If only there was a tinder to connect designer and client. There’s thousands of designers, and thousands of design jobs that need doing, so how do you go about finding the perfect graphic designer for your small business?
Here’s some ideas to get you started on the path to the perfect fit.
5 things to ask yourself, 5 places to begin the search and 5 things to ask the shortlist.
Before you begin, arm yourself with a bit of knowledge about your own style of working and what you are looking for. Things to ask yourself:
1. What is my budget
Doing a new brand, visual identity, logo design or website is a bit like putting in a new kitchen. You need someone to guide you but there are many options along the way that can make a big difference to the overall cost. Have an idea in mind of what you would like to invest at this point in time on your businesses visual presence. That way you can quickly cut to the quick with some ballpark costs and see whether you are in a good price bracket fit with the designer you are keen on. No designer will like to quote off the cuff, it takes time and thought to give a proper estimate, however many will be able to give you ballparks of what some previous jobs cost, or what a standard job might look like and cost, without too much drama.
2. Do I prefer to work with a team or a single person
There’s pros and cons here. When a single person gets sick, or has a bottleneck of work, there is only one person to handle it, whereas a team may be more reliable overall. However, if you’re working with a team, you’re not really 100% sure the person you talked to at the beginning is going to be the one doing the designs.
3. Do I prefer to meet in person or is remote okay?
Are you a talker or a writer? Is it important that your designer come to see your factory, your home, your office, or can you work via skype and the wonderful internet. For example – I’m based in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and I have clients all over the world, as well as locally. For some of my local clients it is really important that I see their workspace, meet their staff, touch the product, and we meet in person regularly. For some of my clients skype and email is enough, and the different time zone and currency often works in their favour (thanks to the Australian dollar!). Nothing like sending a brief before you go to bed and waking up to some shiny new designs to look at.
4. Is the subtlety of language and culture important to my brand, do I need someone who ‘get’s the language and nuances of my niche?
Some designers will cut and paste whatever you give them, and some will read the text and use their design skills to really make the content sing – pulling out important pieces, highlighting when something doesn’t make sense and going the extra mile to communicate your message through all of the design avenues available to them. Is this important to your brand?
5. Timeframe – do you have a deadline that you need to hit?
This may become an important factor in your selection, and if it’s a concrete deadline best to communicate it right at the beginning.
Right – now you are ready to start looking. Some ideas on where to start:
1. Word of mouth.
Ask your friends, partner, colleagues, you’d be surprised how effective this is. Someone always seems to know a designer…
2. Other designs you have seen that you like.
If you see a packaging design, an EDM, a website, a business card that you think looks great – ask the business who did their design.
3. Google – probably not the most effective way, but if you narrow down your search terms you might get closer to finding a good fit.
For example, if you decided location was important to you, and you wanted a designer in Sydney – be as specific as possible with your search (eg health and wellbeing brands graphic design Sydney eastern suburbs). Not just Sydney graphic designer.
4. Behance, pinterest, instagram.
All of these are visual mediums showcasing, among other things, a lot of design work. You’re likely to see something you like – and then see point 2 – get in touch!
If a website is what you are after, definitely check out awwwards – if nothing else, it will get you inspired about what is possible for your site, and it also has a handy directory of web designers and developers.
By now you will have a short list. Yesterday one of my clients asked me these questions, which I thought were a fantastic way of getting to know me a bit better and seeing if we would be a good fit working together. Have a look at what you found important from the first list, and then consider asking the shortlisted designers or agencies:
1. What do people most like about working with you?
2. Why do your clients choose you over the competition?
3. Do you outsource any of the work or do you do it all yourself?
4. Do you maintain the sites you’ve designed after the site launches? If so, what does that entail? If not, what do you recommend?
5. How do you handle a client if they’re not happy with the work, e.g. don’t love the designs?
Good luck in your quest!
the barefoot designer