You need to find a new, fresh graphic design company for a project. It needs to be executed perfectly. You don't have much time, but you have a few leads from friends / colleagues / social media, and you need to make a decision. How do you choose the right design firm for your endeavor?
Winnowing down your list by making decisions that are correct for your business and project isn't difficult. Think through the following steps, and you will be able to make an informed choice about which graphic design company, or companies, you'd like to approach with your Request For Proposal (RFP).
Consider Graphic Design Aesthetic
Let's preface this by mentioning that we hope you have a fully-realized brand identity kit, and you don't really need this information - your project's design is determined by your style guide and specifications. If so, skip ahead to the next section. If not, you might be looking for a creative team to develop your brand identity? Consider contacting pondSoup, as you keep reading.
Obviously, you don't want a designer with a cobbled-together portfolio of crudely executed designs that look like a 3-year old made them - unless that's the design aesthetic that would work best for your company. The graphic design firm that produces the designs you "like best," is relative to your own aesthetic. If your brand is you, look no further - make your decision based on what you like. If your brand has a clearly stated business goal, objective, mission, and/or philosophy, you want a creative services agency that can design to those concepts. Look for graphic design companies with varied portfolios of relevant work, well executed, but different - designed to the brand they're working with, not to their own design sensibilities. If your brand is niche or in a clearly-specified genre or industry, you might now look to...
Look for Specialization or Relevant Experience
If you need a logo and brand identity designed for a luxury fashion brand, you might consider looking at a graphic design company that specializes in creating logos, works in fashion, or both. Similarly, if you need marketing collateral design for a gala fundraiser for your non-profit organization, you should include a firm with experience working with non-profits in your RFP list (they know about the Board approval process, for example, and plan for it). Considering a firm that specializes in your field, or works with clients in your industry, assures they're comfortable with any specifics of your companies process and workflow. But you also want to make sure they have experience with your type of project.
Make sure your graphic design company has the right kind of experience
Your project might have extenuating circumstances - a huge print run, customized / personalized aspects, installation or construction concerns, a specific application - these should inform your selection of a graphic design company. If you need 1,000,000 pieces of print marketing collateral designed, produced, and drop-shipped to 100 locations across the country, and each location needs their own address on their collateral, find a company that has done that type work in the past. You don't want them learning on your project. Ask questions in your RFP about past experience germane to your project, and references from companies they have worked with if your project scope demands a specialized execution. Of course, if your extenuating circumstance is time...
Make sure they're available, and be clear about your timeline
If you need your creative "yesterday," there are companies who will execute decent design work, quickly. If it's cheap, watch out (read our forthcoming missive on cheap, good, and fast). But you should make your decision yesterday as well, to give them as much time as possible to try to be designers, not "operators." Unless you need operators to make 50 versions of a business card overnight. Seems like there is always a caveat?
Be honest with your timeline and deliverables in your RFP, and ask all graphic design companies you are approaching if they're available in your timeframe / project window. We understand that things change, but rough deadlines help with assigning responsibilities and budgeting, and can often work in your favor when it comes to...
Be honest about your budget
If you are a VP of Marketing for a Fortune 500 company with a multi-million, multi-year marketing budget, you probably learned all of this long ago and aren't re-learning it now (if you are, get in touch - we have extensive experience executing long-term, multi-channel marketing initiatives from strategy to POS). But if you are a growth/entrepreneurial-minded individual, that understands the value your project adds to your brand awareness / sales / outreach / pick a metric, you will be able to find a graphic design company that you can work with on your estimated investment for your project (isn't that a nice way of putting it?).
If you want a logo, business cards, and a website for $100, hold onto it. You're not getting anything done well, if you don't invest properly in the outcome.
If you're ready to make that investment, fill out the form below. pS is the premier graphic design company, for any project you can conceive.