Trying to find a suitable graphic design company for your project is one of the hardest tasks and you could potentially find yourself involved in a full-time job of endless searching.
This is because there are so many choices to consider, and most of them have the potential to deliver outstanding results. They also have noteworthy portfolios that you simply can’t overlook. These varieties of graphic design companies range from local to international outfits. What criteria do you use to qualify the best one without spending your entire lifetime searching?
1. Develop a comprehensive outline for your project
The best way to find a solution to a problem is by going back to basics. Write down a simple and basic outline of what you want your project to involve.
What does your project entail?
You could be a startup or an existing company with hazy ideas on what you need to be done in detail. It’s always good to start with the smallest details about the kind of picture you have in your mind. Write everything down in a checklist format to make it easy to get the scope of the entire problem before approaching the graphics designer.
Determine the goals of your project
In this case, it is very important to come up with measurable goals. For instance, if your goal is to rebrand, you could say “I want to rebrand in order to increase my lead generation targets by 30% per month.” This is a valid goal. Keep in mind that all goals need to be S.M.A.R.T, meaning:
You can jot down about three to five goals for your prospective graphics design firm so they can understand your problems well in order to know how to help you.
What is your budget?
Whether this is your first project or otherwise, it’s very hard to know how much you’ll be charged for a design project since everything is bespoke. Therefore, most people prefer to start from their own budget estimates that they expect to spend. Unfortunately, this does not always correspond to the reality on the ground. In most cases, client’s price estimates are usually a lot less than what the design company offers to charge for a project.
In spite of all this, it is still recommended to have a budget estimate although it needs to be FLEXIBLE. Otherwise, a strict budget may restrict the design firm from offering you the most suitable solutions for your project.
On the other hand, a budget also allows you to qualify and disqualify graphic design companies that are way beyond your reach, although other factors may be considered as well.
What is the deadline for your project?
Every project must have a deadline to be met. Do you have a particular deadline in mind? Typically, deadlines usually depend on the type and scope of work to be done hence, as a client, you will come up with deadline estimates and the designer will weigh up whether it’s workable or not. Sometimes you’ll find clients offering inadequate deadlines for projects that require a lot of work detail. If you’re in such a situation, be prepared for a heavy budget because graphic designers will most likely outsource some of their work in order to meet that deadline.
2. Look for work examples that demonstrate what you want to achieve
This can be quite a tough aspect to consider because the best graphic design job that matches your business goals/objectives may not necessarily be your personal favorite. Remember the goals you aligned in step 1, you will have to set aside your personal feelings and trust your design company to do their best to meet them in the best way possible. Now that we have that out of the way, there are numerous ways that you can use to collate your ideas.
These include taking photos of things you think might help the designers and creating a mood board that you can scan and submit. You can use sites like Pinterest, Crattica, and Dribble to get off the ground.
Do you have companies that you esteem?
This is another great idea that can help in establishing a mental image of what your brand represents. If you’re in the restaurant sector where there are numerous competitors and brands, determine whether you want to place yourself as a fast food restaurant or a fine dining eatery. This will help the graphic design firm have an idea on the best way to approach your project.
3. Now start searching for the best graphic design firm to handle your project
Now that you’ve got your basic plan and a bit of some imagination in place, it’s time to start searching. As you may have realized, simply typing “graphic design firm” on a search engine won’t yield useful results for you. The secret to searching is being specific with your search terms. One of the best ways of doing this is by adding your location name. For example, “graphic design firm in PA”. That should narrow down results to Pennsylvania. However, if your budget is tight, consider narrowing further to the city level like Pittsburgh as rates are more likely to decrease.
Look in popular design marketplaces
If that doesn’t work for you, consider visiting sites like Behance and Dribble which are great places for both freelance designers and agencies alike. Here you have an option to hire a designer based on almost every criterion you have in mind.
Ask from within your circle of influence
Referrals are a great way to get your projects done by trusted people, which is sure to save you a lot of time, money and energy. You might think that you don’t know anyone who may have been in your current state, but ignore that thought. Why not start with your good old buddy Facebook? Just post a status update on Facebook asking for anyone with great recommendations for you to consider.
Additionally, you can look through brand identities from your business acquaintances and even websites that you admire, and find a way of getting in touch with them. Ask who did that job for them.
4. Investigate on their websites, portfolios, social media
Finally, you should have a good list of prospective companies to consider, but you must vet them carefully. Here are quick things to look for:
• Regular website updates, e.g. blog posts
• Investigate and confirm if their testimonials are genuine
• Try to find recognizable brands that they’ve worked with in the past
5. Follow them on their social media outlets
Social media following will allow you to get a good picture of what sort of entities you’re looking to work with, gauged by the quality and relevance of content posted, frequency and responses they get from people. A good amount of responses means that other people are finding value in services offered by these design firms.
6. Compare responses and take your pick
Now you should have a list of about 5 different design firms to consider, hailing from different locations around the world. It would be great if there is a local provider, but not necessary. To break the barriers, engage these providers in a conversation, individually, and be keen to observe how they approach your business relations.
Ask for quotations, which you must then compare intricately to find which ones are feasible for your project, among other items. Ask for a possible meeting. It could either be offline (if the design is situated locally) or a web based meeting over Skype.
Make sure that you already have a set of questions lined up to ask at the meeting. Once you’re fully contented about who you choose for the project, make your decision known to them and they’ll advice you on the way forward.
NOTE: Do not be hasty. It’s totally fine if you decide to take a day off and think about it for a while before committing.
7. Establish a relationship
After choosing your design agency, it’s important to establish a relationship because it makes work easy for all parties involved and you get the best results.
If you follow the above steps, you should be good to go and the decisions you make based on them are highly likely to minimize any chances of assigning your projects to the wrong parties. Remember to always do due diligence before engaging your commitments with service providers.