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Outsourcing Print Graphics Without Worrying About Quality
Print design

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How to Outsource Print Graphics and Not Worry About Quality

Print design
January 28, 2022
9 minutes

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No matter how big or small your business is, outsourcing is an excellent way to scale fast. This article will help you understand how to outsource your print design without worrying about your graphics’ quality or going to the last dollar.

Why is outsourcing the best thing for your business?

When companies outsource graphic design, they are not limited to their city’s talent and price pool. Freelancers worldwide design graphics at low cost for advertising agencies or businesses while saving them time, so no wonder outsourcing has become such a popular way of conducting business.

Who outsources graphic design on a regular basis?

  • Marketing and advertising agencies streamline operations by passing off ongoing design work to freelancers or design agencies.
  • Small businesses often take advantage of outsourcing at affordable rates for one-off projects.
  • Marketing departments and in-house design teams decide to outsource when their team has surplus work or a project that requires particular expertise.

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Specialization

When outsourcing, you can choose a graphic designer who focuses on one particular niche. Working with a professional who specializes in a specific type of design will ensure you’ll get a finished product that fits your needs more accurately.

A ### fresh take on familiar tasks

Outsourcing is an effective way to generate fresh ideas. If you already have in-house designers, bringing in a freelancer with new ideas can inspire the rest of your team, and they’ll approach your project from a different angle and drive innovation.

What to consider when outsourcing print design?

There is no reason why you shouldn’t outsource your print design, but how to choose the best outsourcing option and not worry about the quality of the graphics?

Hiring someone who knows how to make graphic design, in general, is not enough. Some projects require professionals specialized in a particular type of custom design. Working with a designer specializing in web design and asking them to create a print design won’t get you any results.

Print designers know how to make graphic design for printing, which means they can prepare the final designs before sending them to the print shop. Even though many print houses employ graphic designers to adapt the designed graphics for printing, working with a freelance designer who knows how to make graphic design for printing will save you time.

How to avoid a terrible outsourcing experience

Hiring a freelance graphic designer with a low price tag is one of the most common reasons companies outsource. However, instead of going for the cheapest designer, you’ll first need to dive into browsing portfolios, ask for recommendations, and compare multiple designers’ styles and skills.

Don’t forget; you’ll be working with a complete stranger you dug up on some graphic design website, who may or may not be punctual, who are probably overestimating their own skills and talent, or are simply difficult to work with.

The same goes when choosing a design agency. Make sure you outsource to a reputable company that guarantees high-quality customer service, fast turnaround time, and a money-back guarantee.

How to outsource effectively

Knowing how to outsource your print design will save you time and money. If you’re unable to describe your needs, ideas, and expectations clearly, you’ll probably go back and forth for too long before you end up with what you need. Working with someone who’s not sharing the office, the city, or even the continent with you can be challenging.

Even if there are no language barriers, collaboration can be complex if you cannot communicate the specifics of the design products you need. Precious information can get lost in both translation and miscommunication.

Outline your project

Think about all of the graphics you need, not just the urgent stuff. Create a systematic list of all design tasks and organize them by priority according to your project’s requirements.

If you want to outsource more than one project, rate them by the degree of importance or urgency.

Once you create that list, you can outsource with a specific plan and a clear picture of your expected result. Otherwise, you risk spending too much time with the less essential elements and neglecting the significant ones.

Do your research

Whomever you hire to outsource your print design, you can be sure they will research what your competition does for similar projects. Scanning for ideas and inspiration on graphic design websites is part of every creative process.

Yet, designers don’t have the same insights into your industry as you do. They know how to create graphic designs that catch the eye, but what may seem appealing or inspiring to them doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most effective or adequate design. With your input into the creative process, you’ll ensure that the graphic designers are on the right track.

Plan out your branding

Before you even start delegating tasks, think about your brand identity. Whatever print designing you require, it must be aligned with your brand.

Even if you don’t supply the freelance graphic designer or the design agency with your brand elements, they may ask for them before they start to work. However, that’s not the kind of thing you want to leave to chance.

Brand elements you’ll need to supply:

  • Logo
  • Fonts and typography
  • Color palette

Create a mood board

A mood board or inspiration board is a tool to help you hone your visual ideas at the start of a creative project. You and the people you collaborate with must be on the same page.

