Outsourcing graphic design can be an excellent way to save time and money, but only if it’s done correctly. The opposite can happen if it’s not approached with care. The key to success lies in choosing the right designer or design agency and going into the process with the right expectations and the necessary tools for success.
With our years of experience in the field, we’ve put together these essential tips to help you succeed in your graphic design outsourcing endeavors.
1. Figure Out Your Design Needs
Before diving into outsourcing, it’s crucial to figure out what your design needs are. Do you require occasional social media posts, or are you looking for a more comprehensive set of graphic design services including catalogues, logos, flyers, cover images, ad creatives, sales pitches, and more?
It’s important to not only consider what you need to outsource presently but also what additional services might be beneficial for you that you haven’t yet considered. The scope of your needs will greatly influence whom you choose to outsource to.
2. Select the Right Partner
When it comes to selecting a partner for your graphic design needs, it’s often better to choose one entity that can handle all your requirements. This approach saves time and helps maintain consistency in your designs across various platforms and formats.
Ensure that your chosen partner has the necessary experience, fits within your budget, can agree to your payment terms, and is able to meet your turnaround time requirements.
Checking out their portfolio or case studies is essential to gauge their capabilities. Checking blogs directory is also helpful. Communication ease is another critical factor; having a dedicated chat group or a phone call for potentially long-term partnerships can be very beneficial.
3. Establish Your Brand’s Visual Identity
If you don’t already have a set of brand guidelines, it might be wise to have your design partner develop this first. A brand playbook is more than just a reference document; it ensures that all designs are recognizable as part of your brand, regardless of the format or platform.
This document typically includes specifications for typography, colors, logo usage, visual elements, and other key design instructions. More advanced versions can delve into details about your brand voice and personality, appropriate choices for photos, icons, and illustrations, as well as your competitive advantages. If you already have a brand playbook, you might want your designer to update or expand it.
4. Communicate Your Requirements Clearly
Being explicit and clear about your initial requirements is critical for the success of your offshore outsourcing endeavor. This clarity can be the difference between a result that’s spot-on or one that leads to serious disappointment and wasted time.
Make sure to include all necessary details in your brief: the format, dimensions, whether you need copywriting or expect the designer to provide it, the general style, colors, expectations, intended use of the design (which helps them in research and achieving the purpose of the design), typography formats, and any images or logos to include.
You should also provide reference styles and designs, and consider sketching out a layout if you already have a specific vision in mind. If you’re unsure about the direction, make it clear that you’re open to the designer’s research and creativity, possibly looking at what industry leaders are doing. Remember, the more detailed your brief, the more closely the final product will align with your expectations.
5. Be Clear and Realistic About Deadlines
If you have a hard deadline for your design projects, it’s important to communicate this clearly with your designer or account manager right from the start. One way to expedite a rush job is to provide detailed instructions, as this saves the designer time in research and creative problem-solving.
Don’t hesitate to ask whether your deadline is realistic or if there’s anything you can do to help speed up the process. Design agencies, with their larger teams, are often better equipped to meet tight deadlines compared to individual freelancers. However, as a general rule, it’s advisable to plan your designs well in advance to allow sufficient time for revisions and refinement.
6. Embrace the Revision Process
The revision process is a critical aspect of outsourcing graphic design. It’s important to be upfront and honest in your feedback. If a design doesn’t match your vision, it’s better to err on the side of overcommunication than to settle for something that doesn’t meet your needs.
However, remember that the need for revisions should decrease over time as the designer or agency becomes more attuned to your preferences and standards. Keep in mind that if the quality consistently falls short of your expectations, this might be due to the limitations of the designer or agency, and it might be time to consider other options.
7. Ask for Their Professional Advice
Designers and agencies, with their vast experience in creating hundreds or thousands of designs, can be a valuable source of creative input. If you’re unsure about certain aspects of your design, don’t hesitate to seek their advice. They can provide insights and suggestions that might not have crossed your mind.
You can also ask to see their past work for inspiration or inquire if they have any suggestions for improving your copy or other elements of your design. This collaborative approach can lead to more innovative and effective designs.
8. Build on Past Designs
Leveraging past designs can save time and ensure consistency in your branding. For example, a previously created sales pitch document can serve as a foundation for a new catalogue or company introduction.
Similarly, making slight adjustments to existing social media graphics for new campaigns can be more efficient, especially if the designer charges by the hour. This approach not only saves resources but also ensures that all your materials have a cohesive look and feel, reinforcing your brand identity.
9. Build a Relationship
Developing a strong, ongoing relationship with your designer or agency is crucial, especially for outsourced partners. Regular catch-up calls can help keep projects on track and provide opportunities for discussing new ideas and future plans. Expressing gratitude and appreciation for their work goes a long way in nurturing this relationship.
Additionally, being open about any challenges or issues you encounter can lead to more supportive and tailored services. A nurtured relationship often means that your design partners will be more committed and willing to go the extra mile for your projects.
By integrating these practices into your approach to outsourcing graphic design, you can enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and overall quality of the design work, while also fostering a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with your design partners.
Looking to Outsource Your Graphic Design Needs?
Sphere Services is here for you. We specialize in creating stunning social media graphics, impactful marketing materials, detailed catalogues, intuitive UX/UI design, stylish apparel design, and more. Our team of creative experts understands the nuances of visual storytelling and brand representation.
Let us help bring your vision to life with designs that not only look great but also resonate with your audience. Contact us today to elevate your graphic design game!