More than often, I inevitably hear of the woes related to outsourcing graphics work at least a few times every week. Complaints range from simple timeline issues to overall quality deviations.
I always ask when I hear such issues, "Why did you outsource your design related work to begin with?". The answer always the same, "for cheaper costs".
Now I had always wondered, if the primary concern is cheaper costs then why all the whining and complaining? If the answer was "cheaper costs for quality services", then I would have understood better. Rather, I find it tremendously incredible that someone would outsource their design work to anyone out there simply because they were the lowest bidder! Is not one bothering to consider experience, equipment or infrastructure?
The reason outsourcing would be cheaper would simply be due to lower labor costs. All other things has to weigh in at par. It should not matter if anyone is outsourcing their design work to an individual or a studio; proper skill sets, equipment and infrastructure MUST be in place.
One of the primary way to ascertain if the freelancer makes the grade is by carefully reviewing the quote. If the numbers seem too good to be true, it most probably is. At the end you may end up spending a lot more than getting the work done right the first time by a professional. I have even come across some freelancers who prey on the "sympathy factor". They blatantly showcase videos of their kids, shabby living conditions, etc. and portrait freelancing as the only means of having some income and standard of life. Worst is seeing educated people falling for such pretenses.
These so called "freelancers" outnumber professional studios by a far margin. Professional studios, regardless of geography, spend quite a big deal into the infrastructure and equipment. They also invest heavily into regular training in order to keep the designers updated on any improvements on related software and market trends. No wonder these types of operations are few and far between. However, it's certainly worth it to seek them out because, in the end quality is what matters. A well thought out and even better executed design makes any type of communication stand out, whether in print or online.
Through this global financial downturn, we have witnessed how many leading brands and agencies outsourced their design work rather than to cut cost. They were able to simply do more within their existing budgets. They were conscious of their decisions to use professional studios spread across the globe with a good track record and who guarantees their work.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with sourcing design professionals with a cheaper cost, however it would be prudent to be very wary of the lowest bidder. Ask for a portfolio and credential deck. Toss some test work around to sample multiple options and sources. Make a sound decision based on logic because these work will define the identity of your business.
After all … it's all about image!
Take care and good luck in outsourcing your next project.