Rochelle Weiner Carr - 01/16/2011 - Creative Process

Are you in the market to hire a graphic designer but are lost as to where to start? If you don't have connections in the industry this might seem an overwhelming task - but it doesn't have to be. Hiring a designer is like hiring any other professional. Here are some pointers to help you choose the right person:

Ask around.

Get recommendations from friends or companies who have branding collaterals that you admire. Ask them if they would recommend their designer and why.

Do a web search.

If you don't have any resources, turn to the internet. Even if you did get a recommendation, you should still check this person out a bit. Some pointers:

  1. Social media – always check a designer’s web presence. Their LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, etc. Do a google search. Make sure this person is professional and  presenting themselves well.
  2. Website or online portfolio – these days any designer worth their salt will be able to send you to their website or online portfolio to get a look at what they’ve done for other clients. If they don’t have a website they should at least be able to send you a pdf of some sample work. If they are not able to do any of this for you, I would doubt their seriousness, as well as their experience.
  3. Look for someone near you. It’s not essential, but especially for those who are new to working with a  designer, it can be advantageous to work with someone you can actually meet in person.

Review their work.

Really have a good look at their previous work. Does their style appeal to you? Are you intrigued or excited by any work that they’ve done previously? Does it inspire ideas in you about your own project? This is a good sign. If you look at their work and think ”huh?"... keep looking.

Evaluate their professionalism.

  1. Do they use a contract and/or other types of professional paperwork?
  2. Do they keep their appointments?
  3. Do they return your communications in a timely manner?
  4. Do you like the brand that they created for their own company?

Ask for references, and follow up.

Questions you should ask when you call:

  1. What was the project you worked on with this designer, and when was that?
  2. What was the designer’s strength?
  3. What was the designer’s weakness?
  4. Were they reliable and timely?
  5. Would you work with them again?
  6. Did you find their pricing reasonable? Did their pricing change from the beginning of the project to the end and if so, what was the reason?

Hiring a designer is like hiring any other professional. Don’t let the fact that they work in the arts sway you from holding them to reasonable expectations as a client. Even an artsy person can be on time, on budget and responsible to you as the client and to the project as a whole.

Good luck!

Note - worried you hired the wrong designer? Here are some tips.

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