2 min Read
May 4, 2011

Good brain for the buck.

One of the things I like most about working at Big Duck is that our mothers didn’t raise any idiots. And working with smart people is fun.

But working with smart people isn’t just fun. The collaboration also makes our work for clients better. That’s one reason nonprofits hire us.

Not every nonprofit can work with us, nor can we work with every nonprofit, as much as we may like to. So if you’re working with freelancers instead of an agency, how can you simulate that collaborative advantage?

Well, let me talk a little bit about me (and my fellow Ducks), by way of example. We’ve got pretty clearly defined roles here. For anything we do, I’m in charge of the words. Sonny, our Design Director, as his title suggests, is in charge of the visuals. I don’t design things for him, and he doesn’t write things for me.

But he and I have worked together a long time now (we met at a corporate agency years ago). During that time, we’ve gotten pretty comfortable sharing ideas with each other. I’m not so “turfy” that I can’t admit that Sonny has come up with some pretty good lines. And some of the concepts I’ve come up with have been driven by visuals.

Sometimes it’s necessary for us to go off on our own and really hash out the parts we do best. Sonny tries to make everything look stunning; I try to make it sound good.

Anyway, let’s say you’ve got an annual report to create, and you hire freelancers to write and/or design it. Encourage the writer and designer to work together (even if one of you is on the staff at your organization). Have them collaborate to create an overarching concept for the report and discuss how that concept will play out visually and verbally. Just getting your words and visuals working together will improve your annual report tenfold and help it stand above the other annual reports in the world.

Extend that collaboration across any of the work you’ve hired freelancers for. Many a successful logo we’ve designed at Big Duck has been inspired by the tagline. And often, when I’ve been most stuck writing a tagline, a simple turn to the visual work helps me break through to the other side.

So if you’re investing in freelancers, get more brain for your buck by having them collaborate.

Dan Gunderman

Dan Gunderman is the Former Creative Director at Big Duck

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