Why we don’t pitch for projects (and what we do instead)

September 28, 2023

1. Firstly, it’s not an egotistical thing

Really, it’s not about ego or thinking that free pitching is beneath us – it’s about wanting our designs to actually work. And to achieve that, we need to work with the best possible brief, and to be part of the conversation. It’s like going to the doctor with a self-diagnosis from Google. Come to a design studio for advice and they will help you identify the correct problems and then dream up the best solutions. Easy peasy!

2. I’ll know it when I see it 

When free pitching occurs it’s often that the organiser doesn’t know what they want until they see it, and they think that by collecting solutions to what they have identified as the problem, the right ‘look’ will appear in a line up. This isn’t the case. The problem they see MAY be the wrong one, and so all the ‘solutions’ will be ineffective, even if you ‘like’ them (analysing design should be objective and based on how effectively it meets the brief, so read our other blogs for more on that word!). Maybe you are thinking you need a website design, but you actually need to update your logo or just improve your UX or SEO? Maybe you could just make your social media consistent with your other collateral. 

3. External Perspectives are Beneficial

A professional graphic designer will look at your situation from outside the organisation and identify the problems more effectively. It’s not that you’re not able to write the brief, it’s that external agencies can work more objectively and strategically, without all the internal politics / historical baggage. They have vast experience in writing briefs (they literally do it every day). By cutting the design studios out of the briefing step, you are shooting yourself in the foot, right at the start. Effective graphic design is about identifying the opportunity, cross-checking what the competitors are doing and applying a marketing strategy that works in situ.  An experienced designer will then collate quality images and effective copy, consider where it’s appearing and what it’s saying (and to whom) to effectively build brand awareness and convert leads into loyal customers. 

4. Harms industry by devaluing design 

This one doesn’t require a lot of explanation. If everyone worked for free, then why would anyone PAY for design? Practising graphic designers go to technical college or university for 3-5 years (at great cost) to learn the trade, and they have natural talent to boot, so unless you want everything you look at to be  confusing, hard-to-read, ugly and off-brand, it’s in everyone’s best interest to pay them fairly for their skills and time.

5. Collaboration is key

Design solutions come from a two way conversation and briefing documents are not all alike. What you are using as a briefing document may not be the information that we need. We have 2-5 page briefing templates that are customised for each ‘type’ of project, so unless you have a crystal ball, you probably won’t be answering all the questions needed for us to design effectively for your company.

6. It can be a trap for scams

Remember, you will always get better results from following the proper design process, rather than throwing your brief out in to the world and collecting responses. Designers who are keen to free pitch or offer their services for free may be inexperienced or ready to slam you with frees later on when you’re tied to them. Be warned and understand the terms of any agreement (including IP laws) up front. Maybe you will be able to see a JPG of the logo but you won’t own the IP or be able to receive the vector files without paying a lump sum. That means the logo will always be pixelated or worse, they may come at you with lawyers if you sign an approval form that does not release IP and then you start using ‘their’ logo.  

7. We take pride in having a holistic approach to design

We are brand custodians for our clients and that role makes for happier clients and stronger brands. We keep an eye on all your ‘touchpoints’ and flag things that are off brand – and we’re not just trying to get work out of you! It’s really important to take you brand seriously – if you do, we are a good fit for you! You can even blame us when you tell your colleagues that they can’t use comic sans in their PPT – ‘the brand team said…”. 

8. What we do instead? 

We work with companies that are the right fit for us and that we are the right fit for as well! This usually means that they are in a industry that we have experience working in, (and our portfolio shows that) and they need something that we offer on our (vast) services list. We then follow a tried and tested design process that we have honed over 21 years+. This keeps ‘design hours’ low and speeds up the project. We collaborate on a briefing document to identify the correct problem/s – this is almost always a conversation – a call or a zoom – which results in a fully populated briefing questionnaire. 

Meeting us is important. You actually want to ‘like’ your design partners so take this step seriously! We then look holistically at existing branding/marketing in place, discuss priorities and timelines and stagger projects across short-, medium- and long-term, if needed. 

We then get cracking on research, design, rollout, production, delivery, analysis and improvement. We work across digital and print and keep everything on brand and adhering to a style guide. We also make those if you want one! So yes, get yourself into a solid design partnership and gets results! 

If you are searching for a Sydney-based graphic design agency that can guide you in the world of visual communication, then you have come to the right place! Contact us today at Fresco Creative to talk with one of our experienced graphic designers.