The 9 Key Essentials to Hiring
a Dallas Graphic Design Firm
Factory Creative knows it can be difficult in hiring a Dallas graphic design firm. To minimize the guesswork, we’ve compiled a list of the top nine reasons when it’s time to hire a Dallas graphic design firm:
Hiring a Dallas Graphic Design firm for your project can be a tricky task. There are so many options that you could spend the next several months looking through different websites and portfolios, trying to make your mind up. There are Dallas graphic design firms on your doorstep and a hundred miles away. They all promise that they can get the job done for you. So, how do you make up your mind when it comes to picking one for your next project? We know it can be overwhelming. Therefore, we have outlined the 9 key essentials objectives to consider.
1. Outline Your Project
The first thing to do when it comes to any sort of design project is to jot down a basic outline.
What exactly does the project entail?
Maybe you’re a start up company and you have no idea where to start when it comes to the design side of the business. You know you need to get a logo designed, or do you need a website, brochure or digital marketing campaign. Chances are that your company will need more than just a logo design, you will also need an overall brand strategy developed. Keep in mind, that some top Dallas graphic design firms – like Factory Creative – also offer value add services all under one roof:
– Brand Strategy / Brand Positioning
– Logo Design
– Brochure Design
– Catalog Design
– Package Design
– Copywriting / Content Development
– Web Design / Web Programming
– SEO Strategy
– Social Media Marketing
– PPC / Paid Search Campaigns
– Digital Marketing Services
However, having at least some idea of what the objectives entails will help both you and your chosen Dallas graphic design firms.
What are the goals of the project?
Some people might say, the goal of the above project outline is “to make my start up look good.” However, this is flawed. The goal of “looking good” is subjective, and therefore, cannot be measured. For example, if you’re rebranding your existing company, you might set goals such as;
– We want to rebrand to increase monthly sales by 10%
– We want to increase recognition within [specific industry] using newly branded advertising. The increased recognition will be measured through our increased social media following.
– Our new look website will increase monthly profits by $1000
Do you have a budget in mind?
At this early stage in the project, you might be unaware of the costs related to your project. Thankfully, there are plenty of articles online that can help give you initial figures and ideas. It’s important to have a sensible budget in mind for your project, as later in the process, it will help make clear which Dallas graphic design firms do and don’t fit your requirements.
Having a flexible budget is also a good idea because Dallas graphic design firms can normally offer a variety of solutions, and your budget will allow them to offer you the right solution. It will also stop you worrying about budget creep and panicking that the final product might come in way over budget.
What is the deadline of the project?
Do you have a specific deadline that you need to meet? If you’re reading this now and wanting a rebrand finished in a month – that is not realistic. You best be prepared for the budget discussed above, and be more than a little flexible. Being realistic with both your own and the Dallas graphic design firm’s time will help the project along and show respect and understanding on your part.
If you’re looking to launch your new brand at the first of the year, don’t wait 2 months out to contact a top Dallas graphic design firms. Don’t even wait 3 months. Developing a successful, results-driven campaign or brand can take 4-6 months to create. If there’s a little more leeway in the timeline, the budget might swing more favorably in your direction. Work with your chosen Dallas design firms, rather than against them.
2. Find Some Examples of Work That Reflects Your Business
Deciding on a style of design that reflects your business can be a tricky task. Before hiring a Dallas graphic design firm, it’s a good idea to gather various examples before you starting calling. It’s important to remember that the best design for the job may not be to your personal taste. While you have to be comfortable with the work produced, think about the ultimate goals you set out in stage one. You have to try and put your personal feelings to one side and accept the fact that both yourself and your agency are going to be looking at what’s best for business.
That said, collating thoughts and ideas about the sort of styles you like and don’t can be a great catalyst that gets the creative juices flowing.
Don’t forget to think outside of the box. If you see anything inspiring when you’re on your travels, take a photo. Collect things, cut them up, make a mood board. You can easily scan or photograph a physical mood board later on in the process and share it with your chosen Dallas graphic design firm. If you choose a local agency, you could even take it with you when you meet them.
Are there any companies or brands that you admire?
Looking at companies you admire is a good idea and can help create a mental picture of what your brand is all about. For example, if you’re in the restaurant industry there is a huge variety in competitors, companies and brands. Are you trying to position yourself as a fast food restaurant/chain, or is your eatery a fine dining experience?
This sort of thing is really helpful to a Dallas graphic design firms and will really give them an idea of how to approach your project. Chances are, if you’re selling takeaway fried chicken, you’re not going to be wanting top of the line luxury business stationery.
3. Before hiring a Dallas Graphic Design Firm checkout their websites and portfolios
So you have the top Dallas graphic design firms that you like the look of. When you click through to their website, what are you looking for? Look over the following things;
Are they updating their site regularly?
Having a regularly updated portfolio in the design industry is a rarity. Sometimes projects are expansive and last 6 months, some lasting a year, some several years and some contracts go on a lifetime. That said, hiring a Dallas graphic design firm should show some signs of life. Whether that be blog posts (one a week, one a month – something) or an active Twitter feed, as long as you know the agency isn’t dead in the water, keep them on your shortlist.
Who have they worked for in the past?
The Dallas graphic design firms you’ve found will have a vast array of work. It’s worth considering if they’ve done any work for companies similar to yours in the past. If they have, you could ask questions like; “How did your work directly benefit the company?” and “What are you going to ensure that my project is different?” Have they got any other projects that you imagine working well for your venture?
