Here are five items your next magazine
redesign RFP should include to yield the most qualified candidates.
By Lynn Riley
magazine redesign is a daunting task that—thankfully—only surfaces once every three
to five years. If your association has decided to outsource this operation, you’ll
need a request for proposal (RFP). An RFP is a detailed document that defines the
scope of work, the process, the schedule, and the total estimated cost for a
project. So what are the necessary items to include in the RFP to ensure you
get the most qualified candidates? Here are five items that top the list.
your budget range with the designer/firm. Disclosing a budget
range helps the candidate tailor the scope of work to what you can afford. In
other words, designers won't prepare a proposal that incorporates tasks and
services beyond what you need and unwittingly estimate higher for those
the designer’s portfolio speak for itself.Some
publishers are tempted to ask candidates to create design concepts of their
publication during the RFP process to help them decide.The designer's
portfolio should stand on its own and contain lots of magazine samples. Solicit
bids fromdesigners who specialize in publications.
two proposals—one for the redesign and another for the monthly design and
association publishers who need a publication redesign find that a larger firm
has the portfolio and track record they’re seeking. That can be a wise investment,
even though the initial cost is high. However, many associations continue to pay big bucks for the monthly
production. Once the redesign is complete, it may be more cost effective
to go with a smaller firm (or even a freelancer) for the month-to-month
production of regular issues. Be
sure to select an experienced publication designer to ensure the quality and
aesthetic of your new magazine is maintained.
a one-year contract agreement. If you know you have X
amount in the budget allocated for design services in a year’s time, ask for a
contract. This is a win-win. Often a contractor will reduce overall production
and design fees in exchange for the guaranteed work. A one-year contract is
fairly typical for magazine production.
for references—and call them. Personal references sell
the candidate.In addition to the cost and great design talent, consider
these other important factors: Is this person easy to work with? Is the
designer accessible throughout the stages of production process? Does the
candidate have a proven track record of meeting deadlines? Although the RFP gives
you an idea of cost and the scope of work, the only way to get a true sense of
the intangible elements is to contact thecandidates' references.
Lynn Riley is creative director at Lynn Riley Design, Inc. Lynn wrote this article in response to several questions about magazine redesign RFPs that appeared recently on the Association Media & Publishing member listserve.