Friday, May 27, 2011

Good, Cheap, Quick

Small businesses and start-ups taking their enterprise to market usually have two things in limited supply: money and time. They need to get selling fast, but they also need to establish their credibility in the market place. They need good, relevant, creative marketing collateral quickly at the lowest possible cost.

That's all very good, but the reality is, you can have good and cheap but you can't have quick. You can have quick and good but you can't have cheap. Of course this observation is relative to the type of service you engage. If you use a freelance such as me, you'll pay a lot less than if you were using a mid-sized agency with its additional overheads.  They'll quite possibly take you to lunch. But with a freelance, you will miss out on the added services and sometimes unnecessary trimmings (that "free" lunch?) that a mid-sized agency can provide. They have not only designers, but marketing experts. People who will help you with strategy, a team of copywriters and designers who will spend time brainstorming your brief. Often they will have two or more teams working on different approaches to your brief. But the time mounts up... and to some extent (remember, it's relative), cheap and quick go out the window.

At the other end of the scale, you can log onto whichever crowdsourcing site takes your fancy and get hundreds of pitches from creative freelances around the world. You could quite possibly end up with good, cheap and quick. Or not. I have previously written about crowdsourcing and have also written about what really goes into a professional design process. Professional design with due process takes time. Time is money. Ignore the due process and you could end up with a lovely (or not) looking piece of design that does nothing for your business.

Good: How to get it.
The ingredients for a good job are many, but the basics are this:
  1. Talent. Much like owning a pen does not make you Shakespeare, owning a computer and all the necessary software does NOT give someone talent. You need to be able to see the genuine creative talent shining through.
  2. Due process. I can if I wish, knock out an acceptable brochure or flier within an hour or two; buy a couple of stock photos for a few quid, bang out some text, add a drop shadow or two and Bob's your uncle. But I don't. I have a process that ensures what I create does the job it is supposed to. Which costs money. I spend time working on a strategy, then a concept. I spend time crafting the copy. And before I even do that, I endeavour to properly understand your business and your market, because how on earth am I going to effectively communicate otherwise?
Cheap: How to get it
You want to save money, not throw it away:
  1. Prepare a decent, detailed brief. If you don't know how to do this, a good freelance will help you prepare one with all the salient points and objectives clearly expressed. Understand what you are buying: the freelance's time, so don't waste it. Have your ducks in a row.
  2. Be realisitc. You will not get the same level of service from a freelance as you will from an agency. You will not have an account manager, you will not have a team beavering away in the studio for you. Instead, you will have one hungry, experienced individual who will be in direct contact with you. Don't expect long boozy lunches, though!
  3. Pay on time. If you pay late, your next job will be likely to cost more or you'll maybe have to find another freelance, which is time consuming and wasteful of the legacy of knowledge regarding your business your designer will have built up.
Quick: How to get it
You want it fast, so smooth the way
  1. Adhere to the above points
  2. Become a favourite client. Freelances have to sometimes juggle jobs. Make sure that the guy doing your work wants to make your job a priority.

Copyright © 2009 Paul R Davey. All photographs, text and artworks in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Paul R Davey unless otherwise stated. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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