Building a design partnership that lasts starts by following onboarding best practices. After all, you’re not just outsourcing work, you’re trusting a design partner to deliver assets that reflect your brand to its truest essence. This article walks through four best practices for successfully onboarding design partners and agencies.
Onboarding best practices for design partners and agencies...
Does this feel familiar?
You’ve done the work to find the perfect design partner. Contracts have been signed. All the T’s have been crossed, and all the I’s are dotted. (Someone even threw a heart in there, but we’re not saying who.)
It’s been a long road—you’ve learned a lot—and now it’s time to start the first project in what will hopefully be a long, happy and productive relationship.
A few hours later...
An email pops up in your inbox from your design partner asking about your logo guidelines. It’s an easy question, something they should not only know—but should be able to get an answer for themselves from your brand guidelines.
Then it hits you...
Did you send them the brand guidelines during the onboarding process? If not, what else might have been missed?
Onboarding is the process of getting to know each other. It’s also a shared experience in which both you and your partner hold stakes. Following onboarding best practices makes all the difference.
You wouldn’t spend months interviewing candidates for a role only to hire them and see them fail. The same goes for your design partner. A great onboarding process sets you and your design partner up for success.
Don’t let poor onboarding stop you from having a successful relationship with your design partner. Common problems can be prevented by following these tried and tested onboarding best practices.
Every type of design partner is different, from a traditional design agency to a Creative-as-a-Service (CaaS) company like Superside. Understanding the skills, experiences, and working styles of the different types of design services will help you tailor your onboarding process. Tailoring can include:
When it comes to onboarding, remember the acronym K.I.S.S.—keep it simple, Steve. We’re not sure who Steve is, but keeping your process simple is a surefire way to get up to speed quickly.
Who would’ve known that 90s rap icon Vanilla Ice had the secrets to onboarding success? When he dropped the bar, “Stop, collaborate and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention,” Ice was telling us one of the most essential best practices for onboarding a design partner.
Change is constant, and nothing in your business stays the same for very long. This includes your relationship with your design partner. Honestly, what I’m really saying is never stop communicating and collaborating.
Following onboarding best practices is critical to ensuring you and your design partner have everything you need to meet your design requirements and do the best work. Onboarding sets the tone for the relationship and gets everyone on the same page to deliver the best creative and the strongest relationship.
Alex is a freelance writer and newsletter aficionado based in Waterloo, Ontario. When he’s not writing for clients, he’s putting together TL;WR, a weekly culture and events newsletter his mom says is excellent. Alex has worked with some of Canada’s largest tech companies in PR, marketing and communication roles. Connect with him on LinkedIn to chat or get ideas on what to do this weekend in Waterloo.