Many companies today have a wrong impression as to how a professional graphic designer can help with their marketing efforts. Graphic design can be much more than making your sales and information collateral appear "more professional". True accomplished design involves communicating information or an idea or concept at the graphic level, quickly and efficiently. It also helps define the branding of a product and ultimately becomes the major supporting entity to building and sustaining a brand.
Some design firms understand their role in the communication industry. Some don't. The following points should help identify the firms who can make your collateral vastly more effective from those who will "make your stuff pretty".
Methodology - Although the creative process is very difficult to define, the designer should be able to outline a general process for developing a project. Within this process should be components such as objectives of the project, primary and secondary messages to communicate, and target audience, among others. There are many designers who never ask the simplest yet very important question of who the project is meant to communicate to. The vast difference between designing for a CEO and a teenager is obvious.
Too much emphasis on awards - Be wary of the firm that over-emphasizes the awards their work has earned. Awards are important and do reflect on the quality of work, but the stronger the emphasis the more likely they will be more concerned about their next award rather than your company's profitability.
Balance of listening and talking - The most effective graphic design involves the cooperation of both the design firm and the client. The client communicates their industry, the company's needs, and the project's goals to the designer. The designer helps to identify and develop these items and then uses his skills to communicate them successfully. Don't let the design firm tell you what is best for your company without first getting in depth input from you. On the other hand, the client stifles the benefit of the designer's creativity when the designer is simply an order taker.
Variety in portfolio - A major indicator of these first 3 points shines forth in the designer's portfolio. Ask him what the objectives and goals of each project were and how he met them. Is there major variety between the portfolio pieces or do they all start to look the same? There is no one design "look" that can meet all objectives, communicate to all audiences, or even personify a particular industry without losing effectiveness. Ask yourself can this firm make me stand out not only against my competition but also against the barrage of information we are faced with everyday?
The bottom line is how the designer's work affects your company's bottom line. Keeping these points in mind when interviewing will help to choose a professional firm that delivers successful projects.
|Click here if you would like to request Inreason Media's brochure highlighting our Creative Methodology "Creative Logic", or click here to view the variety within our portfolio.|
Evans Wheeler is the principal of Inreason Media, a design firm specializing in corporate identity development and implementation.