7 Important Tips On How to Pick the Right Graphic Design Agency
In today’s world, brands are jousting for the ever-shrinking share of the human attention pie. Having the ability to put on a ‘visual show’ to entice their potential customers is critical for the brand’s success!
It’s not just us that say so, nearly 49% of small to medium-sized businesses consider graphic design as an essential part of their brand’s success. The best graphic design agencies are helping these businesses create brands that not only stand out within their niche but also grab the larger public imagination.
Now the question is, if graphic design is so great then why do so many businesses negate it? The answer is pretty simple, most of them aren’t aware of what makes the top graphic designers around the world, the best.
In this article, we alleviate this ‘knowledge deficit’ by empowering you the information you need to partner with the right graphic design company for you.
What Are Graphic Design Companies?
Graphic designers and companies are artists and hubs of creating a new digital art form that creates designs that capture the essence of brands. These graphics designs can be web User Interfaces, brand marketing materials, logos, etc.
While it is true that a graphic design agency is a hub of artistic creativity, we mustn’t forget that they are businesses at the end of the day. These agencies possess an astute understanding of what businesses need per their target market’s psychological and trends. This intuitive insight into the needs brand building enables them to boost any given campaign.
The 7 Step Checklist To Finding & Partnering With The Best Graphic Design Agencies
Now that you understand what a graphic design company is and what it does, it is now time to see what makes it great! We look at the qualities that make the best graphic design agencies stand out from the crowd and help you select the best and nothing else:
Step 1: Conduct Background Research
The first step towards selecting the right graphic design agency for your business is to conduct thorough background research.
You must always remember that a good graphic design agency will have a website that matches its caliber and a portfolio to showcase their work. If the said agency doesn’t have one of the two mentioned or both, you should run the other way from them!
Once preliminary research is done, investigate further to understand their design portfolio and inquire about the specific designs and projects undertaken by the company. This will give you an insight into the mindset of your potential designers. During this, you must also assess their graphic design quality compared to the rest of the industry.
Step 2: Range of Services Provided
A good graphic design service provider is the one that gives you a wide variety of services at your fingertips. The more comprehensive services suite they provide, the better for your business.
An agency that has experience in operating in multiple different verticals has more insight that can help you in your project. This also gives such an agency an intuitive understanding of the market and audience you’re targeting.
Such a partner agency reduces your workload by a considerable amount as you don’t have to guide them through all the nooks and crannies of your brand’s identity. Due to their previous experience they also greatly reduce operational clutter and increase optimization.
Step 3: Understand What Your Graphic Design Agency Needs
While it is true that you are the one who requires the service from a graphic designer/agency for your business. You also need to understand that a graphic designer/agency can’t help you if you don’t help them.
To create a partnership that works flawlessly, then you need to attend to the needs of your graphic design agency. A good agency will require certain things like your business journey, brand’s mission, brand colors, etc. that you must provide access to, which can enable them to create stellar designs.
Step 4: Create A Robust Channel Of Communication
Graphic design is a visual medium and therefore the chances of misplaced design priorities and philosophies can hamper your project greatly.
Therefore it is critical that you very early on in the project establish robust modes and protocols of communication to create a seamless working-dynamic. Once your creative visions are in sync with your graphic design partners, you can reach exponential levels of operational efficiency.
Step 5: Educate Yourself For A Better Work-Dynamic
Even though you don’t have intrinsic know-how of how graphic designing works or what goes into it all. You should have a basic understanding and knowledge of elements of graphic design.
What this will enable you to do is create a list of skills you want/need in your graphic design partner as lists like this can only get you so far. Therefore gaining self-reliance is paramount if you want to build a more equitable partnership where you call the shots and have full control over your creative vision.
Step 6: Conduct A Test Project
Before you jump into your primary project, you should conduct a trial project to test the experience, capability, and other peripherals of the graphic designers.
This also gives you an insight into their design process and helps you understand if they are the best fit for you or not.
These test projects need not be exhaustive, they can be restricted to a one-off thing that can be done within a few hours. As a result of which you will have a good understanding of how the primary project’s development will look like in the future.
Step 7: Understand Their Project Design & Development Timeline
The last thing to remember when selecting the right graphic designing partner for your business is their project compilation timeline. You must also understand that this timeline just doesn’t include the primary completion of the project, but also includes revision if necessary.
You should have an honest discussion with your prospective partner about the details of the project’s design and development timelines. Both parties should thoroughly discuss and review their process and increase efficiency once the project goes on the floor.
Therefore increase productivity by finalizing the project completion. Hence before starting the project and comparing that timeline with competitors to check the best and fastest solution available to you.
What Are Your Graphic Design Needs & Goals?
Now that you have an understanding of what makes up the best graphic design agencies in the world, it is time to outline your needs. The final step towards hiring a good graphic designing company is honing your needs and goals first. Hence you must outline your brand graphic design strategy.
Here is a simple breakdown of the four aspects you need to focus on to find the right graphic design partner:
#1 Focus On User Experience
The success or failure of your product or service has a lot to do with the first user interaction experience the users/customers have. Good interactions result in a satisfied customer-base, bad interactions not so much.
This is where visually stimulating graphic designs come into play. The branding of your product/service, the looks, the aesthetics, etc. has the potential to overrule minor flaws. Therefore increasing the quotient of good User Experience should be a primary guiding design principle.
#2 Envisioning The Brand Image
Designs are another method of brands communicating with their audiences, graphical designs add a visual aspect to the process. The use of certain colors and design elements establishes the tone & vision for your brand’s image. For example, the brand image for Burger King will be drastically different from Apple. Thus you must focus on envisioning the tone/setting of your brand’s image.
#3 Customer Communication and Engagement
Visual design is as close to limitless you can get in the modern world. As you can create anything to reflect your brand’s vision. The top graphic designers will be able to construct a wide variety of design philosophies and elements that engage customers and communicate your business’s brand identity. Once you create a coherent and compelling brand engagement strategy your partner designers will turn those ideas into reality.
#4 What is Your Graphic Design Budget?
Now the most important aspect of taking any business decision for a small to medium business enterprise. The dreaded ‘money talk’. Partnering with a good graphic design company is a wonderful opportunity. But for that, you need to get your financial priorities right.
Therefore you need to have an elaborated conversation with your designing partner about the given project. To chalk out a robust monetary plan.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while drawing your project budget:
- Expected Return on Investment
- Project completion timeline
- Resources required for the accomplishment of the project
- Potential number of revisions required (Educated guess)
- What works for you better – flat rates or per-hour rates?
The Bottom Line: Why Need A Good Partnership
Selecting the right design partner among the best graphic design agencies out their plays an instrumental role in creating a visual representation of your brand. This is the graphical representation that your customers will associate with your brand for a long time. Therefore it is paramount that you partner with the right people.
A lot of businesses keep switching graphic designers until they zero in on the right graphic design agency for them. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that practice. The more you change your designers the higher the chance of brand inconsistencies to creep in. In the highly competitive world, the lack of coherent brand imagery or identity can hamper your long term growth prospects.
Therefore it is better to take some time and focus on choosing the right partner from the beginning. Handpick the team of top graphic designers and work and create a harmony of operations to build a flawless design & development process. For you shan’t forget the impact of the first impression is more often than not the last!