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Outsourcing Graphic Design: 10 Challenges & How To Tackle Them

When you are running a business you cannot take it all on your shoulders. Marketing, sales, and a whole lot of other tasks are in front of you. Amidst all this, a practical way to tackle the design needs of your brand will be – outsourcing graphic design.

Having a solid plan for your design requirements is important. Because visual content has become an integral part of marketing today. Some businesses have an in-house design team. But for others outsourcing is a more cost-effective solution. In this blog, we’ll talk about the challenges in outsourcing graphic design. And some easy ways to overcome them.

Challenges in Outsourcing Graphic Design and Tips to Overcome Them 

1. Time spent in finding the right talent 

One of the main reasons businesses hesitate to hire an internal resource for design will be the extra time required to scour through profiles and find the right fit for the job. 

Finding freelance designers might be more or less similar. It’s not always easy to understand the scope of services offered by freelance designers. 

All the time spent shortlisting the right talent for the job feels like a burden. And after this comes the part of comparing the price quoted for the services, the timeline, contracts, and others. Ignoring even one of these steps leads to bottlenecks in the future. Knowing that designs are crucial components in marketing, this can be a huge challenge.

Solution: 

Work with design agencies that have a large pool of designers offering versatile services like video editing, graphic designs, and illustrations. If designers will be assigned to your project automatically based on your requirements, it saves you a lot of time. 

Or better yet, consider design subscription services where you get to work with a team of versatile talent. Based on the plan you choose and the services included in your plan, a design team or designer will be assigned. 

Given the many perks, subscription services are long-term solutions. So, the initial time you spend comparing your options and picking the subscription plan is all it takes. 

2. Trust issues due to the lack of transparency 

Sometimes, the problem is that you do not understand the workflow of the chosen design firm or freelancer. And this can be because you are not clear about the steps involved in executing the design. In such cases, the collaboration feels like a black box. 

When this happens, your design request goes in as the input and your final design comes as the output. But you cannot track the progress or keep a check on the timelines to understand whether things are proceeding as planned. Such collaborations make it hard to trust the process of outsourcing design. 

Solution

Discuss the workflow with the chosen agency even before you begin the collaboration. Try to incorporate a common project management tool if possible. 

At Kimp, we keep things transparent by using Trello for project management. Your design requests, design feedback, and the final designs are all in one place. This way, it is easier to keep tabs on the progress. 

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3. Unclear scope of design services 

Every design agency brings a different set of services to the table. Unless you clearly know what you are signing up for, it is difficult to know whether the chosen option is the best fit for your brand. This often happens not just while collaborating with big design agencies but also when you are working with freelancers. 

When there is not enough information on their websites or portfolios, you do not know what’s the scope of the design collaboration. This makes it difficult to compare your options. 

Solution

Before you finalize a design service, know the scope of services included. Here are a few things to consider: 

  • When they say that they help you with logo animation services, should you provide a logo design for them to animate or will the charges include everything from logo design to logo animation? 
  • When they say they take care of video editing, how many edits or what kind of changes are covered? 
  • What is the maximum length of the video that can be edited? 

You should be clear about such nuances of the chosen services before you make a decision. This will help you understand whether you have all the resources to provide as inputs and thus obtain a design that meets your requirements. 

Set up a call with the team if required. Understand the scope before you pay for the services. 

4. Complicated tiers of service 

Sometimes, the design company you choose is pretty good and the scope is also clearly defined on their website but there are too many tiers of service to compare. The difference between these tiers can be in terms of the number of design requests fulfilled or the type of services included. 

For example, just to get custom illustrations along with your graphic design requests, you might have to pick a higher and more expensive tier of service. In such cases, you are back to square one. Because comparing the tiers and understanding which among them is worth your time and money can seem confusing.  

Solution

Look for graphic design services where the plans are clear and easy to understand. 

For example, at Kimp, there are no tiers based on the number of designs or other aspects of the service. 

There are three clear plans where one is for graphic designs (including presentations and custom illustrations), one for motion graphics design, and one other plan that combines both. Deciding whether you need images or videos or both, is much simpler than deciding what kind of images or what kind of videos you need. 

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5. Poor quality control can be detrimental to an agency’s reputation 

When you outsource your design, it feels like there is very little under your control. On the other hand, when there is an internal team you will be overseeing their work. With the whole process under your control, it is easier to micromanage and get the designs perfectly in line with your requirements.

However, with an external team, you have little to say. You often do not know the designer assigned to you or the actual processes. 

You are in the dark when it comes to details like how much time the designer spends on your design and what kind of effort the designer puts in. That makes it difficult to establish quality control in outsourced design projects. 

For marketing agencies, this can be a bigger problem because inconsistencies in design quality also strain their rapport with their clients. 

Solution

Work with teams that exercise full transparency. Whether it is a single designer assigned to you or a team, you should be able to communicate with them and provide real-time feedback wherever required. 

At Kimp there is also a project manager assigned to each project. So, you can always stay in touch with your team to know what’s happening with your design requests. And of course, your Trello board is also there to provide you with quick insights, at all times. 

6. Unpredictable timelines 
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Have you seen critics fuss about turnaround times when comparing design companies? That’s because it is one of the foundational blocks in building trust in the service you choose. 

