What kind of relationship do you want?
Are you looking for an agency to do one project or do you want to build a relationship with one designer over several projects? Are you looking for a freelance designer or do you want there to be oversight from a manager? Determining what you’re looking for in your relationship to the designer is the first step in figuring out what type of agency you’re comfortable working with.
What’s your realistic budget?
Sure, you’d love to say that price is no object for getting a great design, but realistically how much can you spend? Set a firm budget and stick to it. This will narrow down the agencies that you can afford to work with so you won’t waste time sorting through agencies that are well outside of your budget. Remember that cheap isn’t always best–going with the lowest priced agency might end up costing you later on if you don’t like their final product and need to start all over.
How much experience does the agency have?
If you’re on a small budget, you might find that your only option is a small local agency. But being small doesn’t mean inexperienced. Ask to see examples of the agency’s prior work, specifically within your field or industry. You need to know if the agency understands your field, and you deserve to know if you’re the first customer the agency will work for in your industry.
What companies do your business acquaintances use?
Ask your business acquaintances and members of your inner circle which graphic design agency they use and which ones they would avoid. Personal experience from trusted allies will prove to be the best measure of whether or not a particular graphic design agency will work for you and your company.
Do you connect with the designer?
Once you’ve narrowed down the field, it’s time to see if you “click” with the graphic designer you’ll be working with. During your initial meeting, you should feel like your opinions and ideas are being heard. If the designer immediately dismisses your own ideas with new suggestions, consider it a red flag. While you certainly want your graphic designer to be creative and ready to jump in with his/her own ideas, you as the business owner should have final say in the actual design. Ideally you will be able to work with the same designer for all of your design projects, so it’s important for their to be some professional chemistry and for you to feel comfortable expressing your ideas, opinions, and rejections.
Before making a final decision, make sure you have asked all of the questions you have. Some to include: how many people will be working on this project? What’s the expected timeline and what happens if you can’t meet the deadline? Is all your work done in-house? How often will the head designer be checking in with you with progress updates?
Having a good working relationship with your graphic design agency is an important step to growing your business, and making a decision about which graphic design agency to choose should not be taken lightly. The above steps and questions should help you narrow down your choice so that you can have a healthy working relationship with your graphic design agency for years to come.