Mood board will help you visualize your ideas. You probably already know how you want your graphics to look if you did your research. There are tons of free graphics online and graphic design websites with examples from the industry that you can pick to illustrate your ideas. Create a simple PowerPoint presentation with a few samples that you find effective and inspiring.

oh.my Mood board example by Ashbel Ong

Creating a mood board will help you determine and illustrate the style of the design, the color combinations, the layouts, and other small details that make a big difference.

Set a budget

Before you make a hire, you need to set a reasonable budget that won’t dig a hole you’ll be unable to get out of. Of course, this is only your initial budget, so it needs to be flexible, depending on your target results.

With your budget in mind, start looking into the designer rates and agency prices worldwide to get an idea of how much it costs to outsource print design in general.

Having a general idea of the pricing will help you determine what it will cost you to outsource your print design.

Make a hire

Once you start getting offers from freelance designers and agencies, look through those within your budget. Compare the work from their portfolios with your expectations, and then choose the right one for your project. Just make sure you’re not compromising to save money.

Well-established businesses with fewer budget restrictions will go for a design agency, while start-ups and small companies often outsource to freelancers. As with most things in life, both outputs have pros and cons.

Pros of outsourcing to a freelance graphic designer:

  • Cost-effective
  • Flexible working hours
  • Personal attention

Cons of outsourcing to a freelance graphic designer:

  • High long-term costs
  • Slow turnaround time
  • No guarantee of professional ethics
  • No money-back guarantee

Pros of outsourcing to a design agency:

  • Multiple designers available specialized in different types of design
  • Compliance with schedule and deadlines
  • Money-back guarantee

Cons of outsourcing to a design agency:

  • High short-term costs
  • Extremely high long-term costs
  • Large agencies can be inert with small projects
  • No money-back guarantee

Write a design brief

No matter if you need multiple designs or a single graphic image, you’ll need to write a design brief. A clear design brief is vital for ensuring the quality of your graphics. Here you can outline the deliverables and the scope of the work so that the designer can fully understand the project’s requirements.

It should define what needs to be done and within what constraints. In many ways, a design brief works like a collaboration blueprint. It provides information regarding the design aspects and guides the overall workflow of the project, from conception to completion.

Most importantly, a well-crafted brief will ensure complete agreement on project deliverables, budget, and schedule.

Give feedback

Productive feedback from your side will ensure that the final results are of the highest quality. Once you receive the graphics, compare them to your mood board and the expectations you laid out.

Check how the visual elements are incorporated into the graphic design and if the branding aligns with the brand guidelines. Then, take a step back and look at the “big picture” to check if everything works as a whole.

Communicate

Rather than sending a list of specific changes that need to be made, initiate open communication with the designer or design team. Asking questions encourages further discussion and ensures that no assumptions are being made.

Underline problems, not solutions

No matter how counterintuitive it feels, when you review a design and propose solutions to things you don’t like, you prompt resistance from the other side. Instead, underline the problem and why it doesn’t work.

Give positive reinforcement

Even though feedback is typically focused more on improving work, it’s crucial to affirm when the job is well done. Not only does that encourage the designer to keep working hard for you, but it also allows them to build up a knowledge base of your taste and preferences.

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Outsourcing graphic design the easy way with ManyPixels

What if we told you that you could outsource your print design without the headache involved in finding a reliable graphic designer or paying an excessive amount of money to a graphic design agency? Too good to be true? Not really!

With ManyPixels you can forget about missed deadlines, communication issues, and the unpredictability of working with freelancers. Think of it as having an in-house team working for you without the cost of hiring.

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Does your company need someone who knows how to create graphic designs? We have someone for you. Do you need to conceptualize and design your ready-to-print collateral? No problem. Do we have the best professionals in the industry to develop your corporate identity? You betcha!

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Miodrag.jpg

Miodrag Magyar

January 28, 2022

An experienced creative talent with a demonstrated history of working in the advertising industry for more than 18 years. A strong creative writing professional with a special focus on creating content for marketing and social advertising projects. I have a Master's degree in Theater Directing. I love hiking, enjoy obscure music and European cinema. I am an avid fan of UFC!