How To Outsource Your Design Effectively

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. 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.


How have you managed your graphic design needs? Let Hawov help you with your design need !