Design services: Turn your words into stunning visual communications
Graphic design and visual communication experts can help your message get more attention.
Sometimes looks matter. Make sure your graphic design and visual communications work just as hard as your words.
For communications to be effective, they have to be read. The right graphic design elements increase the appeal of your copy, as well as its readability and effectiveness.
That’s why many writers outsource the last stages of content development to a professional graphic design service.
Professional designers understand how people consume information (and how that’s changed over the past 10 to 15 years). They use visual communication techniques to increase engagement and readability, whether it’s on a tiny smartphone screen or page 95 of a proposal.
Graphic designers are talented folks. They apply their training, software, and visual tools to connect with readers and amplify your message. They can make even technical reports and business proposals look beautiful.
And looks matter. Layout and design directly impact how people perceive the quality of your work and your brand. If you need to improve the look and feel of your communications, ask a graphic designer to help.
Graphic design services can help you create more effective and engaging communications.
How to outsource design services
If you haven’t used graphic design services before, you’ll be amazed at how good your communications can look, especially if you’ve been publishing yourself in Word or PowerPoint.
So how do you get started?
- Your project will usually start with a conversation. Before graphic designers get to work, they need to learn about your project: the type of collateral to be created (e.g., white paper, annual report, slide deck), its purpose and goals, the intended audience, and their pain points. A critical question your designer will ask is, What do you want your audience to do, feel, or think after they view your document? The answer will deeply inform your designer’s approach.
- If you have brand guidelines or other requirements, share those with the design team. They need to know up front if there are critical specifications related to fonts, formats, colors, and photography styles. If you don’t have a corporate brand guide, your design firm can help you create one. In the meantime, show your designer sample visuals that resonate with you, feel like your brand, or have performed really well for your company.
- Clarify your timeline and budget. If you need an infographic created in two weeks, your designer can pull out all the stops and create a compelling image that reflects your brand, clearly conveys your messaging, and guides the reader through a visual story line. If you need an infographic created in two hours, your designer may still be able to help. But they’ll take a drastically different, just-the-basics approach.
- Let your design service know what the review process will be like. Most design projects require coordination with writers, printers, and other service providers. Understanding your internal processes helps the graphic design team build a realistic schedule for your project.
- Provide clean and approved copy to your designers to speed up the process (and keep costs down). If you don’t have editorial capabilities in-house, look for a design firm that offers the whole package—copywriters, editors, fact-checkers, and production coordinators. Finding a one-stop shop for your content needs can reduce your stress and shrink your to-do list.
- Then, prepare to be wowed. Your graphic design firm will blend all of your communication goals and brand requirements into a clean, clear, and professional-looking design. Yes, even technical reports and PowerPoints packed with charts can look good.
What are the advantages of outsourcing graphics and design?
Graphic design services can help you create more effective and dynamic communications. They can also guide you through complicated production processes and get you over the last hurdles of project execution.
In addition, an outsourced graphic design service can offer:
- A fresh perspective on your materials. Outsourced designers see projects from a wide range of companies and sectors, and they closely follow trends in design, color, and animation. This experience can inform and improve your work.
- Additional horsepower when your internal team is overworked or missing deadlines. Many graphic design services act as an extension of in-house teams. An outsourced crew can take a large number of production design projects off your plate. They can also jump-start the creative process for innovative, stand-alone, or mission-critical projects.
- Specialized skills and experiences. A design agency can complement your internal team’s talents and fill important skill or software gaps. For example, your team may be proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite, but not know how to create an animated slide deck using PowerPoint. They may be masters of Microsoft Word, but need help creating sophisticated graphics in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. And since graphic design services have a large pool of designers to pull from, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find someone who’s “been there, done that” when you have massive, unusual, or niche requests.
- Project management services. These can include scheduling, timeline development, and printing coordination. A graphic design service can provide structure and processes to help big projects run smoothly. They can relieve you of the burden of coordinating between writers, reviewers, designers, proofreaders, and sometimes-meddlesome managers.
- Quality control. Graphic designers are familiar with downstream processes like printing, mailing, and website publishing. They’ll ensure your project meets the specific requirements for its final destination.
Not every company can carry multiple graphic designers on staff, but every company can benefit from clean, professional-looking design services. If your team would benefit from having an outsourced team of designers to lean on, a graphic design agency could be just the ticket.
We make you look good
Dragonfly designers can turn your long, complicated, and technical documents into clear, compelling, and enjoyable communications.
Before you outsource: How to pick a good design company
Sure, visual communication is an art. But good graphic design companies won’t let their artistic sensibility (or ego) interfere with your goals.
How can you tell if a design partner is a good fit? A professional graphic design firm will:
Ask thoughtful questions up front to make sure they understand your project goals, audience, timeline, and budget.
Produce quality design work within the limits you define (e.g., timeline, brand guidelines, page count).
Learn your brand identity inside and out, working hard to uphold, protect, and even strengthen it.
Be detail-oriented and extremely conscientious. Details make the difference when it comes to design, especially if you’re working on scientific or technical materials.
Care about the project, but not take it too personally. A good design firm won’t push their preferences onto your project, and they’ll welcome feedback and changes.
Work well with others. Designers must work closely and cooperatively with writers, developers, printers, and other professionals to get their job done. An “artsy” designer with a big ego isn’t going to cut it on a team.
Meet deadlines. Changes can come in at the end of a project, when there’s barely any wiggle room left in the schedule. Good designers are used to rolling with the punches and working quickly and efficiently to meet deadlines.
A good sense of humor never hurt anyone, either. A design partner who’s helpful, honest, responsive, and fun can make your life easier.
Outsourcing design services: Should you choose a freelancer or a firm?
It’s common for designers to specialize in one form of visual communication or another. So you might have to juggle a lot of freelancers just to execute a single campaign or communication plan.
Or you could work with a design service, where there’s a deeper bench of talent to pull from. Compared to freelance designers, design agencies and content-focused firms offer several advantages:
- Design firms can assign multiple artists to your job, based on the type of skills needed or the amount of work to be done. You can engage multiple designers with diverse skill sets through one point of contact.
- If your design needs grow or change over time, an agency can scale with you. With an agency’s support, you can maintain productivity even when someone has the day off.
- Some design firms also offer writing, copy editing, and fact-checking services. You can complete your entire content project with one partner. It’s more efficient, and fewer details can fall through the cracks.
- Design agencies usually have more quality control processes than freelancers do. Anyone who’s assigned to your project has been vetted, and their work will be carefully reviewed before it comes back to you.
- Professional design companies invest in employee development and training. With an agency, your designers will be current on best practices, whether it’s designing for accessibility or utilizing the newest features offered by Adobe.
“When I opened my email and looked at the new design you created, I just went, ‘Wow.’ You knocked it out of the park!”
— Miller-Valentine Group
How can we help?
We’re excited to write, edit, and design for you.