Slidegenius, Inc.

Five Scenarios that Call for Outsourced Graphic Design

Outsourcing is a polarizing topic.

Some companies are staunchly against it, while others readily delegate work to partners and independent contractors alike.

For skilled tasks like graphic design, outsourcing is almost inevitable.

In these cases, it’s best to embrace the benefits of outsourcing, no matter your stance.

Outsourcing Is Trending

It might surprise you to learn that more companies are outsourcing graphic design work than ever before—and not necessarily under the duress of a heavy workload.

Choosing to outsource graphic design has some great benefits. Plus, it’s easier than ever thanks to the gig economy.

In the age of remote work and side hustles, finding a qualified graphic designer (or team of designers) for an affordable price takes minutes.

You might hop on a freelancer bidding website, contact a friend of a friend, or search the web for a trustworthy partner. Thankfully, there are few-to-no barriers to outsourcing, which has made it a viable solution for many companies in managing their workflow.

The Top Reasons Companies Outsource

Why outsource?

Every company has its own reasons, and different situations call for different solutions. To understand why outsourced graphic design is such a booming trend, take a look at some of the top survey answers from major companies:

  • 59% – Reduce/control costs
  • 57% – Focus on core functions
  • 47% – Solve capacity issues
  • 31% – Improve services
  • 28% – Gain access to expert talent and knowledge
  • 17% – Manage the business environment
  • 17% – Accelerate organizational transformation

From the numbers, outsourcing is often the function of cost control and task delegation.

Companies need a way to get quality collateral fast, without hampering their already-busy production teams. These are all valid reasons for seeking outsourced graphic design help, but it’s important to recognize the many other situations that might call for a helping hand.

Recognize Outsourcing Opportunities

It’s not always easy to recognize outsourcing as a solution. Here are some of the most common scenarios companies run up against and why outsourcing graphic design is the most viable solution.

Scenario 1: You need to cut costs

There’s a misconception that outsourcing is more expensive than in-house graphic design.

This simply isn’t true in most situations.

Consider the cost of a full-time salary and benefits packages, versus the cost of delegating a set number of hours out to someone. On average, a graphic designer pulls in around $45,000 per year.

That’s a major expense and you have every right to balk at the cost.

An outsourced specialist ultimately costs less than an in-house employee and will likely accomplish more in less time, instilling more total value in your cost per project.

Scenario 2: You’re growing and your internal design team is overwhelmed

Working at-scale is hard when you’re growing.

You might have more work than four graphic designers can handle, but not enough to justify bringing on a fifth person—it’s workflow purgatory!

Outsourcing graphic design as an intermediary measure allows you to function at-scale, without straining your operations to prematurely accommodate more staff.

With outsourcing, designers are there when you need it and gone when you don’t:

Download the full diagram here.

As the diagram above shows, if you ever experience #1 or #3, you should consider outsourcing graphic design to a trusted partner.

It’s the ultimate in flexibility.

Scenario 3: You’ve hired your first dedicated marketing person

A dedicated marketing manager is the first step to a robust marketing team—but they’re still only one person.

No matter how talented they are, they don’t have time to create and coordinate collateral. Let them focus on the administrative tasks crucial to campaign execution. Being able to focus on tact and strategy is what ultimately lifts your campaigns to success.

Leave content and collateral creation to a specialist.

Scenario 4: Your internal design team is getting burned out

Repetition is a precursor to burnout. If your in-house team works on the same projects over and over again with little deviation, they will stagnate and fizzle.

Outsourcing these repetitive and monotonous graphic design tasks is a win-win for everyone.

Your in-house team gets diversity and exposure to new projects. An outsourced specialist, on the other hand, gets consistent work they understand and can plan for.

Scenario 5: Your internal marketing team needs specialized support

Once in awhile, there’s a project above the pay grade of your in-house team (we see this a lot when it comes to incorporating presentation animation).

Instead of turning the project away, consider outsourcing.

It’s easy to meet the demands of the project when you have an entire world of skilled professionals to pick from. They’re able to help you deliver a quality result, without serving in a full-time capacity.

Like this post? Check out our “How to Effectively Support Busy Graphic Design Teams” guide:

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Conclusion

No matter your feelings about outsourcing work, it’s important to recognize the benefits associated with it.

Every business is likely to encounter a situation in which outsourcing is the answer. When they do, having the wherewithal to turn to a outsourced designer can be the difference between success and hardship.

Keep an eye out for opportunities to improve capacity, cut costs, and control workflow by outsourcing graphic designers.

Capitalizing on these opportunities and utilizing an outsourced graphic design solution will put your business in a position to keep moving forward, full steam ahead with marketing and branding goals.

Ready to start your journey to presentation perfection? Schedule a free presentation consultation now.

Using PowerPoint and a photocopier to make a Microfluidics lab

In Wired we read about a Microfuidics lab that was made using a photocopier and PowerPoint.

Forget £300 “lab-on-a-chip” devices. A high school physics teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts has made a handy, DIY microfluidic chip with Microsoft PowerPoint, a photocopier and a slide of transparency film.

Microfluidic chips are used to study liquids at the microliter and nanoliter range, to take advantage of the unique fluid behaviors that take place at such tiny scales. The technology has had a huge impact on fields such as physics, chemistry, engineering and biotechnology.

But the devices are expensive, and created through a complicated production method involving clean rooms, photolithography and etching.

Joe Childs, a physics teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and collaborator with Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has come up with a quick and inexpensive way to make reusable lab-on-a-chip devices, which are perfect for schools.

Avoiding “Death by PowerPoint”

©2002 Corbin Ball Associates

I was interviewed in the November 2002 issue of PCWorld Magazine regarding the use of technology, and specifically PowerPoint, in presentations. Here is the interview in its unabridged form.

