The graphic designer is essential to every company. This is especially true when you are an IT company offering web development and other multimedia services.
Any person who has become a part of the IT business in some form knows that the graphic design stage is one of the trickiest parts of the process as it undergoes constant revision. Graphic designers churn out several studies before the client finally agreements to one study. Although you can charge the client per study made, your proposal becomes less appealing that way. As a result, most IT companies are away from this pricing scheme and just accept the fact that delays in the work schedule will arise as a result of the revisions. Of course, this translates to an increase in overhead for the IT company.
The main goal of every IT business is to try to minimize these revisions as much as possible, so that it can cater to more clients. While there is no silver bullet for this conundrum, here are some tips and guidelines one can consider, to improve the hit ratio of graphic design studies:
1. Determine your company's identity.
This allows you to understand the kinds of design you'd like to make for your clients and the projects you're willing to take. Ask yourself: Would you like to focus on traditional style and design or use the modern approach? What is your general opinion on color schemes? Are you an advocate of minimalism? And other similar questions. Also, ask yourself questions about your work ethic and business model. Do you prefer taking on a lot of mini projects or would you like to just take on a small pool of projects that take longer to finish but pay off bigger?
Look at other IT company websites on the Internet to get a feel of what you want and do not want for your own company by looking at your competitors' vision and mission, philosophy, portfolio, and overall website design.
Ultimately, your identity will be the foundation for the design and content of your own company website, which will be explained further in point # 4.
2. Hire graphic designers based on your identity.
Make sure all your graphic designer candidates submit their portfolio along with their resume. The portfolio will help you understand the designer's level of skill, layout sense, and style. Interview them to determine their work ethic. Can they work under time pressure? Can they handle criticisms? Do they work well with other people?
3. A bit of Obsessive Compulsion (OC) will not hurt, but a lot will.
There are so many graphic designers out there with their own personalities and outlook on the job. One aspect they differ in is their attention to detail and their overall neatness. We're not talking about the way they dress of course, but with the way they make their layouts, organize their layers in the PSD file, label these layers, etc.
A general rule will be to get people who have a bit of OC flowing in their blood. I stress the degree because overly perfectionist designers will slow down the whole process drastically, without actually contributing to improvements that are remarkably visible to the clients. Of course, the opposite of this is very unacceptable. Sloppy work will also slow down the process either because the client turns down the study or because the web programmers get a massive headache wading through the mess of layers in an attempt to convert the designer's PSD file into a web site.
4. Create a company profile website that reflects your design philosophy.
Now that you have an able designer on your work, it's time to take on your first project: your own website. The style and content of your website should reflect your company's identity. Clients who inquire about your business most likely like your website's look and feel so they will probably expect your design to produce their own website.
5. Create your portfolio.
Since you are just starting out and you do not have a lot of past clients yet, you can try creating a few dummy studies of websites in several industries, so that clients can see just what your IT staff is capable of doing. It's also a great way to gauge what the client wants, which is elaborated on the next point:
6. Understand your clients' needs and wants through your portfolio and other competitor sites.
Have your clients browse through your portfolio, so they can choose the style they prefer. Ask them if they have particular websites that they like like you to emulate.
7. Guide your graphic design staff throughout the whole process.
To say that the design work should be left in the hands of designers is a fallacy. The design should be something that is visually appealing, functional / HTML-friendly, and something that conforms to the needs and desires of the client. The visual appeal department is handled by the designer, the functional and HTML-friendly aspect by the web programmer, the third by the one who interfaced with the client. Conduct periodic meetings so that everyone is right on track.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you and your client are always on the same page, which will contribute to an increase in your design study hit ratio. Best of all, the tips above help your company efficiently convert these already HTML-conversion-friendly studies to websites, speeding up the whole process and improving your company's overall bottom line.