If you need creative help to brand your product or design your packaging, you can take several paths. Even when budget is a big consideration, you have a wide range of options: family members, students, individual freelance designers, and small and large creative agencies.
So you can start out using that family member who has an artistic flair. Now, I’m not knocking your family members, but consider the strong reasons why this might not be the best approach.
Finding a design student from your local university is often suggested as an economical solution to getting your logo design along with other creative work. But it is important to realize that students have a lot on their plates: class projects, a social life and work schedules. Plus, they most likely do not have experience with creating the digital artwork that packaging manufacturers require. So, consider how tight your schedule is and the degree of expertise you require if you want to pursue student help.
Depending upon the size of your project, many very talented individual freelance creative people might be the right fit.
Creative firms such as advertising agencies or design firms can offer a variety of services and may have deep resources to handle a broad scope of needs.
Whether you’re hiring for creative capabilities to work within your organization or you’re searching to outsource creative help, here are four key questions to consider as you navigate the creative process.
How well do they understand the challenges that are unique to your industry?
- Do they understand the merchandising environment?
- How's their knowledge of materials and processes?
- What is their workflow strategy?
How do you perceive their creativity?
- Is it conservative, progressive or edgy? Does it align with the vision of your brand?
- Have they done similar projects to what you are looking for? However, if you are packaging and selling almonds, they don’t necessarily need to have experience with “almond” packaging, but there should be a good indication within their work that they can solve your problem without much of a stretch.
How do they work?
- What is their workflow like: Is it easy to understand what will be delivered and when?
- Who will be your main contact: The principle of the firm? An account executive?
- How much access will you have to their staff: Limited? Unlimited?
- Will there be regular forms of communication, such as project updates and meetings?
How well do they understand technology that is unique to your needs?
- If you need packaging, do they understand the various types of packaging manufacturing?
- Do they have experience with different types of printing technologies? Can they properly prepare digital artwork required by packaging manufacturers?
- Since almost everybody needs a website, can they provide resources for web development or e-commerce, if necessary?
No matter what kind of investment you want to make with your creative resources, these questions and considerations can be applied to the individual freelance designer, as well as, a larger creative agency.
Jeff Barton is the creative director and founder of Launch17, a creative firm that focuses on brand packaging design for natural, organic and specialty products.
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