Outsource vs. In-house Design Work


Graphic design is one of the most prominent facets of your business’s branding. Two frequent questions our clients ask us are, “When is it appropriate to outsource design work versus having a team member tackle the project?” Or, “What resources do we need to do our design in-house?” Here are some things for all marketers to consider for making the best design decisions for your organization.

Consider outsourcing your design work if….

1. You want to set up an initial solid groundwork for your branding. Logos, brochures, websites, white papers, success story templates and sales materials are all things you’ll want to outsource at least initially. A professional marketing or design firm will ensure these brand essentials align with your desired identity, resonates with your clients and work in all marketing applications. You could have your in-house design team do future updates, but it may be just as cost-effective to update with your creative partner.

2. You need a fresh perspective on your company’s brand.  Whether you’re considering a rebranding initiative or getting started on one, obtaining the perspective of an outside consultant can be very helpful. The marketing firm will help you evaluate brand equity and align the new look and feel with your positioning and company’s personality.

3. You want a predictable rebranding cost. Design and marketing firms have specific processes for their work, and they do it every day. Because of this, they will likely have a more predictable timeline and cost than completing large-scale projects in house.

What should I consider for in-house design work?

1. Make sure you have updated design software. 

Adobe Creative Suite is professional design software. 

Microsoft Word and Microsoft Paint are not.

2. Ask yourself if you can afford to have the designer pulled off of current internal projects. While many people consider in-house design work to essentially be “free,” in reality removing the designer from current tasks could end up costing you time and money. Evaluate which projects they’re on and see if you can make up for their absence.

3. Stick closely to your business’s messaging. It can be easy to design a logo that looks great but doesn’t fit your messaging. Be sure that your designer is on the same page with what you want your materials to say about your business.

4. Have brand identity guidelines available. Ask your creative partner to create brand identity guidelines that provide details on appropriate logo usage, color palette, templates and what/when they should be used for and style guides. This will help your in-house designer ensure that the brand remains consistent on your materials.

 

Do you have further design insight for marketers? Let us know in the comments below!


Emily Kishler • June 9, 2014

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