How Do I Cut Back on My Outsourced Graphic Design Revisions?

outsource your graphic designTo realize inbound marketing success, you’ll eventually need some graphic design services. We’ve got a collective office crush on, but sometimes you need a bit more than the platform can offer. Will you do it yourself? Outsource? Hire a full or part-time employee? There’s positives and negatives to both. In today’s marketing world, you will eventually need graphic design services.

The first option might be the easiest to determine.  If you are like me and don’t have any design ability, then doing it myself is not an option.  If you do have design ability you really need to evaluate the idea closely, and determine if it’s the best use of your time to be doing the graphic design yourself.  Too many times, entrepreneurs and small business leaders undervalue their own time and do not focus on the things that are most important to make the business grow.  They need to work on their business and not in it.

Outsourcing Effectively

The second option is to outsource your graphic design.  This is a great option when you are getting started and begin to exceed your in-house capacity.  There are many outstanding graphic designers out there who freelance both on the side and for a living.  We’ve built a great, long-term relationship with a local stay-at-home parent with an incredible skill set (and no, we won’t share her contact information). The key to finding a good one is really two fold.  The first is finding one who has the talent to do what you need.  The only way to know this is by looking at their portfolio of what they have done and seeing if it aligns with your vision.  Secondly is communication.  If either you or the graphic design artist is a poor communication you will be headed for trouble.

Communicating Details Effectively

Being able to put together even a rough outline of branding standards and an outline of what you are looking for is helpful.  You know your clients better than anyone, so it’s important to remember that your graphic designer doesn’t know them at all.  So logos, preferred colors, things that are must-haves and things that are off-limits for a given client are most important.  Also being clear about the costs, the number of revisions and the timeframe for delivery are key.  Finally, it helps if you have clear rates that allow you to address the need for an urgent project before it arises and what it will cost.

Don’t forget to relay specs for the final deliverables. Do you need a digital file, will it just be in pdf, or will you get the raw files as well? What are the costs associated with making changes in the future?  It is so important that you proof the designers work thoroughly.  Everyone can make mistakes and while the graphic designer does their best to prevent errors, typos do happen and it’s better for you to catch them rather than your client.  For me, I also like having my outsourcers at least within driving distance.  If we need to meet, we can – and, we do.  Many of ours have full time jobs and they work in the evenings and weekends so you need to understand their schedule and work accordingly.

Do I Need a Staff Designer?

So when do you know if it’s time to hire an employee to do your graphic design?  The answer of course is that it depends.  The financial decision is a simple one. If you are outsourcing more than it would cost you for an employee, including benefit costs, than it might make financial sense.  But the thing to remember is that it also depends on the diversity of the content that you are creating.  Every artist has their own style and methods and many times there are themes that can be seen throughout their work.  Using multiple outsourcers helps eliminate some of these redundancies that may occur.  But a positive to having someone on staff is that you have the ability to do quick turn work and make changes on the fly.

Time Allocation and Communication are Crucial

Regardless of which way you and your company decide to go, one thing is certain – time allocation and communication are going to be the differentiators.  And even if you have graphic designers on staff it is important to have a stable of outsourcers to go to in the event of a spike in business.  The not-so-subtle benefit of using outsourcers is that it gives you a great pool of people to engage when full time opportunities become available.

I do regularly get asked where you can find reasonably priced graphic design talent.  There is no doubt that the local colleges have many young professionals who are looking to do an internship or freelance part time that you can engage with. While some choose to outsource overseas, I think that it is more trouble than it is worth.  Yes, it is less expensive but with time differences and communication challenges, I find it much easier to pay a little more and maintain real-time communication on your graphic design projects.

How have you managed your graphic design needs?

image credit: sweetcrisis/