Archiv für März, 2010


By Chris Peterson on March 29, 2010

Have you ever missed a client deadline because you were too busy?  Ever had a client request a type of design that you don’t offer?  One of the best kept secrets of successful designers and studios is ‘designer-to-designer’ outsourcing.  Designer-to-designer outsourcing involves one designer (such as a web design firm or graphic design studio) using another designer (often a freelance designer or sub-contractor) to help complete designs for their own clients. While there are scores of freelancers available (probably many in your own city), there are some emerging, and very powerful, online services that are setup specifically for designers seeking to outsource client projects.

For example, last month Entrepreneur.com featured DesignCrowd and its new Graphic Design Outsourcing Service that lets design studios outsource to other designers around the world.  Whether you use a service like DesignCrowd, or a freelance designer you find in a directory, outsourcing is an important part of a designer’s toolkit.  Here’s how design outsourcing works (using DesignCrowd as an example):

OutsourceDesignProcess_SmashingApps2

Once you acknowledge that, in general, outsourcing is useful – the main battle for a designer is selecting the right project or task to outsource and the right person or company to outsource to.  This post focuses on the situations that a graphic design studio or professional designer should consider outsourcing to another graphic designer as well as some of the resources designers can use in those situations.

7 Situations Designers Outsource to Other Designers
Here are 7 specific reasons or situations where graphic designers will often seek to outsource to other graphic designers:

1) Preventing Client Loss (due to capacity) – if you find yourself turning away clients because you’re too busy – or (worst of all) find yourself taking on clients who become unhappy and then leave when you don’t meet a deadline – then you need to increase your ‘capacity’ to take on client projects.  Outsourcing is a good option in this situation as it can add design ‘capacity’ to yourself, your team or your business with minimal setup time.  For custom design projects, we recommend using  DesignCrowd’s online design outsourcing service. As DesignCrowd has around 10,000 designers and lets you use multiple designers on each project you run, essentially, they can provide access to unlimited capacity.

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2) Up-selling / Value-adding – outsourcing can also help you expand the services you offer clients. For example, if you’re a web designer and your client is a start-up business, up-sell them to a logo and then outsource it externally.  If that works, try offering them stationery design as well and maybe even some banner ad designs to help with marketing their website and business.  Doing this can help you offer services as a value add (and win clients that would’ve otherwise gone elsewhere) or simply make more money on each project by ‘up-selling’ (think the McDonald’s famous ‘would you like fries with that?’).

3) Completing Repetitive Tasks  – often times, larger design projects involve detailed, repetitive design work.  For example, if a brochure design project involves picture clipping of 200 bicycle photos then use an online picture clipping service.  If you’re a good designer trying to grow your business, your time is better spent selling to potential clients than doing time-consuming grunt work.  If you have a 50 page toy store website, and have the designs mocked up in Photoshop then a PSD-to-HTML conversion service like PSD2HTML.com is in order.

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4) Meeting a Tight Deadline – this is a specific type of capacity problem.  If you’ve got that sinking feeling you’re going to miss a client deadline, the solution might be a short term capacity boost – something to speed up that project.  If your deadline is 12 hours or less and you can’t get an extension, consider buying a template design.  Alternatively, use one an online service with a pool of international as they will A) have designers available 24/7 and B) you can potentially take advantage of timezone differences.

5) Enhancing Creativity – another genuine reason to outsource will be to keep your clients (whether they be regular or new) happy with the level of creativity and originality you’re producing.  If you, or your team, find yourself creating similar designs for multiple clients or similar designs for the same client maybe you need a third party to give you some fresh ideas or add some diversity to what you’re delivering!  In this situation consider running a design contest through a service like DesignCrowd (that pays designers participation payments even if you don’t use their design).  The design contest approach is particularly useful for projects that require concepts such as web page layout design and logo design projects.

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6) Technical Work – if you’re a graphic designer who’s familiar with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but your project requires something technical (like website coding or Flash design), don’t knock back the client, consider taking it on and outsourcing the technical aspect.  If you don’t know someone who has the skills to do the work, consider using an online service like Rentacoder.com to find a provider.

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7) Outsourcing Components – where possible, consider outsourcing graphics components (such as photos, icons and buttons) of your broader design project.  Break it down your project as if it were a problem and solve it in parts.  There are loads of great stock photo and icon websites – Istockphoto.com is a good place to start.  If you need a custom design, consider one of the online services I mentioned above or look to use a freelance designer.

