So you’re looking for a Canberra graphic designer. Where to start…?
You’re not buying a fridge, you’re searching for a Canberra graphic designer, so the worst thing to do is to make a few calls looking for the best price. There are so many variables at play here, and indeed price is one of them, but you need to work out if there are other factors more important to you.
Indeed you will find a large price differentiation depending on which Canberra graphic design studios you contact, ranging from small business starter packs, up to full strategic brand development projects. There are obvious pros and cons attached to each end of that scale, but at the end of the day, if you’re simply looking for the least expensive option possible, you can look beyond the local area to crowd sourcing websites such as 99designs.com or fiver.com. As unpopular an opinion as this is within the industry, you can actually get some fairly decent results from these websites, especially if your key driver is price, as they are almost always considerably cheaper than anything you will find locally.
If you do chose to look for a less expensive option here in Canberra, just ensure you understand why a particular offering is cheaper than others before you jump in, and that you’re comfortable with that trade off. Is your work going to be handed off to a junior designer and presented to you as the work of a senior designer? Is it going to be sent offshore? There’s nothing wrong with any of these scenarios if they meet your needs (and the studio is upfront about it), so long as you’re aware before you sign on.
You may even consider hiring a student to undertake your work if you are looking for the most economical way forward locally. Design schools within the Canberra Institute of Technology or University of Canberra will be happy to put you in touch with their star students who are looking to cut their teeth, or the schools themselves have even been known to incorporate real projects into the curriculum, or use it as an optional competition for keen students.
Who is doing the work? It’s OK to ask. Some studios will give the illusion of senior designers dealing with you, but as soon as you’re not looking, hand it to a junior. In some cases there’s no designer at all — rather the company leads you to believe the work is being done in-house and is farmed out locally or even offshore. As outlined above, this setup may be perfect for you, but if it’s of concern, demand to know who will be working on your project, and who you will be liaising with — you have the right to know what you’re paying for.
Each Canberra graphic design studio will have its own niche area or style of work. Look around the various studio’s websites and see if there’s an obvious fit between your business and a particular studio. There’s no point going with a studio that has no interest in the type of work you need done. If you’re opening a skate shop, you won’t get any benefit splurging on a high-end studio set up to deal with corporates.
When you finally make the move to speak to your preferred studio, you will immediately get a sense of the level of passion the studio has — passion not just about what they do, but a passionate interest in what you do. If there’s a lack of passion from the beginning, it’s not going to get better from there… or at least you don’t just want to work with someone who’s passion only becomes evident when you’re holding a cheque in your hand.
What’s more important than the work that the design studio in Canberra you’re speaking to does is how they do it. Your contact at the studio should be able to give you not just examples of great work, but an assurance that there’s some kind of methodology in place to ensure your work will be just as great. If the methodology is: “you tell us what you want, and we do it”, you should dig deeper, or at least ask them to.
Recommendations and recognition
Find out what other people say about the studios you’ve shortlisted. Read testimonials or ask for references and actually call them. Ask what awards the studios have won — are the awards local, national or international?
This is a big one. You need to work with these people toward a common goal, and it can often be a long-term relationship. You don’t need to be best friends with them, but can you work together and enjoy the process?
At the end of the day you need to find the right studio for you. This article isn’t engineered to lead you to us or away from anyone else, rather it’s there to help you find the best fit for you.