Q.  How do you avoid “death by PowerPoint?”

A.  We have all been there — sitting through computer presentations with endless screens of boring text. As we struggle to keep our eyes open, the phrase “Death by PowerPoint” comes readily to mind. Of course, it is not the program that is the problem but the *poor use* of the program that causes the trouble.

As a professional speaker who speaks more than sixty groups each year, I use computerized presentation programs in nearly every presentation I give. I have given much thought and have learned by trial and error what works and what doesn’t. So, if you ever have to make a presentation or deal with non-professional speakers who use computer presentation programs, here are my tips for good PowerPoint use:

  1. Limit the number of words on each slide:
    Fifteen words should be the maximum on any slide! The presentation should not be a reading report! Only a few words or a phrase to emphasize or reinforce an idea are all that is needed.
  1. Use a bold, simple and large font:
    Veranda and Arial (emboldened) are my favorites due to high screen legibility. Minimum font size should be 18pt but my average font size is 40pt to allow for easy reading in the back of the room. Also, keep the fonts consistent throughout the presentation and use no more than two different font types.
  1. Use transitions wisely:
    You can always tell a new PowerPoint user who has just discovered slide transitions: words are flying in from every direction often with more sound effects than a StarWars movie.  Speakers must keep in mind that they are the show – not what is on the screen. Transitions often distract from the message. I typically use dissolves (the least jarring transition there is). When I change to a major new topic, I will use Uncover Right-up to subtly indicate that it is a new topic. Slide build transitions should be used when indicating direction (i.e. flow chat, graphs, etc.) For example, I will use a wipe right when using a line graph, subtly reinforcing the direction of time helping the audience to read the graph. Judicious use of transitions can help an audience know where you are going, rather than distract them.
  1. Avoid stock templates:
    Stay away from the standard background templates that come with the program. Instead, use a custom template to make your presentation look different right from the start. Many are downloadable for free from the Internet (go towww.google.com and search on the phrase: “free PowerPoint templates” without the quotation marks).
  1. Choose a design template where the words are easily distinguished from the background:
    Avoid busy backgrounds, or ones with hard-to-read fonts, or fonts with equal color density to the background (i.e. the worst case would be bright green letters on bright red field).
  1. Let the audience know where you are going:
    PowerPoint is great to help audiences know where you are in a program. List the agenda (what will be covered), key points, use topic headers at the top of your slides, use thematic clipart for each subject area, use full screen titles to announce major presentation transitions, include a conclusions slide (what was covered). The more you help an audience know where you are going, the more they will stay with you and learn.
  1. Use a wireless advance mechanism:
    Do not be tethered to your computer. I use a very small radio frequency device from L3Sys.com (www.l3sys.com) that has just two buttons (forward and reverse), requires no special software (it can be used with any computer), and has more than a 100’ range. I never have to think about walking over to the computer or have someone else advance the slides – my full concentration is where it should be – on the audience! People often ask me how I advance my slides as the unit is so small and it is attached to my palm with a light rubber band so that I can use both hands for gesturing — they don’t see it at all.
  2. Use pictures and graphs:
    The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words has never been truer than with computer presentations. Pictures add interest, they can reinforce themes, they can add humor, and they can show in a few seconds what it would take minutes to explain.  I use pictures, screenshots or thematic clipart on nearly every frame.

Q. What about using Web technologies as an alternative to a slide show? Have you done that? How do you use Web sites and Web technologies in your presentations?

A.  I use a wide range of products demonstrating the technologies I am speaking about.  Palm emulators, flash animation, streaming video, avatars, and many others – anything that I can load on my hard drive rather than pull down live from the web. These offer a change of pace and add interest. I almost never go online during my presentations. Instead I use screen shots of the web sites. Aside from significant reliability issues, with screen shot captures one can frame the image, enlarge the text, focus on just one part of the page, use circles or other annotation devices.

A principal challenge of showing Web pages in front of a group is that a monitor and a projection screen are not the same. Most of the time, the font on a web site is way too small and the information too densely packed for group viewing on a screen By pasting screen captures from web sites into the PowerPoint program, carefully cropped and sized, the presenter can make a point about a web page much more strongly, more reliably and much easier than trying to navigate online.  There is nothing worse when doing presentations on technology for the technology not to work. Capturing screenshots of the web sites and pasting into the PowerPoint program usually completely eliminates these issues.

The exception to the above is when I do a presentation on Virtual Meetings where I go online connecting to a remote location to not only talk about, but truly demonstrate this technology.

Q.  What are some of the biggest technological snags presenters encounter at customer sites? How do you overcome them? Have you got any “emergency tools” that you carry?

A. The biggest snag I see, as mentioned above, is trying to go online in front of the audience. It is the kiss of death, especially for technology speakers, to be screwed up by technology. I you must demonstrate a web site and can’t simply use screenshots, save it to your hard disk instead of going online. Also, change your screen properties setting to large fonts, which will enlarging the navigation buttons and image by 20%.

The other snag is not having multiple backups. For every presentation I give, I always carry the PPT presentation (and the other demo programs) on a CD that is *not* in my PC case. I also post the program to a password-protected portion of my web site just in case. I have used both of these options in the past two years avoiding what would have been disaster.  I also carry backup advance mechanisms and laser pointer batteries for the same reason.

Q.  What kinds of images or other digital media “sell” a product or an argument these days?

A.  Streaming video, flash demos, and other multimedia images can be quite powerful if used judiciously – remember, the speaker is the show, not the program.  The real sale comes from your passion in your topic and your ability to convey it.