The procurement of creative services

When it comes to design there are many practitioners and no regulations! Would the world be a better place if we had a design inspectorate or creative police to ensure Comic Sans remained safely behind bars? Exactly what credentials do you need to call yourself a designer anyway? None apparently. So in my view the only meaningful credentials are proven expertise through experience. So asking your designer Have you done this before? Who for and How well did it go? is probably a good place to start.

Finding the right design team may require some initial leg work, but the rewards should outweigh the effort. To get the most out of your creative ask yourself – can you appreciate and respect the expertise you are purchasing and are you open to the creative input this designer will bring to your business? These can be tricky to answer but often reveal whether you have confidence in your choice. Ideally your appointment of a design team should lead to a working relationship that, a) defines the problem, b) produces a solution and c) monitors the results of each project you are working on. Keeping in mind you can’t manage what you cannot measure.

And then there’s the cost. When it comes to buying creative services prices can differ greatly. Beware though as value for money is not measured by initial outlay but on the return you get from your investment. How effective was that eshot at attracting new enquiries? Did the direct mail campaign yield higher than average results? Who found the new catalogue easier to order from? etc. It is worth thinking through what you want from your marketing project and just how you will mark success. Once you know make sure your designer does too and build it into the brief.

At the end of the day the key to getting the most out of a creative is a good relationship. A good working relationship will foster the best ideas for your business with accountability, and that my friend is the golden ticket.