Archive for April, 2011

How to Hire a Design Firm

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Mark Busse, former president of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, BC Chapter and principal of Industrial Brand in Vancouver has written a very clear and compelling explanation of why RFPs are a flawed process when used to procure professional design services. You can read it here. The bottom line is that design cannot be commodified. It is customized and the choice of providers runs from professionals with decades of experience to self-taught desktop publishers. How do you know the difference and what does it mean to your company? Mark’s Tips for Evaluating a Design Firm are worth republishing here:

  • Tips for evaluating a design firm

  • Consider a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that includes project goals and budget as an alternative to an RFP
  • Consult with design industry associations like for guidance in selecting designers
  • Consider whether specialization in your industry will be an advantage or not
  • Avoid meaningless descriptions of process by asking to see relevant case studies that show goals, context, approach, solution, and results
  • Encourage discussion and questions by respondents and meet with most qualified candidates in person to judge fit, but choose talent over fit
  • Engage a design team to evaluate and diagnose solutions before requiring a project proposal
  • Ask what happens if after the first phase you are not comfortable working together
  • Clarify what you will actually get in the end and who owns the working files
  • Formalize a written proposal or contract only after an agreement has been arrived at