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Get the most from your design agency

20th July 2014

3-minutes read

Rubiqa's Creative Director, Mark Wilde, explains how the different choices you make during a project can reduce design time and save you money

In the last edition of Q/A, we highlighted the importance of a design brief at the start of a project. The more detail in the design brief, the better the quality of your project. Here are some other considerations that directly affect the cost of a design project.

Upfront investment

An initial investment in a well-considered brand identity can reduce the cost of your on-going marketing activity. Not only does it keep your brand values consistent, it also makes implementing each graphic design project quicker. Fonts and colours are defined; the use of imagery and the writing style have been considered and approved. Therefore, artworking of sales materials is more straightforward because fewer fundamental design decisions need to be made.

Source the best ingredients

Think of your designer as the chef and the copy and photography that you supply as the ingredients. You can't create something that tastes wonderful with poor ingredients! No amount of Photoshop wizardry can improve a badly-composed or poorly-lit photograph. The "GIGO" principle - "garbage in, garbage out" - really applies to your choice of raw materials.

Make your copy pretty

Although bullet points often make copy simpler to read, they don't always make the page easier on the eye. Try to keep bullet points on a single line and, if possible, aim for an odd number. Anything repeated in odd numbers always looks more balanced!

Less can be more

In terms of printing, an eight page brochure will almost always cost more than a twelve page brochure but that's not always true for design. For example, even though a text-heavy, annual report has many more pages, it is a lot quicker to pull together than a more visual sales brochure, where every page has to be designed as a separate double-page spread.

Once a client approves a "style sheet" for a text-based document, it’s relatively quick to convert content into a style suitable for publishing.

Use a media centre

Sometimes, media centres are provided by organisations to supply resources for journalists and designers.

To access a media centre, you’ll require a web address and a login. And once inside, there's an "Aladdin's Cave" of logos, approved photographs and design templates, all of which make the designer’s job quicker and more cost effective. That EPS logo your designer keeps asking about? It will almost certainly live in here. It’s not always apparent that such a facility is available, so do a bit of research and, if it exists, make use of it.

Let it go

A "sign off" is exactly that: signed off! Other than minor tweaks to grammar and punctuation, there shouldn’t be any copy changes once a draft design is signed off. It can be difficult to see things in context until after approval, which is why we allow time for amends on our clients' projects. Changing chunks of text at the last minute can cause a design to fall apart and suddenly the design features you'd already approved no longer work so well.

A design is bespoke and built around what you supply: changing it takes time and extra time will cost you money!

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