From the water cooler supplier to your collections agency, your company engages with its vendors daily. This means you get to know the ins and outs of how to best work with them. Standards for your water cooler provider may be pretty clear-cut, but you may not be so sure what makes a good relationship with your infographic design agency. If it’s early in the partnership, or if you’re shopping around for a new infographic partner for your company, here are 4 questions to aid in identifying whether your agency partner is a quality service provider as well as a good fit for your company.
1. How do I know if an infographic is the right medium for my needs?
If a company only creates infographics, it might be hard for them to admit when an infographic isn’t the best choice for a particular goal. They may push through red flags in order to produce an infographic no matter what. Yet, just because you can make an infographic doesn’t always mean you should! An agency should ask plenty of questions about your goals and audience at each turn. This will help them to decide if an infographic design is the way to go, or if another type of visual collateral could yield better results.
2. I need some help writing the copy for my next project. Can you do that?
Some design agencies are just that — design agencies, period. Along with developing creative work, designers may be the ones to handle client communication as well as research and write your content. Certainly some multi-talented individuals could get the job(s) done. Yet, having a dedicated expert for each aspect of your project means you can trust the final piece will meet your goals.
So, while your go-to company may say they’re happy to help with your infographic content, it’s worth it to find out whether they have a true content team — one with credible writing experience. Top-notch editors should be able to find the information you want, write a compelling narrative, and keep optimization for visual communication as a top priority. Otherwise, you may find yourself writing the copy after all.
3. I’ve got a really tight deadline. How can you help?
Most agencies can accommodate tight timelines. However, be wary of any recommendations to cut process steps. While it may look nice to see a schedule with fewer phases, the experience is rarely ideal.
Why? Here are a few examples:
- If you skip a content phase, copy and data changes at the wireframe and design phases can impact your layout and lengthen the approval process.
- If you skip a wireframe and don’t like the first draft design as a result, the agency has to create a brand new design rather than making minor edits. This can require more time and budget.
With this said, rush deadlines are a common occurrence. If your stakeholders can’t accommodate faster review cycles to hit your deadline, your agency may recommend a modified process.
If this happens, they should clearly explain the probable impacts of skipping steps. This includes the budget and schedule impacts mentioned above, but there may be other consequences as well. Everyone must have a clear understanding of the risks of a modified process before the project begins.
4. I’ve got an infographic request that’s a bit different from the work your company has made for me in the past. How do we get started?
With a new type of request — be it for a unique infographic campaign, a new design medium altogether, a new product or sub-brand, or a new department within the client’s organization — a strong agency partner should assume nothing.
As a valued client, the very first step the agency should take with you is to set up a call or meeting. Here, you can each discuss the new request in detail. When this happens before any incorrect scope decisions or promises are made, risks are mitigated early.
A discussion is important in this scenario because you each have the benefit of understanding how the other works and how to keep each other happy. You may feel so comfortable working together that unexpected scenarios or goals aren’t approached with the same investigative spirit you had in the beginning of your working relationship.
Your agency should be asking questions from the get-go. This way, they can make sure that any new ask is an exciting challenge — not a misunderstanding waiting to happen.
It takes a lot to put your trust in a company. This is especially true if they’ll serve as your go-to for ongoing infographic needs. This agency partner may be helping you strategize for and produce not only infographics, but also motion graphics, interactive design, and more for multiple campaigns over multiple quarters or even years. Before diving deep into a partnership, ask the right questions. A few queries now can help you avoid common challenges in the years ahead.