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How To Choose The Right Design Team

Have you ever noticed how challenging it can be to find a design team that fits smoothly with your business and delivers excellent results? Picking the right design team for the job can be daunting, stressful and costly if you get it wrong. Referrals can be helpful, but not understanding the processes involved in finding the right design agency for you can catch you out.

Here are some key considerations when looking for that perfect design firm or freelancer.

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Should You Outsource Design Overseas or Hire Local?

There are a plethora of designers available both locally and overseas. A quick online search will deliver thousands of options across the globe, but who do you choose and why? Horror stories of people being burnt by rogue vendors abound, as do stories of those who have had great success. The further afield your chosen design team lives and works, the higher the chances are that things could go pear-shaped. However, for those who do thorough research, finding the right designer, whether local or international, can offer successful design outcomes. Here are some things you need to consider when deciding whether to go local or hire overseas.

Considerations For Working With Overseas Designers

  • The pool of available and proficient designers and developers is vast if you go global.
  • For those on a tight budget, working overseas can be cheaper. You can often work with international countries for a fraction of the cost of hiring locally.
  • Overseas designers can be great for non-complex, quick turn-around projects.
  • Communication can be challenging. You need to consider language and cultural differences as well as time zones. Each of these factors can impede your progress and outcomes.
  • Although technology has helped a lot, the lack of in-person, face-to-face contact can sometimes hinder communications and understanding.
  • When working with an overseas creative team, it is often more difficult to salvage a project if things go wrong.
  • Service or product specifications can be poorly developed and documented.
  • The laws when working between countries can be challenging, and it is more difficult to enforce a legal framework when things go wrong.
  • You need to consider the security and privacy of your project. It can be difficult to confirm the data security precautions taken by international companies and few if any cross-border laws exist to protect you.

Considerations For Working With Local Designers

  • Working with local freelancers and design firms can be more expensive. However, you need to weigh up the costs should you need to redo the work or if the project goes awry. It may be cheaper, in the long-term, to work with someone local.
  • Meeting and getting to know your design firm face-to-face is more likely if they’re local. You will even have the opportunity of getting them over to your offices to experience your culture, products and services first-hand.
  • It is easier to inspect the quality of their work through local referrals.
  • Local designers are usually more focused on providing results instead of outputs.
  • There is less risk with data security.
  • Both parties will be governed by the same legal frameworks, offering you greater legal protection.
  • Working locally may reduce the range of specialised services available, and you may need to look further afield if you have particular needs that aren’t supported locally.
  • Projects can be much easier to manage, and more often than not, are completed correctly the first time.
  • Hiring local may also ensure you have a range of post-launch support and services at your disposal.
  • By hiring local suppliers, you are supporting the local economy.
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Do You Share Similar Values?

Can you build a rapport with the design team, including within the initial meeting? It may seem like common-sense, but it’s so easy to overrule the initial gut feelings of discomfort at a first meeting. Make sure you actually like working with this team or designer. Nobody likes working with people they cannot get along with. A poor business relationship produces subpar results and doesn’t promote effective communication.

Ask yourself:

  • Do your company’s values align with the firm or freelancer you’re thinking of hiring?
  • Could there be a conflict of interest?
  • Do they get your values and project goals?
  • Do you think the design team knows exactly what you want to achieve with this project?
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Review Their Portfolio of Work

This is a mandatory step in researching potential design teams. Review their designs in their case studies and portfolio and make sure they align with the quality and style that you want to see within your project.

You don’t hire a plumber to do a mechanics job. So too, you need to hire design teams that specialise in your type of project for the best results. If all you see is branding examples on their website, don’t expect a word class 2D animation.

Don’t use them for your project unless they are able to specify and provide real-world examples. Use design teams who specialise in your required design style or type to ensure you’re getting the best advice and design work. If they don’t have any examples, then ask for them. They should be more than happy to supply you with relevant work examples.


Do You Understand Their Processes?

Make sure you get a clear idea of how their processes work and what your deliverables will be throughout your project to ensure a successful outcome. Many projects go awry because there isn’t a clear understanding of the stages involved, or haven’t got the input required to get the best results.


Why Are You Doing This Project?

Before undertaking your search for a creative partner, have a think about why you want to do this project in the first place. What outcome do you want to achieve? Merely wanting to make something ‘look pretty’ or ‘giving it a tidy-up’ isn’t enough.

Think about what the underlying business problem is that you want to solve. Are people not engaging with your brand? Do you want to expand into new industries but your current branding won’t transition well? Are you losing potential customers on your current website?

A decent design team should be able to guide you and assist in diagnosing these underlying business problems and tailor a custom design solution to solve it. By doing this, you can focus on getting real results and use design as an investment instead of an afterthought.


Getting The Best Results

Getting the best design team for your project, and therefore the best results don’t need to be hard. Make sure you do your homework, be clear about what you are trying to achieve and what outcomes you are looking for, and success will follow.

Do you have some tips or advice for picking the right design team? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at