Their beliefs are that they already know what they want and they have a member of staff that is able to do the work in-house, or perhaps they are simply unwilling to pay for outside graphic design services that they 'think' are too expensive when costs are an overriding concern.
But, is this actually true? Companies may well be saving on costs ‘doing-it-themselves’ but at the expense of the quality of design, skills and experience an outside Graphic Design Agency can bring to bear on a particular project.
So, let's go back to the beginning and try to find out if these Companies are correct in their thinking . . .
Marketing and Communication is essential to every Company's ability to grow their client base. In a nutshell, it means putting that Companies name, products and/or services out there in front of the general public so that people then buy from them or use their services. There are a variety of different ways this can happen, including the use of a bespoke logo, advertising in print or other media, promotional displays, brochures and leaflets, vehicle liveries, web banner advertising or signs and signage to name but a few.
For those that don’t already know it, what does a Graphic Designer actually do when they create something for a client? Well, Graphic Designers plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communications problems. They consider cognitive, cultural, physical, and social factors in planning and executing designs appropriate for a given context. Sounds complicated, and it is . . . to a point. Bottom line, they get the Clients message out to the public with the intention of selling said Clients products or services. Simple!
In most instances a Company will turn to an established outside Graphic Design Agency for help in creating bespoke solutions for their specific marketing and communication needs. These Companies will already understand how important it is to project a consistent and effective view of themselves through their marketing materials. They will know that putting an effective message across to their customers is essential to continued commercial success and will also know it is vital to be one step ahead of their competitors in exciting and interesting their existing and future customers.
In some Companies though, in-house Designers or existing staff with some design skills are often used to create the marketing materials. This has its advantages, but also has a lot of drawbacks. Cost is a major consideration with Companies and they often think that it is cheaper to keep everything in-house by hiring their own Designer (or doing it themselves) and acquiring all the software and hardware required to produce the projects in-house. This sounds great in principal, but in an effort to keep their costs as low as possible, they don’t always hire someone with the necessary skills or experience, nor do they obtain the numerous and extensive resources required. Another drawback to the in-house option is the actual cost of setting up a studio in-house. The computer systems and software required can be very expensive and when you add up the costs of employing someone full time and the costs of setting up and maintaining a studio it is actually quite a considerable expense. For most smaller companies these are expenses that are just not viable.
Another aspect to take into account would be the quality of files supplied to the printers. Smaller companies that produce the artwork themselves do not necessarily have the skills or knowledge required to create artwork that is ready to print, so when the files are sent to the printer, additional costs and time delays are incurred whilst the printer sorts out all the problems. Rather than concentrating on how to get a message across in a simple way, the in-house Designer is fighting with the programmes, learning on the fly and trying their best to implement any design at all. The outside Graphic Design Agency has the advantage here, being already experienced in all the software programme’s commonly in use and will fully understand all the design and production tricks of the trade that helps to achieve effective design with the fewest problems.
The final thing to take into account could well be one of the most important. Design itself. An in-house Designer will often have a problem moving the company forward into new territories, because their imaginations and creativity are being stifled working within the same business sector, using the same stories and visual solutions again and again. An outside Graphic Design Agency has a huge advantage here, working on a variety of different briefs, from different clients within different industry sectors. The Designers within the Graphic Design Agency are constantly exposed to the ongoing evolution of design ideas with colleagues, client interactions and the design media, whilst continually drawing on the years of training and development acquired whilst actually working within the Design business for a number of years.
Maybe after reading all of this you are beginning to see why your competitors are snapping at your heels because customers are being drawn away by more exciting and effective design; by designs that they perhaps feel more able to identify with and trust. Perhaps cost-cutting is not the over-riding factor after all. Perhaps effective design is more important.
Maybe it would be better to contract an outside Graphic Design Agency to do the work on a job-by-job basis which costs less in the longer term than you might expect.
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I really enjoy working with Chris. He listens to our requirements, makes suggestions and recommendations and best of all, he delivers. He is professional, polite and always very keen to achieve great results for SCAD Foundation.
Wendy Edney, General Manager