Design on shaky grounds
In a broad sense, “design on shaky grounds” happens when a valuable or growing company tries to modernize its product/service identity by resorting to solutions from as many freelancers or small agencies as possible, which lack a significant amount of experience and logistical power represented by the competencies gathered in those agencies. The “shaky grounds” are represented by those small and many freelancers or small agencies who are called to take part in the “big project”. Through his attitude and interest in working with many and cheap agencies, the client imposes, actually, a relationship of subordination and not working partnership with professionals.
The results targeted by such an approach are:
– A vague idea about any type of strategy “ah, what a good idea, we could go in this direction, maybe we will manage to be different from the others” which result from those visual proposals, and not the other way around as it should be from a logical and rational point of view;
– As many proposals as possible at the company’s disposal without any financial or copyright obligation;
– Small or very small budgets are offered to the “winner”, usually chosen on the basis of the lowest price.
What that company actually receives are:
– Many proposals, “quantity and not quality”, because the lack of experience of those included in the pitch urges them to present options that are as diverse as possible, which actually means a lack of strategy. A lack of strategy also means a lack of proper focus;
– Time wasted because a freelancer will never cope with the workload of an agency team, starting with documentation, analysis, strategy, creation and implementation. An agency specializing in brand strategy and design will always approach the problem holistically, from A to Z (because it also has the necessary resources to do that);
– Not that many skills and unsure action regarding strategy and execution because freelancers and small agencies are not largely specialized in this field. In general, they have the necessary know-how strictly about design. However, in the case of redesigning a product/ service/identity the brand needs writers, strategy and communication consultants, dtps, client/project management, office management etc;
– Most of the times, freelancers tend to hurry when working on a project (their attitude towards them being: “let’s finish this so I can take my money”), to please the client, because his money depends on his attitude, therefore results are obtained like this: “put some more red because that’s how I like it”;
– Design and/or content errors, delays in deadlines, etc, which leads to an extension of the time required to launch on the market.
All of these things lead to time and money spent uselessly – which also means money that is lost. Before making such an approach, customers should do a cost/time/results analysis, and if they insist on working this way, they could do it “post-mortem” so as not to repeat the waste of the company’s internal resources a second time.
Later edit, so as not to be misunderstood. There are small agencies or super-talented freelancers in their field that are worth working with. But a project that requires the redesign of a range of products – let’s say canned vegetables, fruits and other dishes – that have dozens of SKUs may be too big of a job for some people.