If there is one task you can outsource right now it is probably graphics design. Unless you own a design or an advertising company, it does not really make any sense to hire a fulltime graphics designer.
By outsourcing graphics design to another company, you will be able to free up precious time that you can then use for other more important tasks.
Looking for the right design company can be quite tricky though, especially with what seems like an overabundance of design and creative agencies in the world. What follows are five tips for outsourcing graphic design projects.
Experience Over Skills
If you have to choose between skills and experience, you should choose the latter. Of course, the best company for your business is one who has a good balance of young and experienced employees.
In a study conducted by Development Dimensions International, managers assessed that older employees have significantly better work habits compared to younger ones.
You need to understand that graphic design is more than just knowing how to use software and create visual material. It really means being able to create visual representations of a company’s principles and ideals.
Any designer can create a logo or a poster but only experienced ones can capture a company’s character and turn them into effective and eye-catching designs. Experienced designers have knowledge that cannot be acquired in any school or training.
The problem with good freelance graphics agencies is that they are almost always overbooked. So even if you find one you need to be sure that they will have time to do your projects.
This is the trade-off that you have to deal with when you choose to outsource your graphic design projects instead of hiring an in-house designer. When you hire a full-time employee, he or she is obligated to finish your projects.
Again, this is where getting referrals and reading reviews and testimonials would help. No matter how good an agency is, they will not be of any good use to your company if you can’t rely on them to finish a project.
What you can do to protect your business is to draft a contract and have the agency sign it before starting the work. The contract should be as detailed as possible.
According to commercial and contracts lawyer Paul Levy, “the key to getting the (contract) schedule right, for both sides, will often be carefully defining exactly what the services provided should be, what constitutes satisfactory or unsatisfactory performance, events of termination and so on.”
It is also important to find an agency that you can have a good working relationship with. So when you search for a design company, you need to think long-term.
Look for Skills that Match Your Needs
Not all graphic design agencies are the same. Some are better in one or several aspects of design than others. For example, there are companies who are good at creating logos then there are those who specialize in web design. The right agency is one that matches your needs.
This is why before you go out and search for a design company, you should determine the type of designs that you need for your business. If you can get a versatile agency that can do different types of work then that would be an ideal scenario.
But you should also be open to hiring different agencies to do different tasks. You should also consider your company culture and marketing approach when you start to look for a graphic design company.
“Hiring employees who understand and exemplify company values serves to reinforce the organization’s mission and vision and create a tighter team,” said Will Staney, Head of Global Recruiting of job search website Glassdoor.
If you are in a traditional company with traditional values, then an agency who specializes in cutting-edge design may not be for you.
Good Communication is Important
Communication is a very important yet often neglected component of the outsourcing process. This is why in a study published by the International Journal of Business Communication, it was revealed that effective communication skills are the most desirable qualities for a potential hire.
Keep in mind that communication is a two-way street. You need to be able to effectively communicate your needs to your design agency. The agency, on the other hand, must be able to understand what you are looking for.
If you are working with a company overseas then communication can be very challenging. This is why American companies can be forgiven for wanting to work with a native English speaker.
Good communication is not limited to one’s ability to speak and understand a particular language well. It is also about the ability to express an idea in a simple and understandable way. It also includes the openness to accept new ideas and perspectives.
One at a Time
Even if you are planning to hire a graphics design agency to do more than just one project, it would be wise not to overwhelm them. So what you can do is assign the agency one project at a time.
This is also a way for you to assess the skills, talent, aesthetic sense, and even the work ethic of an agency’s designers. When an agency is not overwhelmed with work, it is more likely to turn out inspired work and deliver on time.
If the agency ends up doing work that does not satisfy you then you can either let it go or let it do other types of work.
Set a Budget
If this is the first time that you are going to hire a graphics design agency (or the first time in a long while) then you should familiarize yourself with the current going rates. This will help you set a realistic budget for your projects.
In Freelancer.com, the average graphic design project is completed for $140. Facebook groups devoted to freelance work are also good sources of information. In general, agencies charge around $85 to $100 per hour.
Outsourcing graphic design projects offer plenty of benefits. But you need to do it right. The six tips mentioned above can help you achieve outsourcing success.
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