On several different occasions, I got asked on tips on how to hire a graphic designer to ensure a happy working relationship and awesome end-project result. So I thought I would come up with a list of 5 things that I feel are important. There are a lot of lists out there by other studios and designers, but these are the 5 that I feel are the most important.
Without seeing this portfolio, it’s just all talk. If you like what you see, chances are you’ll like what he/she will design for you. The imagery should be memorable as well as appropriate for each project. During review of the portfolio, the designer should also be able to clearly articulate the goal of each piece and how it reached its audience. Good design communicates and motivates; it is not just there because ‘it looks pretty’.
2. DESIGN PROCESS
The key to a great design project is a thorough and comprehensive design process. A logo or website designed exclusively for your business cannot be developed in 24 hours! Trust me. If someone tries to convince you that he/she can, chances are he/she is lying and mostly likely using template designs. Using template designs is like eating canned food or fast food. If you want the end result of your design project to be like a gourmet meal, you got to let the designer to have time to simmer/boil the designs to bring the flavour out. Make sure the designer you choose has a defined design process which will include a questionnaire/interview, research, inspiration mood boards and reviews.
It goes without saying, communication is vital to any good relationship. I know, you’ve all heard this line before….but it’s true, and it also applies when you are about to hire a graphic designer. During the initial consultation, does the designer truly understand the vision of your business? If he/she doesn’t understand it at this initial stage, he/she is not going to be able to translate your design needs visually, which will result in endless rounds of revisions and crazy amount of frustration for both of you!
Also, during the early stages, does your designer communicate clearly and in an efficient manner when he/she gives you the proposal or estimate? Does he/she respond in a timely manner via email/phone calls? During the design process, the designer should also be sending you updates from time to time, so you are not left in the dark and get surprised with a design solution that is totally opposite of what you want. How well the designer communicates will directly affect your design process and end-result.
This is a huge one for me. We all get along with certain types of people better than others. Make sure the designer is someone that is similar to you. I’m not saying you have to feel like you two are soul mates, but make sure there is a strong connection. How the designer dress and speaks will give you a lot of clues if you two will hit it off. A lot of my clients have turned into my friends after we finish the initial projects. When you connect with your designer on a personal level, the design process will be a lot more fun and it will be evident in the end results.
It’s like a dating process really….
Go for coffee with your potential designer. Find out who they are behind their website portfolios, facebook and twitter accounts. If your designer is anything like me, I practically live in coffee shops and love to chat over almond croissants and skinny lattes. Before I start any new project, I make sure that I connect well with my potential clients. I don’t take on any random projects that come my way to ensure that the project is a good fit, and that both the client and I will be happy working on the project together.
Finally, the one criteria that is paramount to choosing a designer is their level of integrity and passion. A dedicated designer’s #1 priority is to create a design solution (i.e. logo, website, etc) that accurately and authentically represents you and your business. A good designer is not just there to design things that makes him/her happy. A good designer would be willing to go that extra mile to make sure you are truly happy and satisfied with the end result. Or else you could have just as easily bought some random stock photos or clip art.
Finding the right designer can take some time. Don’t be afraid to take that time. Again, it’s like a dating process. Don’t feel like you have to work with the first designer that you meet with. Ask your friends and colleagues. Chances are someone you know will know someone that is a graphic designer. There are a lot of us out there! And when you find someone that is a great match for you and your business, the whole design process will be more enjoyable and effortless.