Summary: offer fries with that!
Designer-to-designer outsourcing can help you take on more projects and offer a broader set of services to your clients – both of which can help you earn more money.  The traditional approach to outsourcing design (using freelancers) can bring with it its own problems – for example, freelance designers can get busy with other clients; or they might be limited to a specific skill-set or style.  Graphic design services like DesignCrowd.com can help solve these problems and are great resources, not just for designers who are seeking work, but also for designers that need to outsource client graphic design work.  Remember, next time you’re pitching to a new client, don’t forget to smile and ask “would you like fries, a logo or a website with that?”

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10 essential advices to manage your projects when you're  webdesigner

For a freelance web designer the best way to manage his activity is to be multi-tasks and autonomous. It’s easy to think that his day of work starts with the Photoshop opening and ends with closing.

But it has nothing to do with this point of view. In fact the web designer will have to execute several steps without links. That’s means he will time to time wear different responsibilities like salesman, accountant, recruiting officer, and sometimes storekeeper!

But for the freelance web designers the worst task is the project management. If you don’t care on it your projects will be a real disaster and it will be bring you disappointments and break down your mood.

In collaboration with my most original customers, we selected 10 important events regarding the management of your projects, with these 10 events , you will be able to evaluate your capacities. Some of them look like basic, simple or natural, but widely using them will help you to manage your projects like a high professional.

Choice of customers

Usually, your experiment brings you the feeling to make the difference between good and bad projects, reading for the first time a customer request, talking with him by phone, reading a mail. In case you do not get a good feeling, I recommend, you do not enter in project, instead working on it without any motivation. Selection of customers is not luxury; it avoids you to work with ulterior hard and difficult relationships with conflicts.

Tasks to define

When starting a project, it is important to get a fix. I recommend you to put on a paper the most important tasks which will give rhythm assignment from the first to the last step. This paper will help you to define your schedules, your needs as competences and technical levels, and especially to get finally for the first time, a complete digest overview of your project.

Contracte Definition

Sometimes we would like to bypass these wretched papers, out of age and not really interesting. The quotation, contract, invoice are even documents defining officially the tasks and commitment of each part. Then, take care about details and definition of them, because in case of conflicts, only information described and validated on these documents will make the difference. As a matter of course, validity of these documents is defined by the signature of both parts.

Managing your time

Use your tasks paper (Chapter 2) and the book of specifications to define a schedule. Do not forget to let improve it by all contributors of this project. Prefer to increase time tasks instead to reduce them. In fact, it will be easier to convince your customer to postpone for one more week the delivery date or deadline, instead you give him a date according to his wishes and later to apologize you are not able to respect the contractual delay.

Follow up Project

Do not rule out of the schedule and out of your tasks paper (Chapter 2). You are not allowed to take by yourself this type of liberty. Then do it only in case of urgent need like missing of one of the workgroup, coming across a high technical problem, etc…,all updates requested by your customer is not a necessity, up to you to let him know, it is impossible to apply.

Reactivity and availability

Make all your possible to be reached by your customer, working with a mobile able to receive emails or communicate your mobile number to your customer. When you get messages from your customers, let appears your reactivity as well as your availability, it is well appreciated. But take care to calm down, all customers trying to take news every 2 hours. In this situation, do not hesitate to schedule meetings on phone.

Self-assurance and firmness

The business acquaintances with your customers are often unique, and each of your customers is waiting on a particular involved of you. However, you have to be optimist in your speeches. It is also important you never forget your position of professional contributor; then you have to adjust your customer brain when you see that his requests is out of meaning with the rules of the project and it disturb you to go ahead.

Resolution of conflicts

It is important to consider the general atmosphere, checking the different contributors of the project. In case you get previews feelings of conflicts, be the fist one to try to defuse them. In opposite, this type of situation can bring you in a bad position: a bad atmosphere in the work, which result of fall of productivity or the worst, the destroy of a member of your workgroup, finishing leaving the project.

Politeness and good mood

Previously, you saw that it is important to be optimist during your exchanges, but I will complete it, saying that is it also important to have always a good mood, one of the reason of it, it is to keep a good atmosphere by your staff. During your meetings, it is important too to appear in a good form, to give a good self-assurance, your customers do not worry and to be relieved on your competences and on the accomplishment of the project.

Professional spirit

You have just seen the greatness to establish a trustworthy atmosphere with a good mood during the management of a project, it is your job, but you do not have to forget you are in a professional situation; then take care to validate all of the following points: Always take a fair speech with your contacts, be real, do not contradict yourself and never lie, in your correspondence (letters, mails), look after your spelling as well as after the politeness syntax, your clothing must be clean and perfect.

You understood, project manager in not always an easy quiet job. As freelance web designer you have this function to take. These 10 advices will help you to manage your projects, as well as avoiding all traps able to make you lose time.

You will have to read and understand each of these advices, and also to be able to change and update them to match at best to the different situations you will meet during your professional activity.

By Julien DEBOVE