After all, when you don’t know when the job will be completed, how can you adhere to your social media calendar?

Unpredictable timelines while working with freelancers and some design services are big turnoffs for several brands. And for agencies looking to outsource their clients’ designs, this gets even more complicated. 

When the external design team does not deliver the design on time, how can you prove your timeliness to your clients?

Solution

Choose design companies where turnaround times are defined and adhered to. Most of the trusted unlimited design services come with fixed turnaround times for graphic designs and video services. 

For example, at Kimp your team dedicates 2-2.5 hours per day to work on your designs. And there is a 24-hour turnaround for graphic designs and a 2-4 days turnaround for video designs. Knowing this helps you better understand whether the timeliness will be feasible for your project. 

7. Contracts that complicate the process 
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You think you have picked the right design agency or freelance designer to work with. And you provide your design request and the process begins. Only that you have a small issue with the design and go back to the designer. But the designer does not take it up because the said revision is beyond the scope. Or perhaps the “contract” does not warrant the changes you ask for. Sounds relatable? 

There are many such issues when there is a stringent design contract. It defines details like the number of revisions and ownership of the design, provision of source files, and a whole lot of other things. Most of them you only realize once you start working with the designer or the design service. But by then, you have made the payment and there is no going back. 

Solution

Consider working with design companies that do not have complicated contracts. Most unlimited graphic design services like Kimp provide hassle-free design services that are not bound by a contract. So, you can always go back and make the changes you like or add extra details to the brief if you think that will add more value to your design. 

8. Unpredictable prices and hidden charges 

Unpredictable costs and hidden charges are perhaps the two big concerns for brands outsourcing their graphic designs. 

The price for a logo design is different from the price quoted for a social media post. On top of that, each freelance designer quotes a different price. Different design companies charge differently as well. 

Sometimes, the price is not directly mentioned on the website. You will have to post an inquiry detailing your requirements and the agency might get back to you with a price quote. It can be tedious to gather quotes from various companies and then compare the prices. 

When you are not too sure about the total cost it will take to create all of the content for your marketing plan for the month, how can you finalize your marketing budget? 

After tackling all you are sometimes bogged down by the hidden charges. So, by the end of the month, you are left with a bill that is very different from what you had planned. 

Solution:

Bearing unpredictable costs in outsourcing graphic design is one main reason why many brands are moving to graphic design subscriptions today. These are like typical subscription services where there is a fixed cost for each plan. And no hidden charges. So, you know exactly what you will be paying each month. This makes it easier for you to understand whether this is within your budget.  

Want to hear about the plans that Kimp offers? Get in touch with us today. Or check out this page to know the cost of each plan. 

9. Not enough support post design delivery 
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In most design collaborations, everything sails smoothly until the final design is delivered. When you look at the design and go back with any revisions the designer either does not provide proper support or there is a limit on the number of revisions that can be made to the design. 

So, if there are many things deviating from your brief or if you feel that several little tweaks are essential to get the design to resonate with your brand, it’s not going to be easy. It is either out of scope or it’s going to cost you extra. 

Solution

The lack of proper support after the design delivery is another reason why unlimited design services like Kimp can be more convenient. Because with design subscriptions, you also get unlimited revisions. 

And these unlimited revisions come in handy, particularly for critical designs like logos or billboards where you might have a lot of second thoughts after the design is ready. With the unlimited design revisions provided, you do not have to settle down for anything less than perfect. 

10. Poor understanding of your brand 
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For a designer to deliver designs that reflect your brand’s personality and the campaign goals, it takes a good understanding of the requirements and a clear overview of your brand as well. This understanding comes from studying your brand style guide and the design brief you provide. 

When you have an internal team working on the design, you train the team to understand your brand and then talk to them about the campaigns and their objectives. So, you can be sure that the designs they deliver are consistent and on-brand. 

But, when you have to work with an external team or freelance designer, there is no guarantee that the chosen designer will understand your brand. And this can sometimes lead to your designs looking different from each other. That makes it tough for you to set a visual style for your brand. 

Solution

To tackle the problem of designers not understanding your brand or requirements properly, consider long-term collaborations. Working with the same team for all your design requests means that the team will get to know your brand better over the course of the collaboration. 

At Kimp, you don’t just get a dedicated team of designers but also have the option to freeze your team if you wish to take a break. If you want to put your subscription on hold, you can pause your subscription and come back when your design requests start coming in again. Pausing your subscription lets you resume your services working with the same team. 

Book a call with the Kimp team to know more about pausing and resuming your subscriptions. 

Kimp’s Design Subscriptions – The Easy Way for Outsourcing Graphic Design

In conclusion, if you ask us, we’ll say outsourcing graphic design is a risk worth taking. And when you have the right approach, this will not be a “risk” at all. Yes, we are going to be slightly biased here. But let’s face it. The traditional approach to outsourcing graphic design comes with a lot of hassle, in most cases. Constantly hunting for the right talent, working with a different team for each design project, time spent educating the external team about your brand, and so many other factors make this a tedious task. So, a long-term solution will be to choose a graphic design subscription where you do not have to worry about contracts. 

Not sure whether this approach is right up your alley? Give it a try without paying anything upfront. By signing up for Kimp’s free 7-day trial

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