How to find the right branding and packaging team
So you’re ready to get a new look for your product, where do you start?
Do you go straight to the same people who did your first design or do you go on recommendation? Or heaven forbid, your mate next door who’ll do it for chips?
We all need help sometimes to make our vision a reality. Branding and packaging designers are usually key to unlocking that vision and it’s vital to find the right people to make it happen.
As with any investment, you have to do the research. There are so many things at stake including the survival and success of your business. With a huge variety of skills, personalities and experience to chose from, some will be great for your business and others less so.
How do you decide? Finding the best team to work with will save you a lot of time, stress and money in the long run and you’ll build valuable relationships that will reward everyone.
Here’s a few tips to help you find them.
1. Write a brief.
Before enquiring take some time out and write down your design needs and concerns. Through writing your brief you’ll be able to categorise the different areas you want to target.
Do you want just packaging design or do you want an overall re-brand? Do you need a design strategy for your social media or just a website update? How many pack skews need designing? Do you need front and back of pack design? Get to the bottom of your problem.
Be clear with what you want and communicate the whole situation in the beginning. This means you won’t be disappointed with the outcome and equally shocked when you see the fee required to make your vision happen.
Then see which agency or freelancer can do the work you need. Ask to see samples of their output and try to understand how they work. By doing this you’ll be able to determine how much time and money you need to invest to get what you need.
2. Do your research.
Speak to 5 different agencies, big and small so you understand the process involved and the value different businesses can give you. You wouldn’t buy the first car you see, right?
So ask around and get your head into the world of branding and packaging. Don’t go in naively. Of course you want to find people with the expertise to help, but read some articles about the area you need help in so no one can pull wool over your eyes. This will also help with knowing what value is brought to the table and the costs involved.
3. Never just ask for a quote.
If someone gives you a quote without having an in-depth conversation with you about what you need, they won’t deliver what you really want. Sit down and have a chat. Make sure you allocate enough time in your project plan for these discussions because you’ll be having a lot of them!
The creative process should be invigorating and exciting. You’re giving your story away to a team so they can make it come alive. So you have to feel that connection, meet face to face or even FaceTime – a faceless phone call just isn’t enough – to get the results you need, a strong working relationship across both parties is vital and a good design team will value that!
With design there are no fixed results; you will get a different result from every single creative you engage with so it’s important to find the team that completely get you and your brand. But before you hire their expertise make sure you’re on the same wave length because you don’t want to be baby sitting them through the whole process.
Recommendations are great, but design is subjective. And every business owner has their own story and approach. So what may work for one person may not for you. That’s okay. Have that initial chat, feel the vibes and then make a decision.
4. Get the right people for the job.
Within the world of branding there are many niches so, a web designer’s process and approach is very different to a packaging designer’s.
Just because someone can design a website or logo doesn’t mean they can design your packaging and vice versa. Pack design has levels of complexity that are only known by those in the business. Communications on pack are essential to a brand’s success, so make sure you speak to people who know what they’re talking about. If you need packaging done, work with a packaging designer.
Also always look for someone that underpins what they do with a strategy. See strategy as a kind of blueprint for the building of a brand; a house without an architect’s blueprint is dangerous and likely to collapse. The best creatives will work this out for you.
6. You get what you pay for.
Good, effective branding and packaging is expensive. There’s a lot of planning, research and strategy involved before putting pen to paper. Good design costs money, but it’s worth every penny. Getting it done on the cheap can work if you just need something quick when your starting off. But as your business matures and the stakes rise, you need to be taken seriously and establish your place in a competitive market.
See it as a worthwhile long-term investment and not a short-term cost. There are plenty of fantastic design agencies that can offer a refined package or a work around to help you as a startup or SME – just ask and see what they say. But at the end of it you should feel proud, confident and sense there is a strong foundation that underpins all your communication internally and externally. That’s when you’ve got an effective working brand.
In summary take the time to get out there, speak to people and do your research. What do you want your brand to communicate, who’s managed to communicate that successfully before? Can you see yourself working with these people for the next 6 months or more? Get your head into the branding world and then go forward.
It’s an investment that will change the course of your business life…don’t take it lightly.