This article is a continuation of the discussion from Get the Most from Creative Professionals, Part 1.
How long should it take?
Ok, if you need your project completed tomorrow morning and it’s already 5:15pm, then you probably know that your deadline is insane. Unfortunately, everyone experiences this kind of insanity every once in a while. However, if this type of deadline is more the rule than the exception at your company, it’s time to get some better time management tools. With such tight deadlines, it’s best to call someone you’ve worked with before who can hit the ground running, and you should expect to pay a premium for a rush job. It’s the cost of doing business on the bleeding edge. If you need to save money, start by planning projects well in advance to keep costs down.
However, if you have no set deadline, but don’t want to be caught in a never-ending project, either, then start with a reasonable deadline for the project. Do some research or ask your seasoned creative professional what is a reasonable deadline to design, review, tweak, and have a final review for your project before you sign on the dotted line. They will be able to guide you to less expensive options, if the timeline works for you.
If additional outside services are required, such as printing, add the outside services to the project timeline. For instance, a brochure may require photography of your product first, then design, then printing, then mailing. Allow two weeks for the design and then add the time for photography, printing, and mailing. A seasoned designer already has photography, printing, and mailing house contacts they trust, unless you have specific companies you prefer to work with. If you have such preferences, let the designer know that when you first approach them for the project.
Also, if the designer estimates that the project will take 8 hours, do not assume that those 8 hours are consecutive (i.e., 8am to 4pm). The truth is, the creative process is rarely linear. First, it’s not uncommon for the creative person familiarize themselves your project, then they will go off and do something else, while having your project in the back of their mind. Psychologists call this subconscious processing. Most creative folk will think about your project, on and off, 24 hours a day, until they have met your deadline. Lucky you, you are only paying for the time when they have resolved the creative issues and actually put the pieces of the puzzle together for you!
The person who sits down and does only what you asked them to do in a consecutive timeframe, without any other creative input (such as a copy center employee), is a production person…not a creative professional. Expect to pay this person much less, and get much less, than the person who is adding value to your project by using their creativity.
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