood by your ideal audience. The level of polish in a design is part of this message.