Having a graphic designer at work-Graphic design is the way you introduce yourself to the world. It’s that all-important first impression. As Amy of Alpha Design & Marketing says, “if you were attending a job interview you wouldn’t wear jogging bottoms and a t-shirt as this would create a [bad] first impression… This is exactly the same as a logo design.”
You might have written the greatest piece of text in the history of text, but if it’s not presented well, you can forget about it. It’s competitive out there; for your company to stand out, you’ll need graphics which are original, striking, and relevant. And that means you can’t underestimate having a famous graphic designers.
How to find
Your graphic designer may be closer than you think. Business Insider reports, “Our experts agree that the best way to find a great designer is by word-of-mouth.” If you’ve got friends or family who can recommend a graphic designer, look into it. If the designer is local, it might be that you can meet face-to-face, maybe even work together. This can lead to a better understanding between contractor and client.
If you don’t have any graphic designer contacts, utilize some of the great online resources. Business Insider recommends checking out some of the more traditional platforms like AIGA or Coroflot. If you have exacting requirements, try posting a job description on a newer platform designed around the world of online content. Freelance platforms like Ebyline.com strictly review potential artists to ensure that only the most talented and professional graphic designers are accepted into their pool of vetted freelancers.
Research your needs
Knowing exactly what you want from a designer before approaching them is essential. Though freelance graphic designers are creatives, they don’t necessarily know what your individual needs are. What is it that you actually want designed? How do you want it to look? What’s its objective? Who’s already doing similar things?
If you want a new website, maybe you want a new logo to go with the look. If that’s the case, now might be the time to reevaluate any other marketing materials.
Perhaps your company already has brand guidelines in place, which you want your designer to work within. If, like Starbucks or Coca-Cola, there are already fixed color schemes/fonts/slogans, this will make your (and the designer’s) job easier.
Take a good look at the marketing material/websites of rival companies, or the ones you aspire to be like. If, for instance, you’re setting up a spoof news website, see how the likes of TheOnion.com, TheDailyMash.co.uk and NewsThump.com are designed. You’ll notice all of these are similar in their layout: clearly it’s a winning formula.
Checking out the competition also helps you decide what you don’t want. Maybe one of your competitors has recently received a deluge of critical feedback for a change it made to its branding or website (regularly-changing platforms like Facebook often get stick from their users). Take this on board and learn from the boo-boos of others.
Know what your budget is, and be sure you can stick to it. To get an idea of how much things cost, see what design jobs sell for on sites like Ebyline. Also remember not all jobs are the same. A logo might be completed within hours. A website or large scale marketing campaign could take weeks. Plan ahead!
It might be possible to get a discount if you agree on a bulk commission; get your company logo and website designed, and perhaps you can get an infographic thrown in for free. Work out a deal with your designer beforehand.
Ultimately, the more you know about what you want, the better job your graphic designer will make of it.
Choosing a designer
There’s no shortage of designers out there. According to the Department of Labor there have more than 300,000 working in the US over the last 5 years. But how do you find one who’s right for you? Just as you need to research the job you’re commissioning, so too do you need to research who the commission’s going to.
Firstly, is the graphic designer right for you? Initially, the most expedient way to judge this is to check out their portfolio. This will be on their personal website and/or a freelancing site. If a designer doesn’t have a portfolio, alarm bells should already be ringing. References and testimonials are worth looking into as well.
Even if a designer’s work is superb, make sure it’s relevant to the job you’re commissioning. It might be that they’re brilliant at doing logos, but not so hot on websites. Don’t be afraid to ask a designer questions, or even set up a Skype chat. Once you’ve had a conversation with your potential designer, you’ll be much clearer on their suitability.
What should a designer cost you? As FreelanceGraphicDesigner.info says, “Hourly rates can range anywhere from $25/hr for students and interns to $200/hr for seasoned art directors.” Anything more than that, and you might as well hire an agency. Make it known from the outset what your budget is. Make it known what your deadlines are too. The faster the turnaround you’re asking for, the more you’ll likely have to fork out.
Now that you’ve set your designer to work, give them space to do their thing, but also check up once in a while (particularly on longer projects). Sometimes it’s better to set milestones than one final looming deadline; it takes some of the pressure off you and the designer. Freelancing websites often make milestones standard practice.
When you review their work, ask yourself if your product is being sold the way you want it to; if it’s on brand, and if it’s a progressive leap from what you had before (assuming you had something before). Go back to that first question: Does it make an impeccable first impression?
Get feedback from a source other than yourself and the designer. There are some awesome resources for this, including PleaseCritiqueMe.com, where professional design critics offer their honest opinion of your site’s design for free. FiveSecondTest.com, ConceptFeedback.com and CritiquetheSite.com are well worth exploring too.
Don’t be stingy over getting it right. In the long run, it’s worth shelling out an extra few hundred dollars if it means the design work is going to attract a few hundred more clients or readers.