Design in-house : 6 must-haves

Your marketing department is growing. Project expectations and volume keep increasing and outsourcing design talent are becoming pricey and tedious. Even though the post-economic crisis has opened opportunities to temp and short-term designers to come in and help with the workload, the need for full time multi-talented designers are now visible in many organizations.

It's the best time to take advantage of the situation because there are many well experienced and talented designers ready to take on your challenge. Besides of the soft skill-set that your potential designer must have such as communications and organizational skills, here are 7 logistical must-haves that your designer will have to implement to establish a basic design operation in-house:

1. Creative process
The creative process is a broad process and has nothing to do with the production process. It establishes the thinking process for getting to a refine idea. The steps might vary but as basic one will include:
  1. Discovery, meeting with project manager/client to learn about the scope of the project
  2. Interpretation, the project manager develops the creative brief
  3. Conceptualization, the designer focuses on research, sketching, and ideation, and prototyping
  4. Presentation, the designer presents several design concept options to the project manager/client
  5. Refinement, based on feedback, the designer touches up the design concept that was selected
  6. Implementation, the new concept is applied to specific deliverables
6 steps of a basic creative process
2. Production process
Once the design has been selected during the creative process, you move onto the production process for all the nitty-gritty. The design will be applied to specific pieces such as brochures, postcards, web graphics, etc. Here's where specific sizes and quantities will be decided.

3. Job order forms
A job order is key for a design project initiation since this will include all specs needed for the designer to get it done: size, print date, delivery date, delivery format.

4. Production schedule
Since your designer will be handling multiple projects at once, the best way to keep track of all together is a production schedule that could be in the shape of a spread sheet or some kind of project management tool. Believe me, this will prevent the designer from missing deadlines and minimize overall insanity and stress.

5. Approval form
No project can get released to a print shop or the Web without the project manager or client's approval. Make sure you get a signature or initials at every round of revisions to ensure that the project is following the right direction until it gets published.

6. Technology
To be clear on this, technical knowledge doesn't define a good designer. The designer's role is to find solutions to a problem through a design thinking process, therefore imagination is the main tool. Having the right technology to implement those ideas is important for a good execution, however.