Have you ever had a project that you need a little help with? Perhaps you’ve tried to design your own social media advert; but it hasn’t quite had the right impact you were imagining it would. Or, maybe you tried to design your own logo. It’s much harder than it looks isn’t it?
That’s where hiring a graphic designer is essential! But if you’ve never hired a designer before, how do you know where to start? I’m here to walk you through what to expect when hiring a graphic designer.
Finding the right designer
The first thing to think about, is what kind of design you’re looking for. Is it mainly a web project? Help with print materials / advertising? A complete overhaul of your brand and logo? A mixture of materials? Knowing this can help you search and find the right person to complete your project. Finding a designer with a range of skills who can deliver designs across a variety of materials can be a real cost saver. Alternatively, finding someone who is a specialist in one area can bring more focus and expertise to that part of the project.
Once you’ve found the designer you want to work with; checked out their references and looked at their previous work, it’s time to get in contact. They’ll need to know all about your project, so let them know some details when you contact them. More often than not, the designer will get in touch with you. They might send you a questionnaire or set up a briefing call. This helps them understand the details of your project; such as timescales, your intentions for the brand, any limitations or preferences so that they know where to begin. Image references of the sort of things you’re looking for or any competitor designs are also really helpful at this stage. This helps the designer better understand how to position your brand and make it stand out from the crowd.
Timing is everything
I know, the design needed to be completed last week. But good design needs time and skill; allowing your designer time will give you a better result that is worth the wait. Don’t forget, we are running a business and are often handling several clients and projects alongside each other. It helps to think ahead. Establishing dates that you’re available to review can give the designer helpful milestones to deliver drafts.
Ahh, the money question! I am asked about this a lot. Cost has a lot to do with hours spent on the project. A designer will charge what they think their time is worth. This is also where a good brief and timescales will help as the designer is able to provide a more accurate quote.
It’s always good to remember, that although you may be able to get that logo knocked up on a template website for a fiver; a good designer has spent years and often a substantial cost on education, training and experience to have the ability to create what you’re hiring them for. The more experienced graphic designers are often able to raise the cost for their time as their experience has given them the ability to work quickly or at a higher level.
If you’re on a budget. One idea is to let your designer know what your budget is up front. That way, they can quickly tell you if they are able to help and what they are able to deliver to you for that price. Alternatively, try a placeholder design or theme for now until you’re ready to take your brand up a level. This can be a great way for the designer to get a better understanding of what kind of look and feel you’re going for and make it even better.
Please ask us questions! I know, we can be an intimidating bunch at times when we start talking about pixels, pantone and kerning, but we also like to be transparent and make the whole process easier. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
“Is there a way we can bring the cost down?”
Never feel afraid to ask about cost. We always prefer this. Obviously, we need to cover our own time and expenses and be able to eat and that kind of stuff, but we do want to help you. The worst that can happen is that we can say no. Remember, it takes us time and effort to carefully put together a cost estimate for you. We’d much rather you told us how we can change it. That way, we can work on changing the parameters or the scope of the project to fit your budget.
“What else can you do?”
If you’ve picked a designer because of their excellent examples of logo design but you also need a brochure creating. Ask them if they can do that too. 9 times out of 10 your logo designer will also have skills in other areas of design and if they don’t, you’re giving them a great chance to hone those skills and add another discipline to their belt.
“How do you prefer to communicate?”
I think this one is always overlooked. Preferences for communication methods can differ from person to person and I don’t think there is a right or wrong. While phone calls or emails might be right for one person they might be distracting for another and decrease their productivity. So, always check and let the designer know what your preference is too. If you prefer phone calls but they make the designer lose focus, particularly if they’re handling several clients, you could compromise by scheduling a time to call beforehand.
“Can you change the design?”
Design is subjective and changes are usually always necessary. Our goal is for you to be happy and satisfied with the design and for your audience to be even more thrilled. If it’s not quite what you were expecting, tell us! Most designers usually add parameters in their quotes to allow for changes. This might be 1 or 2 hours worth of changes. We do this, not because we hate amending the design, but because without boundaries some projects can end up going on for a long time and costing us more time than we first envisaged.