How to commission a graphic design agency

So, you know that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need a reputable graphic design agency in your corner to produce your media for you. Now all you need to know is how to commission them to do your work.

First of all, you will need to educate yourself about the specifications of what you need. Read this article on How to write great print specs to educate yourself on paper, cover effects and colour specs so that you know exactly what you are talking about. This will also protect you from getting extras loaded onto your quote that you don’t want or need.

Do your homework on the graphic design agencies in your city, and even some outside your location if you live in a small town. Check out their websites and even ask them for their company profile. This should give you an idea of their track record, their previous clients and the work they have done.

Then ask the graphic design agency for a quote based on those specifications – either via phone or email. Remember to specify your number of copies if you require printing. Their estimator may have to call or email you with a few questions to gain clarity. Then wait a few days for a response. In the meantime, request quotes from other agencies to compare prices.

The estimator will work out the number of hours needed to produce your project and call various printers for if your project requires it. The agency will put a mark the printing as they will be managing the print process on your behalf (checking proofs to make sure the artwork is correct and liaising directly with the printers). Don’t be fooled – this is a very important aspect that should be left to the experts if you have no experience!

Once you receive the quote, compare it to other quotes you have received and make sure you read all of their terms and conditions first. If their quote is competitive (it doesn’t necessarily need to be the cheapest – you get what you pay for!), tell them in writing (an email is fine) of your acceptance of the quote.

Be aware of the fact that as a first-time client, you most likely will be asked to pay a deposit (anything up to 50% of the value of the job) before they begin the project. They may also stipulate that you pay the balance on receipt of the completed project. After this, you will be treated like all other clients and given 30 days to pay.

Asking a graphic design agency to do work on your behalf should not be a daunting task at all. Once you do your homework and empower yourself with the specs you need, you can approach any agency with confidence and authority.

By Gaylene Jablonkay, Managing Editor

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