There is only one thing you have to remember here. Saving money in the long run on graphic design is all about saving time. By saving your designer time, you save yourself time. Why? Because when it comes to graphic design, the majority of the costs are directly related to the amount of time spent on a project.
Here are 4 things you can do starting today, so that you can reach your savings goals and get a killer design too!
1. Write a Good Brief. (It Doesn’t Have to Be An Award-winning Novel)
No matter the size of your company or team, odds are you will always be fighting for more time. So it makes sense that writing out a proper brief to the designer might seem like an absolute waste of time. And in many cases, it will be taking time away from other very important tasks. However, a brief in the form of a single line in an email will cause you much more pain in the future (not to mention cost you lots of money).
Creating a good brief doesn’t have to be rocket science. Although many people feel like it is an impossible task, all you have to do is answer 4 key questions:
- What do you want the design to say?
- Who do you want to target with this design?
- Where will the design be used?
- What response do you want people to have to the design?
It’s that simple. Read more here: How To: Write a Design Brief That Clicks!
Tip: Improve the brief by including relevant examples and inspiration. This means a 15 minute Google or Pinterest search to find “great flyer designs”, for example. This will definitely speed up the design process by so much as 5x!
While you’re putting the brief together, ensure that you include any relevant high-resolution and/or open files from previous designs.
Often times the design you want is based on an existing design you already have. It is much quicker to modify an existing design than it is to start from scratch. So make sure you keep those design files (the Adobe Illustrator, Indesign, Photoshop, or editable PDF files), and send them through to your designer.
Lastly, attach high-resolution files of any images that should be included in the final design. In most cases, this is usually your logo and photos of your business. If the designer needs to spend time on adjusting low-res files, the chances are you will be charged for it (not to mention, the end result will not be great).
We don’t want you to max out all your credit cards just because you didn’t send a high-res file to your designer. Remember, a high-res file usually refers to a file that is 300dpi and more.
2. Find Mr or Mrs Right – And Save Yourself From Heartbreak Later
You need to find a designer that has the ability to bring what you picture into your head into reality. Your brief may not be perfect, but if you are dealing with a qualified designer, the chances are your design will end up looking similar (or even better) than what you had in mind. This is why it’s important to do your research. Look through their portfolio of work and make sure that their style matches up to what you are looking for.
This can make a crucial difference in the amount of time you spend on the design portion of a project. Finding the right designer from the start can mean less revisions, less back and forth emails, and definitely no time wasted on finding yet another designer from scratch. Don’t forget about the extra money that it would cost to keep those revisions coming!
3. The Internet is Your Friend!
There are four main websites that can help you find that perfect designer match.
How it works:
Write a detailed brief. Pick a design package that fits your budget – this is what will be paid to the winning designer. Launch your brief (“contest”) to their network of more than 1 million designers all over the world.
The difference: A lot of designs will be sent back to you. Give feedback to the ones you like and choose a winner in the end. Following that, you can brief the same designer (or set of designers) for your next projects.
How it works:
There’s a briefing form on the website that guides you through the required details. Upon submission, the brief is sent to one of their designers. The final design is sent to you in whatever format you requested.
The difference: You pay a flat monthly rate and can send as many briefs as you like, which has a fast turnover rate – sometimes as short as one day!
How it works:
Find the right freelancer for your project using their search filters. Choose your designer, browse their work and chat with them if you want. If you like the designer, you can hire them for that project. You can also post the brief and budget and receive custom offers from their network of freelancers.
The difference: They’re aptly named because the starting cost for a task/service is $5.
How it works:
Write your brief in the form of a contest, including how much you are willing to pay, then launch the contest. Similar to 99 Designs, you will receive a number of options from their network of designers in a couple of hours. Don’t make the mistake of waiting a day to check on your contest. Design ideas and questions are sent within a few hours. You can provide feedback on your favourite designs and eliminate designs that don’t work for you. Feel free to send feedback to multiple designers as you don’t have to decide on the final design just yet. Once you pick a winner, you release the prize money. Then your designs and all the necessary files will be sent to you. From there you can choose a favourite designer to continue working with on future designs, via the platform.
The difference: You can set 3 prizes, which enables you to attract more designers and therefore receive even more design ideas.
DIY – Design it Yourself
There are some tools that don’t require technical design skills and there are some free tools that do. If you do not have any background in design, then this is not the best option.
In this case, we definitely recommend employing the services of a professional, as poor design can severely impact your brand. However, if you have no choice but to design it yourself then you can try the following tools.
Check out our in-depth article about free design websites here: Top 5 Best Free Design Software of 2019: Design Like A Pro – FOR FREE!
How it works:
Login – they have both a free plan and paid plans. Choose your dimensions – you can select from various presets (even for print). You can also create custom dimensions. Choose fonts, colours, images icons and fonts from their diverse library. Finish your design and download it in your desired format.
It is easy to use, especially for simple designs. A word of warning, though. The colours are set in RGB, so there might be some disparity between the colours on your final print and the design that you see on your screen. This tool can help convert an RGB jpeg to CMYK – but we cannot guarantee that it will be a perfect conversion.
How it works:
Snappa is similar to Canva, with the main difference being the pricing plans and the user interface. They also don’t offer presets for print products but you can create a custom size.
How it works:
This is an open source image editor. This means that you get close to the power of powerful graphic design software, for free. However, if you do not have programming experience, then it may take some time to set it up. Also, if you are do not have experience with graphic design software, then that will also take time to learn.
Be sure to avoid any setbacks and check out our quick guide on how to make your artwork print-ready: Help Centre
Here’s a quick summary:
- 3mm of bleed – this ensures that your artwork is cut in the right place.
- Setup your colours in CMYK – RGB results in a mismatch between the colours on your design and the actual print.
- Package the final file with all fonts and images – while you’re at it, convert the fonts to curves.
- Use hi-res images – we recommend 300 DPI to be safe
- Proofread – especially contact numbers, addresses, URLs and emails
The Bottom Line.
Saving money on graphic design is about saving time. Create a good brief, find the right graphic designer that matches your brand’s style, and use online services to assist you. If all else fails, design it yourself. When your design is ready, order your prints with Printulu where orders can be completed online and standard delivery is free. That will save you more time and money.
All is Not Lost
If you are out of options – including trying to design something yourself, we’ve got a solution for you. Did you know that we offer design services as well? We do – and they’re top-notch. Read more about it here: Our Game-Changing Design Process: And How To Use It
Sources and resources:
- 5 secrets to save on design services
- 5 ways to save on graphic design costs
- 8 Extremely simple ways to save money & time in print design (Pro tips from printers)
- How to Lower my Printing Costs
- Is your Artwork Ready for Printing? Follow These Steps to Get the Best Quality Print! With Checklist…
- Why Graphic Design is Useless! (Revealed)
- Your Complete Business Stationery List (Checklist: Do You Have What You Need?)