Imagine this, you are a small or medium-sized enterprise trying to make your mark in the market. The competition is tough, the consumer demands are ruthless and the challenges of running a business are plenty. In such a scenario you definitely need more capable hands and minds at the job to ensure that your business not just survives but thrives in the market.
One of the key things in the rat race to survival is creating awareness about your product or service in the market. Unless people know about your business, it is difficult for them to buy your products or approach you. For that, you need a good advertisement. The best advertisements are those that are clear, concise and attractive at the same time. Who designs them? Graphic designers. Where you find good graphic designers? Well, a Google search will definitely list down thousands of outsourced graphic design service providers in California but make sure you go beyond just this easily found list of agencies.
Finding a good graphic design service provider is no mean job. And once you find them, the next challenge is to get the most out of the engagement and investment. Are there any set rules to ensure you make the most of your engagement with a graphic design agency? Well, the answer is yes. There are certain aspects of this wonderful engagement that you should not ignore in case you want to achieve great ROI.
Tips For A Graphic Design Firm
1. Be clear about the purpose of engagement and goals
Any job with a clear purpose and plan is almost half-done. Just like your business has a mission and vision, your engagement with your service providers should also reflect that purpose. For example, just telling your graphic designer that you need a leaflet showcasing your products is never enough. Brief them about which categories are important for you during the quarter. Tell them more about your target audience, their likes and demographics. Share with them any brand and logo guidelines to be followed for the design etc.
2. Go beyond portfolios — Know the team
The general procedure of selecting a design agency is to ask for a portfolio of works, testimonials, video presentations or work samples. While these are a good starting point to sift the best from the rest, it is always a good idea to go beyond this first phase of selection. Once you have shortlisted a few graphic design service providers, try to interact with a few team members or graphic designers. Understand how much they know about their field, their passion for the work and their interest in making something meaningful for your company. After all, the service provider’s team is like an extended team of your company and should feel the same way too.
3. Share all about the company
A very important aspect of any engagement is a thorough knowledge of a particular business domain before starting to work in an area affecting the business. Try to orient the graphic designers about your business. You can share presentations, website URLs, have briefing sessions or one-to-one talks describing them the ethos, values and products you offer. It is important for the graphic design partner to know about the company because the designs should reflect the company philosophy so that the messages are in-sync with the company goals.
4. Have clear and robust quality standards
To work successfully with a graphic design service provider you should set clear rules and standards for using images, text etc. A lot of run-of-the-mill agencies use free stock images and clip arts. Such images are used by many and are very common. This will not make your design unique and it will definitely not stand out in the crowd. The purpose of the whole exercise of engaging with a professional agency is to ensure you create artworks that are specific to your needs and are innovative. So do ensure to communicate your expectations on quality standards to your graphic designers at the beginning of the project itself.
5. Start with a small or trail project
Once you have faith that the service provider is the right choice for you, try to work on a pilot project first. This will allow both the parties to understand the pros and cons of working with each other and fine-tune the processes to ensure the final project is delivered without obstacles or too many hassles. This not just saves time and resources but also allows the teams to work on feedback and do a better job in the final project.
6. Let the brief not shackle creativity
A lot of times executives from organisations are under the pressure to stick to a brief given by the top management or use particular pictures or message in the design. While it is true that the designer should stick to the brief given and the purpose of the message but it is also true that designing is a creative field. Too many restrictions of usage of particular words or images or colours in the design can kill the creativity and beauty of the design. Give your graphic designers some freedom to play with the key elements you suggest and come out with the best outcomes within those resources.
7. Consider them as your consultant not just an agency
Once you have trusted the service provider with a critical project have faith in them and make them your partners in progress. Moreover, graphic design service providers have vast experience in the domain. They are the expert in the field and have a proven track record of churning out amazing artworks for successful campaigns. Cash on this wisdom and make the most of this engagement by going beyond just vendor-company relationship. Listen to their inputs on what is trending in the market. For example, you may have a liking for a particular font for all communication, but it might be out-dated. Your customers would prefer something fresh and new. If your agency suggests such changes, try to accept them with an open mind.
8. Leverage all work created across all marketing platforms
Working successfully with graphic designing service provider means making the most of all the work created by them. That will require you to market it on all communication platforms like social media, website, blogs, trade shows, etc. Let the design reach every customer and prospect. The wonderful piece of work created with so much brainstorming, revisions, feedback and thoughtful execution is not made to be kept locked in your personal computers. A lot of marketers fail to leverage the different mediums available to spread awareness about their products. Your graphic design service provider may be able to help you in this area as well. Try asking if they also can create multiple size options of the same design that can go on various marketing platforms.
9. Have clear engagement terms
In every contract, it is very important to have clear terms of the agreement including costing, delivery timelines, deliverable type, etc. It is better to have clarity of all the terms with no hidden terms and conditions from either party. One of the areas that you may want to look at is the payment per hour or project-based. Companies generally prefer project-based payments independent of the number of hours invested in the delivery. This approach is advantageous to make the most of the engagement with the graphic design service provider because then the project does not stop because the number of hours has extended the approved figure. Or there is no risk of over exceeding your budget due to an extended number of hours.
10. Keep things simple
This is a golden rule that can be applied to almost every business process including graphic designing. This is especially very effective in designing because the less the clutter in the design, better are the chances of getting the attention of the consumer. Consumers these days are bombarded with advertisements and messages across all platforms including radio, TV, billboards, emailers, social media, etc. This has set in fatigue for messages in them. To ease out this chaos, keep your design very simple and elegant. Use blank spaces, right hues, appealing fonts and attractive images. But do not overdo them at all.
All the rules in the world about working with your graphic design can never cover all the risks associated with outsourcing work to an agency. But this should not hold you from trying out some of the best services available in the market that can add real value to your business. As they say, “A ship in the harbour is safe but that is not what it is built for”. Follow the above broad rules, stick to your ethics and values and invest in a good partnership. Once you do these, you are ready to sail through all your business voyages with ease and success.