Do they work with reputable and respectable companies? Some agencies will have worked for large branding, but they may also have worked local start-ups. Don’t make the mistake of seeing the big name brands and automatically thinking that they are the best agency on the list. Think about the best results for your business.
Have a good look around at the websites of Dallas graphic design firms. See if you can find any information discussing their processes, ideas, methodologies or beliefs. It can sometimes be helpful to find out if there is any pricing information on their website too, because if the difference between your and their recommended budget is huge, there might not be any achievable middle ground. Therefore, cross them off the list.
4. Follow The Dallas Graphic Firms on Social Media
At this point, you’ll have significantly less names on your shortlist than you started with. For some reason along the way, you’ve discarded one or two, that’s the nature of the process. The next thing we would suggest you do, is follow the agencies that remain on social media.
While the social media activity of the company isn’t the be all and end all, it does help paint a picture of the sort of Dallas graphic designs firm that you might be dealing with in the future. If they’re retweeting stupid things from spammy Twitter accounts, it’s probably worth noting that down. If they’re talking openly and honestly with clients, other companies and other Twitter associates, you could pitch in on the discussion and see how they respond.
5. Narrow Down The Selection
At this point, you’re going to have a clear idea of the top Dallas graphic design firms you want to hire, and hopefully, your list is down 2-3 different companies, this is a sensible number. If you have any gut feelings one way or another, either cut, or prioritize those companies.
6. Contact 2-3 Dallas Graphic Design Firms to Discuss Your Project
Depending on the sort of person you are, you might decide that one method of communication suits you better than another. We suggest, always pick up the phone before doing anything else. It’s by far the quickest way of contact people, and if somebody will make time for you calling them, the chances are, you’ve found somebody that cares about your project.
Don’t just give the work to the first Dallas graphic design firm you contact. Assuming you contact them on a Monday, they will be busy with their current clients, and other things they have to do. Give each agency the full working week to reply. Any longer than 5 working days is too long to reply, and it’s fairly safe to assume they’re not interested in your project.
The key to making the decision, is seeing which of your Dallas graphic design firms you connect with best. If you get a bog standard admin email back “Yes, we’re interested, send the documents” then, yes, they may be interested, but it’s not the same as a Creative Director picking up the phone and having a good conversation and chat through the project with you.
Remember to ask things like “What can you do with my budget?” and “How have you helped other businesses like mine grow in the past?” These are the key questions to unlocking doors and it will help make your decision a lot easier. They might fire back at you with something slightly more expensive than the budget you had in mind. If it’s a big difference you might feel uneasy, but if you really want to work with this Dallas design firm, ask if they’re flexible, see what they can do for you on the price and on the payment schedule.
Another important thing to ask is; “Can I have a look over your Terms and Conditions document?” Make sure that at the end of the project, you’ll have the rights to use the artwork in whichever way you see fit, and that you don’t have to license it from the agency. Ask a legal professional or another business associate to look over this with you.
7. Step Back
Before making any decisions about where to place the work, step back from the whole situation. Even if it’s just for a day, ignore the whole scenario, don’t talk about it, don’t open emails or look at design work. Then, once you’re feeling refreshed, go back to it and see if the decisions you’ve made up until this point had been correct. At this point, I would also get a close friend or family member that knows you and your business inside out, to sit with you and ask you questions about the choices you’ve made to date. This way, you can be sure that your logic stands up to scrutiny and go into the final decision with confidence.
8. Compare Responses and Make Decisions
Once you have; compared the responses, made sure your budgets match up, checked over the terms and conditions, talked to the Dallas graphic design firms and had a good feeling about it, you should have a fairly good idea of where you want to place the work. At this point, reaffirm your decision by calling the design company back for another chat, or perhaps arranging a meeting.
Before putting the work to them, ask who will be managing your account and how many people will be working on your project. If you’re unsure why a team of 10 are working on your project, ask. Ask to meet the team that will be involved in your project. Is all of their work done in house? Ask a lot of questions.
Once you’re 100% confident in your decision, let your chosen Dallas graphic design firm know, and they’ll advise you what to do next. At this point, it’s polite to let the other agencies you’ve been in contact with that you’ve decided to place the work elsewhere.
9. Build a Relationship
We firmly believe that the best design comes from the best relationships. Over the last year or two, we’ve built great relationships with our clients. They come back to us on a regular basis with more work and we love hearing from them because it’s like catching up with friends.
Down the line, if you need a new print or website page designed and you were pleased with the quality of work you received, go back to them. Great relationships yield great results and it never harms to go out for a beer or a coffee together. Eventually, you should find yourself using your Dallas graphic design firm as a business partner, rather than “something that needs doing.”
Can hiring a Dallas graphic design firm to help market your business? Will they feature your project on their website and use you as a case study? All of this adds to the exposure of your brand and it’s well worth asking if they plan on using you as a portfolio example in the future. If they are, be prepared to offer up a testimonial about the project.
It’s also worth asking your Dallas graphic design firm if they can source or provide your print work for you. If they’ve designed the artwork, chances are, they’re going to be able to get a better result than a random low-cost print supplier. Building a relationship with a client is always rewarding and it really does make for the best design work.
Well, there you have it. We hope these 9 key essentials have been helpful hiring a Dallas graphic design firm. If you’d like more information how graphic design can impact you business, then checkout Forbes® article “The Direct Correlation Between Good Design Business Growth“.
Need help strengthening your company’s brand and marketing campaigns? Then contact Factory Creative today – we have the results-driven solutions you’ve been searching for.