Investing wisely in design

Re-thinking your design strategy?

If you’re responsible for communications or marketing for your organisation, perhaps you’re thinking about how design could be used more effectively to amplify your internal and external messaging?

Investing wisely in great design should help your organisation engage with your target audiences more easily, communicate the amazing work you are doing, deliver key messages and portray a positive image. But good design isn’t easy to achieve; finding the right agency to suit you and your organisation can be time consuming, challenging and, if you get it wrong, expensive.

With an array of design agencies and freelancers promising great service and showcasing their work at competitive costs, it can be difficult to differentiate suppliers. So, to help you on your quest, we’ve used our 21 years’ experience in the design business to identify key criteria for finding the right design support to suit you and your organisation.

1. Source locally

Delivering great design is a creative process and that takes chemistry. The only way to know if you have the right chemistry with the people working on your account is to meet them face to face and that’s why we believe using a local design agency can be an invaluable advantage.

There’s nothing better than getting in a room together with the people working with you. Despite the many digital options, it’s still the best way to communicate a brief, provide feedback and generate discussion. It can also be helpful to see where your designers are working and get a feel for their business and their culture.

Partnering with the right agency could mean the difference between something that just looks nice and design that actually helps amplify your voice, engages with your audiences and ultimately provides a good investment.

2. Do your research

Before you meet with potential design companies, do your research. Study their websites to find out about the people and philosophy behind the business as well as familiarizing yourself with past work and case study examples. Find out as much as you can about their projects and clients and the challenges they may have had to overcome to achieve the final results. Reading blogs, news and social media channels from the agency will also help you get a deeper understanding of the approach, tone and the personality of their business.

3. Be open about your budget

When you meet a new design agency, don’t be afraid to talk about money. Ask for a pricing structure and if you have a budget, share it. Be very clear on what you expect for the agreed price and if there is any change in direction once the project progresses, make sure your agency is transparent on any additional costs and get these agreed before moving forward.

4. Be smart about using your design resources

With so many ways to communicate, from print to digital, establish early on how you can make the most out of your budget. If your agency is working on a printed brochure, consider if there are any elements that can be taken and shared on digital platforms including your website and social media? For example, infographics and new photography can be a great investment as they work brilliantly on both print and digital platforms.

5. Review and re-evaluate

At the end of a project, or even quarterly, schedule a review meeting. This is a great way to get everyone around the table and have an honest discussion about whether your design objectives are being met, and if you are happy that you are getting good value for money and efficient account servicing. This is a two-way relationship, so it’s also the perfect opportunity for the agency to raise any issues as well as yourselves.

Developing a long term relationship with a design agency has huge advantages; their understanding of your brand, philosophy and messaging will deepen and delivering great results should get easier. However, if you aren’t happy don’t be afraid to move on. There is a wealth of creative talent available so there’s no need to accept second best.

At nim design we pride ourselves on our transparent, professional and honest culture. We have worked this way for over 21 years and continue to collaborate with ethically minded organisations that are looking to invest wisely in design.

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