If you think of design as another aspect of content, you will realize the importance of professional graphic design. Computers and software have made it easy to "do it yourself." That convenience also makes it easy to wait until the last minute to create something that you had envisioned being impressive. Rushed, "home-made" projects do not do justice to the fine work and mission of your program. Professional graphic designers who are trained in design principles and who practice this craft every day will bring polish and sophistication to your project, befitting a top twenty institution.
While Microsoft offers increasingly sophisticated templates, we strongly advise against the cookie cutter appearance that is the result. Key elements of custom design that make a reader do a double take and linger to take in your message include carefully selected typography, the intelligent use of "white" space, and beautifully composed images, expertly cropped and retouched. The balance of text, imagery, and white space is the hallmark of good design.