MemberMarch 15, 2022 at 7:27 pm
It’s vital for you to work with a graphic designer who can help you make your mark with an identity that looks smart, engages your audience and drives them to act. So the following are a few criteria you would want to look for while hiring a graphic designer:-
1. Experience. Look for diverse work experience. Many designers who have worked in ad agencies or design studios usually have served a variety of clients and are generally efficient with their time. Those who worked with in-house corporate communications teams have likely developed skills across more disciplines and are more sensitive to budgetary constraints. If you can find one person with both histories, then you’ll have the best that each can offer.
2. Portfolio. Look deeper into their online portfolio. If they show a small sampling of work, that might be an indication of inexperience. Look for graphic designers who present a broad variety of work for a wide range of industries. See if they’ve done work for businesses similar to yours and how their strengths align with your immediate and long-term needs. If you’re looking for advertising help, but see mostly logos, they might not be the right fit. If you’re in a high-tech industry, a designer who focuses primarily on retail clients might not understand your audience or be able to handle a learning curve.
3. Industry Expertise. How does the graphic designer think? Do they have a blog? Are they active in social media? What does their LinkedIn profile look like? Do they use these media to focus only on showing samples of their work, or do they offer helpful advice and tips? If they have a blog and you find yourself learning from them, then they likely offer more bang for your buck.
4. Client Testimonials. Nothing does more for any business than the words of others. The same thing applies to graphic designers. If they have a web page of testimonials, it tells you that their customers are satisfied and willing to go on record saying so. But, look closely at the types of comments, too. Are they all the same, or do they offer insights into the relationships they’ve had? Consider contacting some of their clients and asking them about their experience working with the designer.
5. Setting Expectations. Understand how your business fits into the client roster of the graphic designer. Can you be confident that you’ll receive the same level of attention that other clients get? That’s a direct question you should ask any candidate. You need to state your expectations clearly and up front. Listen for signs of over-promising.
6. Accessibility. If you’re hiring a local graphic designer, they should want to meet you face-to-face to discuss your needs. And you should, as well. A lot can be learned from engaging in a conversation that goes deeper than the project at hand. A strategic relationship is critical to the success of any communications effort. And understanding you, your product or service, audience, industry and competition is vital. Furthermore, reflecting your attitude, personality and style in the work are not only entirely appropriate, but it also brings to you real ownership. This requires a relationship of accessibility, open and honest communications and, sometimes, proximity.
7. Value vs. Billing Rates. Take the time to research what professional graphic design services cost and determine a realistic budget before you contact anyone. (Round numbers are fine.) Understand and appreciate the true value of the services you’re looking to buy. Be sure to maintain the right perspective when evaluating fees. Most people don’t hesitate to pay the furnace repairman or auto mechanic $90.00/hour. Yet, nobody can argue that the public face of your business is less important.
While you might find that less-experienced graphic designers charge lower rates, some tend to work slower and might require more hand-holding and direction. That means more of your time spent. Experienced designers charge higher hourly rates, but typically need less direction, work efficiently and are more attuned to best practices. They also tend to have relationships with industry experts, vendors, etc. and can help you find the right resources to complete the job. Finding the cheapest designer might have some appeal. But, you could actually end up paying more through your time spent or in revisions. Their billing rate has to be weighed with other factors. Avoid those who undervalue their services or offer deep discounts to get your business.
8. The Bigger Picture. When interviewing candidates, take notice of how they view your needs. Are they thinking along a project-by-project path, or do they want to understand the bigger picture of how it all fits into your business goals? The designer who looks beyond individual projects is likely better suited to provide holistic advice that fits your bigger picture. Certain projects might be approached differently if there’s a larger objective to be met.
9. Remain Open to Advice. An experienced graphic designer has likely been there, done that, and may offer advice that could cause you to reconsider some of your own ideas. This is a good thing! Look for a designer who is willing to respectfully challenge your thinking. And be open to it. If you tell them, “I know exactly what I want. I just need someone to put it together,” you might just get exactly what you want. But, it might not be what you really need. Remember, it’s also in the best interests of the graphic designer that the project succeeds.
10. Look for Skills beyond Their Core Discipline. Ask the designer about their skills and experience. Do they simply rattle off a list of projects, or do they discuss responsibilities and results? Look for genuine passion in what they do. Inquire about specific clients or projects you saw on their website and what role they played. Find out who they work with and what they offer beyond their primary discipline. For example, some designers are also good writers. But, nobody can do it all. They likely work within a network of experts, including web developers, printers and photographers.
Evaluate how the candidate engages you about your business, market and audience prior to discussing your project. They should want to understand your challenges and long-term vision, which will put them in a better position to provide sound recommendations.
If this is new territory for you, there’s nothing wrong with letting them know. The true creative professional is the one who is willing to help you along because they know it will make things run smoothly and benefit everyone in the long run.