How to Choose the Best Graphic Design Firm for Your Budding Business

The amount of brand exposure we are fed on a daily basis is simply overwhelming. It’s not enough anymore to just have a good logo and call it a day.

Consumers are looking for innovative, relevant, forward-thinking businesses and brands. In order to capture their attention, your business needs top-class graphic design services and strategy. 

If you’re looking for an Orange County graphic design firm, here’s how to find and choose the best in the business.

Orange County Graphic Design Firms: How To Make The Right Choice

Good graphic design can do a myriad of things for your business. Not only can it help to transform your company’s product or service, but it creates a cohesive message, or mantra, that leaves a lasting impression.

Choosing the right design firm has its challenges. While many may look good on paper or online, it doesn’t always mean they’re a good fit for your business. This guide should help you make the right choice.

1. Figure Out Your Design Budget 

If you have a specific design project in mind, determine what your design budget is, first. The costs related to the project will determine how much you can spend on a graphic design firm. This narrows down your choices immediately. 

Make sure your budget is sensible. Down the line, this will outline which graphic design agencies fit best with your requirements. Having a budget that is flexible is also important. This allows different agencies to offer a variety of design solutions for the best project outcome.

This also offers you peace-of-mind. You won’t have to worry about ”budget creep” and an end-product that’s way too costly. 

2. Research Their Website And Portfolio

If you’ve managed to whittle down your design agency choices, here are a few things to look for when going through their websites/portfolios: 

How Regularly Do They Update Their Site? 

In the fast-paced world we live in today, this is important. A design agency must show signs of life – even if their current projects span six months, a year, or more. 

This should include regular blog posts to their website, an active Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feed. 

Are Their Client Testimonials Legitimate? 

No business, no matter the industry, should ever falsify customer testimonials. This is your first (and final) red flag. Look out for obvious, fake-looking testimonials that don’t seem genuine. If their site or portfolio does not contain testimonials, this is not always a bad sign! 

If you have questions or doubts, you could always ask for client references and ask them about the firm’s service. 

Have They Displayed Relevant Past Work? 

How up-to-date is the work they’ve displayed on their website or portfolio? If a project dates back two-three years, this doesn’t say very much about a firm’s current design style, aesthetic, and strategy. 

Look for current work, and work that is similar to yours that they have done in the past. Another critical thing to look for is the brand names or reputable companies they’ve worked with. Bear in mind that just because a design firm has worked with big brand names doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for your business.

If you still have your doubts, ask them these questions: 

  • How did your work directly benefit the business you worked with? 
  • How are you going to ensure my project is unique to my business needs?
  • Have you got any examples of successful past projects that are similar to what I’m looking for? 

It’s best to keep your own business objectives in mind when assessing their work and the brands they’ve worked with.

3. Follow Their Social Media Activity 

Once you’ve done a good job of assessing their website, do yourself a favor and follow your preferred agencies on social media. 

Monitor their activity on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that you can get an idea of how they design and market for their own business. It’s also a great way to get an inside idea of what type of company they are, their personality, and how they engage with customers.

Ultimately, the social media picture helps to paint an overall picture of who you’re dealing with in the future. Make sure they’re talking openly and honestly with their audience – pitch in on a discussion and see how they respond to you. This says a lot about their integrity, goals, and business acumen. 

4. Meet With Them, Face-to-Face

While it may seem like the easier, more convenient choice to liaise with an agency via email, Skype or Facetime, meeting in person is critical. 

Meeting with the design team in person will help you to get a better feeling of who you’re working with and whether they truly understand what you’re looking for. 

Speaking face-to-face allows you to explain, in better detail, if there are misunderstandings about your project. It also allows you to gauge a better understanding of their work processes, reaching a mutual agreement on the project far quicker.

5. Assess Whether They’re A Good Long-Term Fit

At the end of the day, your working relationship needs to withstand the test of time. Especially if a design project is set to take six months or longer.

So, when you’re assessing a design firm, don’t forget to think about your long-term working relationship. They need to fully understand how your business operates, while develops a clear vision of branding and execution. 

If your relationship is an open, honest and comfortable one, this is bound to deliver better results in the long-term. 

Find Top Orange County Design Just A Click Away

As one of the best Orange County graphic design firms, Lighthouse Graphics offers innovative, creative, and specialized design and digital consulting. 

We’re here to offer the management of your online presence, as well as web design, marketing, and more. Explore our professional portfolio and get a better feel for how Lighthouse Graphics can help your business.