How important are graphics and visuals to your business?
The statistics on this might be surprising to you. We all know that people tend to be drawn to videos, and infographics more than simply written content. But visuals also impact how people process information, how quickly, and how much they remember.
As a quick example, if someone hears or reads a piece of information, they’re likely to remember only ten percent of that information three days later. But if the information is in the form of a visual, or paired with a reinforcing image, they tend to retain up to sixty-five percent of the information three days later.
Well-designed graphics and branding also play a part in how your brand is received, the type of people that are drawn to it, customer engagement, and memorability.
With all that at stake, no one can afford to have anything less than the best graphic design company working to design their company visuals!
But there’s a pretty big glut on the market when it comes to designers, whether they’re freelancers or work with a design company. So how do you choose what’s best for you?
And not only that, what part do you as the owner play in developing your visual content?
Let’s take a look at five important rules for choosing the best graphic design company, walking you through the process from the beginning.
Rule 1: Know Your Project
Before you ask anyone to design visuals for your company, it’s really important to know exactly what your company is all about.
This is true whether you’re:
- Starting from scratch with a new business, need to build it from the ground up. You’ll need such basics as a new logo, website design, and style manual.
- Re-branding your business, building on previous designs. You will still probably need a complete overhaul, to keep everything up to date and harmonious within your brand.
- Designing for a specific feature, service, or promotion. The designs will need to fit in with existing designs, being on-brand and on-message, while still bringing something new to the table to fit your individual need.
This part requires definite legwork on your own initiative, but it’s seriously vital to the success of hiring a graphic design artist to work with you. Jumping headfirst into searching for a graphic design company without knowing what you’re looking for will only end in frustration for you and for the designer.
Analyze your company, your goals, your personality, and your message. Do market research to know who your competitors are, so you can avoid choosing designs that look like copycats.
Next, you’ll put that forethought to work for you.
Rule 2: Draft A Creative Brief
Creative briefs are a way to take all the thought you put into your project and boil it down to specifics.
Common inclusions in a good creative brief are features like the following:
- Overall budget
- Projected timeline/deadline
- What deliverables are included
- Competitors and market research
- Specific goals
- Any existing style guidelines or requests
All of these are important, but the goal aspect deserves special attention.
It might be easy just to say, “Our goal is to grow.” But specifics are really the way to go when contracting with a graphic design company because visuals can do a lot to actually help you meet those goals.
Want to motivate customers to come into your store? Good graphic design includes things like attention to the psychology of color, which helps us to understand which colors are more likely to motivate someone to action.
Want to make sure that your calls to action are clearly understood and easy to follow through on? Good graphic design makes both of those happen.
Again, an unclear, vague idea of what you want is frustrating for everyone involved.
Rule 3: Analyze Existing Design
Now that you’ve got this far in the search for your best possible graphic design company, it’s time to start taking a look around at what is out there.
You should have already done some market research, so you should know what type of visuals and what trends might be followed in your particular niche. It’s up to you whether you want to follow or buck those trends, but either way, they can be useful.
Analyzing existing design tells you more about what you want in your own design — and what you don’t.
Look through competitors’ websites, Google searches for your niche or products, and example sites such as Behance or Pinterest. Make a list of what you want to include in your brand identity design, and what you want to avoid.
And now’s the time to start putting together the list of companies that you’re going to check out in more detail. Remember, there are plenty of options out there, but that doesn’t mean that each graphic designer is created equally.
In fact, the next step will address one of the primary ways to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Rule 4: Look At Portfolios
Design portfolios can be found on the designer’s website, and often the creations of individual designers are featured in social media posts and blog articles, to give you a good idea of what that specific designer can do. And what they like to do. And, also, what they really can’t do.
Simply put, if you don’t like a designer’s portfolio, you won’t like what they do for you.
There are plenty of accomplished designers out there, people who know how to put visuals together, people who are skilled and experienced at creating brands from nothing. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a one size fits all proposition.
When looking at portfolios of potential designers, remember the following analyzing questions:
- Does the designer’s aesthetic fit with my company’s personality?
- Does the designer have a wide range of abilities, or are they seemingly restricted?
Make a shortlist of potential design companies, and get ready to move on to the next step.
Rule 5: Interview Potential Designers
It may seem like you’ve gone through a lot of different steps just to get to the point where you can hire someone to design for yours. But the process isn’t over yet.
Before you settle on a designer at last, you should definitely interview your candidates.
The questions you ask your chosen graphic designer should be tailored to your own individual needs, and can reflect the specifics on your design brief. But there are also some other issues to consider.
- If you want to work with or meet with your designer in person, are they local?
- If you will be corresponding with them online, are they responsive and do they get back to you quickly?
- Do they understand what your company is about and what you expect from them?
- Are they willing to have an ongoing business relationship?
- Can you see yourself working with that designer?
Often, the personal touch is what “sells” a person offering a service. So you may be more drawn to one company rep than another. But even with that gut instinct telling you to opt for Designer Number Two, pay attention to any warning signs that the company isn’t the best choice for you.
Warning signs like:
- Inability to commit to your budget
- Inability to commit to your projected timeline
- Unwillingness to discuss their work
- Inability to answer your questions
If one or more of these seem like they may be an issue, it’s best not to choose that graphic design company. After all, visuals are vital to the health and growth of your business.
Additional: Maintaining Your Visual Connection
In that last step, we mentioned the designer’s willingness to potentially continue working with you. Though of course if there are creative differences — or if the designer isn’t as reliable as they seemed to be at the interview — you’ll go your separate ways, it’s important to the harmony of your brand to maintain a consistent style.
And often that means working with the same designer when you need something new created.
A video that displays how your product works or how your service will benefit clients, goes a long way. You can work with your graphic designer to brand your video or you could use a video maker like FlexClip to create one. A video maker is a fast and reliable way to get more video content out to meet consumer demands.
Good graphic designers know how important your visuals are to your growth. And the best graphic design company will be dedicated to your success, leading to a long-lasting business partnership that means the best results for you.
Good visuals are important. Don’t settle for anything less than the best graphic design company.