March 29, 2023

How to get a tonne of graphic design work, on the cheap

How to get a tonne of graphic design work, on the cheap
How to get a tonne of graphic design work, on the cheap
Reading Time
5 minutes

Over the past 25 years working in graphic design, we’ve often worked with clients who understand the importance of good design and having their marketing collateral looking good but are hesitant to submit their work to us. Whilst we never get a direct answer from them as to the reasons, we believe it’s due to; 

  • Budget (i.e. it’s perceived that it’s going to cost a lot)
  • No time to organise (example – writing a brief, giving us the info, getting a quote done, knowing what print options they would like (in the example of print jobs), supplying the logo, supplying the images etc etc.)
  • They think the job is too small to bother with (eg. having an email signature designed)

We believe we have come up with a solution for clients who would like/require regular design work that would improve their business but think they don’t have the budget or time to manage the job/s and get it done.
We are going to use an example of a large club whom we work with on a regular basis, who have much of their design work done with minimal outlay of time for the brief and minimal budget.
When working with new clients, there are a few things which take longer (on the first job) to get their job to the approval stage and ready for use.  

Familiarity with the client’s brand

One of the main factors which takes time to overcome with new clients is our familiarity with the brand. When we work with a brand for the first time (in particular when we haven’t designed their logo and branding), we generally need to obtain their logo in the correct format, their branding and colour palettes, style of layout, preferred typefaces/fonts (or identify a previously used one from an image) and also to ensure that what we are going to design either keeps a similar look to previous work they have had done (subject to any IP ownership), or if it is going to be a transformation and evolution of the brand where we start again.
Once we have completed a handful of jobs, we don’t necessarily have a “template”, but we do have already on a canvas, the colours, fonts, logo, and general layout (e.g. margins, columns, gutters and the like).
Being able to start a new design job for them, usually involves us simply copying and pasting all of these important previously used elements onto the new canvas after which, when we add the new text, headings and elements such as shapes, banners, icons etc, we can use a powerful tool such as the eyedropper tool (found in Adobe design software) to copy (in the event of text) the text size, colour, font, font weight, spacing, tracking, even the space between lines. The very first job may take around 10 minutes to style this manually, but from that point forward, it’s a streamlined process!

Familiarity with the client’s preferences and tastes

When you have completed a job for a client, you learn a lot about them including what they are looking for, the style of layout they prefer (e.g., minimalist or traditional) and also what they are fussy about. Once we have this information on board, we ensure that the following job addresses these preferences before they see the first draft proof. Whilst the first job may go back and forth once or twice, the ensuing jobs are often approved with no design changes other than the occasional text change.

So how does this make getting graphic design work cheaper?

It simply comes down to time. If we spend 90 minutes on the first job including the changes, subsequent jobs are usually halved in time (or even less!). As with many things in life, the more you work with someone, the more efficient you get in ensuring that not only the brief is met, but also the design project becomes faster and faster.
The client we mentioned before who operates a club with functions venue, regularly has promotional materials created for upcoming events. These materials include but are not limited to; social media tiles, digital tv advertising, digital advertising for their retail point of sale screens, printed materials, and the occasional pullup banner.
When we first started working on these projects, the task to design the above would take in the vicinity of 3 hours. We can normally have all of this completed now in about half of that time. We understand what they will like, we have their brand collateral on file and the process has become very streamlined.

Saving the client time

The client is also saving themselves A LOT of time due to understanding what we need for a job and by us knowing what other information would be needed such as booking details, website, etc. Our last brief included the following information which must have taken them a mere minute to email;

Hi Guys,
Could we have this by (date) please.
Event Promo - 2 social tiles, POS, TV, and DL flyer.
(Event Name)
(Event Date)
(Event Time)

We designed all the above collateral, with the only change needed on proof being the event start time (changed by the client). It included custom livery for the theme of the event (logo-style title, colours and imagery). All completed in under 1.5 hours including arranging the printing through our wholesaler.

The most effective and efficient way to have regular work created

The above client utilises one of our design packages. This allows a monthly set fee, which includes an allocated amount of time to use as they wish throughout the month for whatever they need. Any time not used, is simply rolled over to the following month. If more time is required, we simply borrow it from the following month.
Our packages require a 12-month commitment, and if you end up using your 12 months allocated design time in 11 months, we simply keep you in the loop on where things are up to including any unused time and we can do a catch up payment. If you don’t use some time, we simply roll it over to the following month and at the end of the term, you may skip an invoice or two until we use up your time. You also get priority when it comes to scheduling your work. We allow time each week for our package clients, so we have space to give them a quick turn-around when they need something. This is great for clients who want to promote something or get a message out straight away.
The types of things we can create for you include anything from simple email signatures for your team, templates for letterheads and invoices, restaurant menus, social media tiles, flyers and catalogues, signs, banners, business cards, uniforms and apparel, swing tags and simple packaging, digital displays and so on. If you have created a website with us, your allocated time can even be used to update it or work on SEO (including writing blog articles!).
Check out our graphic design page here for some indicative pricing.

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