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4th August 2020

How to Choose an Outsourced Designer

Are you looking for an outsourced designer?

Outsourcing design work is a great way to cut costs, get a temporary boost in capacity or to get the expert knowledge a project needs. It requires some forethought to ensure that you choose the right company or outsourced designer for the project. There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration when outsourcing work, especially for design related projects.­

Goals – Clear and Defined

Before you can begin the process of choosing an external party to carry out work, you need to be able to explain the project aims and to what standard your company operates.  You should also do an internal reflection of the company to make sure that outsourced design work is something that would fit well into the organisations existing processes.

It is a good idea to develop a document that clearly lays out all of the goals you have for the project. This allows potential designers to easily understand what would be expected of them and decide whether they have the skills, knowledge and bandwidth to accomplish these goals within the specifications provided.

Unique Selling Points

Looking to a company or designers USP or unique qualities will give you a good grasp of the type of work they provide. Matching their qualities to the ones you are looking for is a great way to ensure that you end up with an individual or team that works well with your company. It is important to work with someone that fills all your requirements. Otherwise, you will end up running into issues and conflicts that may hinder the collaboration process.


Excellent written and verbal communication is crucial. You need to know that you can rely on them voice their opinions on the projects and let you know when they encounter any issues. It is also important that they get along well with the team members they will be in contact and interacting with.

Pricing and Timeline

One of the main reasons a company may turn to outsourced work is to temporarily bring specialist resources into the business. This spares the expense and logistics of recruiting, buying equipment and software licences and finding office space.  This often reduces costs while getting top quality work.  It is important to nail down a scope and price when negotiating with potential designers. It is important to cover exactly what is included in the agreed upon price and be clear on what is and isn’t possible in the predicted timeline.

You need to make sure that there are no additional or hidden costs that may end up hiking up the overall price. For example, if you set a timeline of 3 months for £X, you do not want to end up paying unexpected additional fees if the designer takes longer than arranged. With this arrangement the designer is taking the project risks and may factor risk assumptions into your price. The only issue with this is, there is always going to be one party that gets the better deal. For example, if a project goes according to plan without any unforeseen issues then the client will have lost. Whereas, if the project is slowed down or encounters difficulties along the way, the consultancy will have lost.

Some consultancies are moving to a two-part pricing model. Firstly, an estimate of what the price is likely to be. Secondly, a time and materials basis for the actual billing.  That way nobody loses. 

Test their Knowledge

This is crucial. You need to make sure that your potential designer is as competent as they have made out to be, especially if your business is in a niche or less known sector. While they shouldn’t be expected to have a full grasp of your business, they should have a good idea as to how your company operates and how they will fit into it.

It is also important to understand their methods. A good way to gain these insights is through questions about their internal processes and how they track and monitor their progress.

Reviews and Previous Work

Like any product or service, reviews and previous projects are a great way to get a full understanding of a designer’s capability. Seeing the qualities and/or drawbacks that are highlighted in these reviews will be helpful to see whether the designer will be a good fit for your company.

Looking at the outsourced designer’s previous work will also give you a good idea of the style that they operate in. This can open conversations as to whether they are able to adapt if their style doesn’t fit your exact requirements. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.