Hiring a graphic designer can be a bit of a daunting task. Do they know what they’re doing? Will they provide what I’m looking for? How much do they cost? Can I afford them? What if our styles don’t match up?
The worries that may be going through your mind as you embark on your search for the perfect designer are completely valid, but don’t worry. I’m here to help you go through the steps to consider before signing a new designer onto your project. We’ll cover what you need to do first, what to look for, and how to take advantage of the free consultation calls most designers offer.
Before we start, let it be known that just like you, a designer is also wanting to make sure they are the right fit for your project. They want you to be happy, not only with the final project deliverables, but with the process along the way. That’s why it is so important to make sure you are compatible with the designer you choose. How do you do that? Well first, you have to know what it is YOU are looking for.
1. What is it you are looking for from a designer?
In order to make sure a designer can perform the work you need, you have to flesh out what exactly that work is. This seems pretty self explanatory, but it is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting a project off the ground, that you overlook the process of creating a brief for the designer you want to hire. Without a fleshed out project idea in mind, you run the risk of confusing your designer, delaying the launch, and having a poor experience: three things neither you nor your designer want to happen.
By taking the time to figure out what it is you need and what purpose that piece of collateral will serve, you greatly improve your chances of receiving a product that yields the results you want. This information gives the designer direction so they can create a piece for you that is visually appealing AND helps you reach your goals.
2. Does the work in their portfolio align with what you’re looking for?
Now that you have an idea of the type of work you want done and why you need it, let’s talk about what information you can gather from the designer. While most designers are capable of melding the work they produce to fit your preferences, they do tend to have a style they specialize/work within. So, in your search for the right designer it’s important to thoroughly explore their portfolio. Have they worked with brands that are in the same niche as you? Do they have work that resembles the kind of work you’ll be asking them to do? Does their featured work appeal to you visually?
These questions are not the only qualifiers for what makes a designer a good fit for you. In fact, there are plenty of designers who could be a great fit for you that don’t have work samples in their portfolio that perfectly align with what you’re looking for. The portfolio review merely serves as a means for narrowing your search.
3. What have other people said about working with this designer?
So, you’ve figured out what you want, you’ve seen what the designer can make, but you want to know what it’s like to actually work with them. Here’s where testimonials and reviews come into play.
Word of mouth marketing is a great tool for businesses, but it doesn’t just benefit them. When you hear from someone that they had a good experience with a brand, business, or even an individual, it gives you a leg up on what you can expect if you choose to hire them. By reviewing a designer’s testimonials, you get a peek into the minds of their previous clients which can help you decide if they’re right for you.
A selection of multiple different testimonials can let you know that a designer has experience working with different clients and that those clients were very happy with the services they received. While a lack of testimonials doesn’t mean the designer will be difficult to work with, seeing elated reviews can help give you the confidence you need to make a decision. If the designer you’re interested in working with doesn’t have any testimonials available on their site, it is worth reaching out to see if they will share some with you.
4. How much should you budget for this designer?
After you’ve figured out what you want and if the designer has shown they can produce something of that caliber, it’s time to explore price.
Working with a skilled graphic designer will land you with a product that not only looks beautiful but also delivers the results you want. While anyone can learn how to work the programs, effective visual communication requires strategy, theory, and more, many of which are gained through extensive training and experience. Because of this, it is important to budget in enough money for your specific design project. You can research the average pricing for the services you’re looking for to get an idea of what you should expect to pay.
More often than not, a designer’s price will reflect the quality of work you receive AS WELL AS the kind of experience you will have while working with them. Designers with a higher price tag tend to have more field experience and processes designed to make YOUR experience working with them an enjoyable one.
Look for a designer that is within your budget, but consider creating some wiggle room in case you find a designer you like that is a little out of your price range. Also note, that many designers offer payment plans and schedules, allowing you to break up the total cost into more manageable chunks. If you can’t find information on whether or not a designer offers payment plans, it could be worth reaching out to them to find out. Which brings us to our fifth and final point.
5. Do they offer a consultation call?
You’ve explored everything you can about a designer through their website, social media, and testimonials, but still have some questions and reservations. A consultation call is the perfect opportunity to get whatever answers you might need to make your final decision.
As I said before, just like you, a designer wants to make sure that the two of you are a good fit for your project. Most designers will often offer a free consultation call. If they don’t explicitly offer one, it is worth asking for. This call will give you the opportunity to ask whatever outstanding questions you might have and voice any concerns that have been holding you back. Designers want to help you be successful with your project and they understand that concerns are normal. They want to provide you with clarity and make you feel comfortable selecting them to bring your project to life.
During your consultation call, it is also a good idea to discuss how the both of you will communicate throughout the project (e.g. when to expect responses, what channels are appropriate to communicate through, etc.). This information can also help you determine if this designer will be a good fit. If they are only available on the weekends, but you are not, that could cause delays and potential frustrations down the line. Making sure you can align with your designer on communication will further the likelihood that you have a good experience as the two of you complete your project.
Choosing a designer is a big step, but it is one that will undoubtedly take your project to the next level. By downloading this guide, you’ve already proven that you’re ready to take the next step. Hopefully, now you feel confident enough to do so. Remember: you AND your designer want the working relationship to be successful. The time you put into finding the right designer in the beginning will be well worth it for the results you will receive by the end.