Have you ever thought about hiring a graphic designer for your business? Like any time you think about outsourcing work, it can be a pretty daunting decision to make. There’s probably a lot of considerations that come to mind. Stuff like:
- Will it really save me time?
- Is this really something that is worth investing my money into?
- Can I trust someone from outside to do what’s right for my business?
Would a graphic designer really be able to understand what my business needs?
I’d love to just give you a straight, “Yes!” for all these questions. Unfortunately, the honest answer is: it depends. There are so many options out there that your experience hiring a graphic designer can vary widely. Hiring a design student, for example, will be very different from hiring a design agency.
So you’re going to have to do a little research. To help you, here are six tips from me so you can choose the right graphic designer to work with when it comes to your business’s design needs.
Check out their past work
Most graphic designers today will have an online portfolio where you can view examples of their previous projects (here’s mine, for example!). This gives you a good idea of their design style and you can begin to assess whether their aesthetic meshes with your own ideas.
Graphic design is obviously a very creative field. You could give 10 designers the same brief and receive 10 completely different outcomes. Taking a look at the kind of work they’ve produced in the past is a good starting point for finding a graphic designer who can create something in line with your expectations.
You also want to check for descriptions or case studies which explain the process behind the designer’s work. Design is about solving problems. There should be careful thought put into every design choice, so look for evidence of this. You don’t want to hire someone who simply puts a pretty, but ultimately superficial, facade on everything and leaves it at that.
See what kind of experience and education they have
Okay, so formal training is NOT everything, but there’s a lot to design beyond knowing how to work Photoshop and InDesign. People who have studied design should have a solid understanding of design theories and concept development which is a huge part of creating good work.
The number of years that a designer has worked is also not necessarily a great way to assess their skill, but it can be a good indicator of how well-equipped they are at dealing with any hurdles that can come with real-life projects. Often it’s through experience that people learn how to deal with deadlines, industry standards for print and web design, clients, and other business management processes. You want to be able to trust that the graphic designer you hire will know what they’re doing, no matter what difficulties might be thrown at them.
Speak to them directly
Get in touch with the designer you’re considering and take the time to get to know more about them and their design process. This is important for both you, and the designer. You can both assess whether you’ll be a good fit for each other, and how well your values and expectations align.
You want to find someone you can see yourself working with on a long-term basis. Ideally, the graphic designer you choose will become a part of your team; someone you can go back to time and time again when you need design work completed. They can become more familiar with your business, your values, and your target audience. With an in-depth knowledge of your brand, they’ll be able to suggest better and better possibilities for your design needs.
Rather than email, I definitely recommend speaking to the designer directly — over the phone or in person. Having a free-flowing conversation is a much better way to get to know one-another and quickly get on the same page.
Be clear about your goals
This is one of the things to cover when you speak to the designer. Let them know what your project is about and what you expect in terms of an ideal outcome. Be clear about who the target audience is, what your brand is all about, what kind of time-frame you have to work with, and any other details that are important to getting the project done. You want to establish your expectations early on so you can give the designer the full picture and minimise the possibility of confusion or misinterpretation.
The clearer the picture the designer has, the easier it will be for them to confirm things like:
- how much the project will cost
- how quickly they can produce the work
- what other details they might need from you in order to complete the project
Watch out for designers who leave things feeling vague. If you’ve provided clear goals and parameters about a project and the designer isn’t able to respond with specific details about how to move forward, it may be an indication that it won’t be a good fit.
If you’re finding the prospect of hiring a graphic designer particularly daunting, consider starting out with a smaller design project. Rather than starting out with, say, a full rebranding that will take weeks and cost a few thousand dollars, consider getting something like a newly designed flyer, or new business card designs. This will give you a chance to see how well you work together without making too much of an investment.
You can test out how easy it is to get in contact with the designer, how they respond to critique, and what their process looks like from start to finish.
Be realistic about your budget
Design isn’t a commodity. That is, not all designers are created equal, and the work you get from one designer isn’t going to be the same as what you get from another. You can’t just “shop around” based on price. So looking at your budget is going to be an important consideration when it comes to choosing the right graphic designer for you.
Although it might be an appealing idea to choose a designer who says they can work for you for next to nothing, but more often than not with design, you get what you pay for. Go through the above points and choose a graphic designer who works within your means, and will provide you the best possible service.
So those are my tips for how you can choose the right graphic designer for your business. And look, if you’re the type of business owner who finds it tough to let go of having complete control over every aspect of your business, than bringing in someone new — especially for something as important as the look of your brand — is always going to be an intimidating notion. But hiring professionals to take over things that you’re not an expert in is an important step in growing your business. So with that in mind, I hope these tips help you to find the perfect graphic designer for you!
What thoughts do you have about hiring a graphic designer?
Looking for more content? Try these:
- Should you hire a graphic designer for your small business?
- The value of a great logo and why logos are worth investing in
- When it’s time to rebrand – signs your brand needs reviving
- You need to do a brand audit, and here are the great reasons why
- How to improve and strengthen your branding
- Why logo templates can’t stand up to professionally-made, custom brand identities
- How a strong foundation will ensure an engaging, profitable brand
- A complete guide to creating a brand that perfectly suits your business