A few years ago, finding a great infographic agency or designer wasn't too hard because there were only a handful of options to choose from. Today, on the other hand, there are hundreds of portfolios online claiming expert skills in visualizing information. Unfortunately, this leads people to choosing a vendor based on budget, which often results in mediocre designs, poor content, and wasted money on a product that nobody wants to share. With thousands of infographics released online every single day, only a properly executed design will stand a chance of seeing success, but how do you determine who will be the best fit for you and your needs? Here's a simple checklist to go through when trying to get the best possible infographic for your next campaign:
Part 1: Research Your Options
- Make sure they have a portfolio showcasing at least 20 infographic designs. If they don't, they may be too green to work with right now (assuming you plan on spending over $1000). Visualizing information is not an easy task. To succeed in today's infographic-heavy world, you need to work with a trendsetter who will produce work that will standout. It's not a bad thing to give someone new a chance, but be aware that you might have to guide them more than they guide you and your time is valuable.
- Check to see if they have testimonials on their site from actual customers. There are more than a few agencies out there that use third-party write-ups of their infographics as "customer testimonials." Third-party write-ups are important as well, because it's always good to see how their designs are viewed by reputable content sources. That said, make sure the agency is being transparent about where these testimonials are coming from and that they aren't being packaged as accolades from actual customers.
- Fill out their contact form and check to see how long it takes them to get back to you. Again, your time is money so you want to make sure you are working with a responsive crew. Determine for yourself how long you're willing to wait for a response, and weed out prospects based on this.
- Identify your favorite designs in their portfolio and search for them online using Google's reverse image search. This will help you determine whether or not their designs are successful online. What you like might not be the same as what appeals to your core audience, so it's important to make sure their designs appeal to a wide-array of consumers.
- Checkout the logos on their website. Are the logos of actual clients that they have worked with, or are they logos of publications their infographics have been seen? This is another common issue with online portfolios. Too often small agencies or freelancers will show logos on their site of companies that have reposted their infographics. These logos are packaged to look like clients, when they are actually quite the opposite. Look for words like "Clients" or "We Work For" or "We've Designed For" which clearly state that these are actual customers.
- Look for an "About Us" page. Some infographic agencies consist of two people, others 20, and even some over 100. Check to see who you will be working with. If you want to take things a step further, research them on LinkedIn. Make sure this is their full time job versus a night gig so that you can be sure to get responses while you're at work instead of in the evenings. If they show a large team, lookup some team members on LinkedIn as well. Do those team members state that they work for the company, or do they actually work in a freelance capacity and the company is just one of their clients? It's important to note that a small team or a team of freelancers isn't necessarily a problem, especially if you're on a budget. If you only have $1000 or less to spend on your infographic, you should expect to be working with a small group, single founder, and/or freelancers.
Part 2: What To Ask
Once you are ready to take the next step of hopping on a call, it's important to make sure you ask the following questions, to get an idea of who you'll be working with:
- What's the history of your company? or How long have you been designing infographics?
- Can you tell me about some of your most successful campaigns? What made them a success? What do you define as success? What were the metrics?
- What's the composition of your team? Who does the research? Who does the design? Does anyone do promotion?
- Do you have a standard process, if so, what is it?
- Do you work with freelancers, or is your team in-house?
- What will I get for my money?
- Why should I choose you over another agency/designer?
- How long does it take you to complete a project?
Depending on your budget, your work style, and your content needs the answers to the above questions will sway you in different ways. In the least, whoever you work with should guide you through a process instead of you giving them your preferred process. This is because you are not the infographic designer so you shouldn't take on the responsibility of determining how the process should work. Every agency or designer will approach things differently, so make sure their approach is one you're comfortable with and of value to you. Creating a successful infographic takes time and money, so make sure you're spending both wisely.
* Image by Mufidah Kassalias