Getting quotes and choosing a supplier

Before you start

  • Talk to your faculty or institute marketing team or Communications. Something similar may already exist or be planned, or you might decide to commission work jointly.
  • Permission? Make sure you have permission for any film or photoshoots you’re planning. You’ll find some of the contacts for filming on campus in working with your supplier .
  • University standards and guidance – familiarise yourself with any standards relevant to your project, such as our visual identity and style guide. Guidance about specific things (eg running a photoshoot) is in the relevant section of this site. Our approved suppliers are aware of our visual identity specifications.

Getting a quote and briefing suppliers

Use our supplier briefing tool whatever size of job you’re commissioning.

Getting the results you want starts with a strong brief. Our supplier briefing form helps you create this. It captures the requirements of your project and prompts you about all the things you need to consider. All suppliers on our creative, design and video framework will expect it.

Using the supplier briefing tool also gives you reassurance, as the Communications Production team checks each form submitted before sending it to suppliers.

Once you’ve submitted your briefing form make sure you or colleagues are available to answer any questions from suppliers.

Direct approach or tender exercise?

The cost of your job determines whether suppliers must tender for the work:

  • Up to £2,000 (excluding VAT) – you can offer your job directly to one of our approved suppliers. Fill in and submit the supplier briefing tool. The Communications Production team will review it and email you back with the relevant suppliers. Submit the briefing form even if you know which supplier you plan to use.
  • £2,001–£25,000 (excluding VAT) – our Communications Production team reviews your completed supplier briefing tool and sends it to the most suitable suppliers. The suppliers then decide whether to pitch for the work and explain their reasons if they decline. Read ‘Choosing a supplier’ below.
  • More than £25,001 (excluding VAT) – your job must legally go through a different tendering process. Contact Ben Waters in Purchasing.

Your requirements

Clear requirements will save you time in the long run and help you get the results you want.

Before you input into the briefing tool, think about:

  • Audience – who are you communicating with?
  • Aim – what do your want the communication to achieve?
  • Messages – what do you want your audience to think, feel or do afterwards?
  • Channels – where will you share your communication (eg Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, plasma screen)? This could affect which formats you need from the supplier.
  • Deadlines – make sure you’re clear about the end delivery date and the key deadlines before this.
  • Scope – does the job need to work with existing products (eg publications, website) or a design? Might you need related work in the near future (eg digital assets)?
  • Budget – include at least an indicative budget, so suppliers can assess their suitability for the work.
  • Basic quote or more detailed approach? State what kind of response you expect.
  • Options – You may want to ask for different pricing options, eg one that meets the requirements of the brief but is under budget, and the other explaining what could be offered if the full budget was spent and the benefits this would bring.
  • Detail – include as much detail as possible. Costs can increase when suppliers have to make assumptions.

If printing is part of your job

  • Book in your requirements with the University’s Print and Mail Service (formerly Print and Copy Bureau) or check if your supplier will do that for you. All printing must go through the Print and Mail Service (they manage the University’s printing supplier framework). Your chosen supplier should already be aware of this.
  • You will need a print-ready PDF from your supplier. Your signed-off final proof is not high enough quality for printing.
  • All printed materials which contain course or fee information must include the University legal disclaimer. Ask your faculty marketing team or central marketing team for the most recent version.
  • Our suppliers have agreed in their contract to store your completed artwork securely and to retrieve it for you free of charge. If you want to store your finished artwork it should be provided to you as a Packaged InDesign file.

Choosing a supplier

If more than one company has pitched for your job, you will need to select your chosen supplier.

The suppliers’ responses to your brief and examples of their previous work should give you enough evidence to decide. It’s ok to ask contact a supplier to ask for clarification or to discuss their approach. Speaking to them might help you decide who you feel best understands what you want to achieve.

Don’t ask for free creative work as part of the pitch. Suppliers have already proved the standard of their work in the selection process. If you want them to produce creative work as part of the pitch, you’ll need to allocate budget for this.

For larger, more complex or higher-cost jobs, you might want to include a second stage in the selection process, where you shortlist up to three suppliers and meet them to discuss their approach and experience in more detail.

Once you’ve chosen a supplier, tell the others who pitched that they were unsuccessful.

Advice and support

We’re here to help. If you need advice about selecting a supplier or the framework, contact