Customers are blitzed with imageries from thousands of businesses every day. In today’s market, you must become an eye catching, captivating, unique brand. It is crucially important that the designer you choose to partner with can convey and transform your company’s product, messages or services through creative visual design solutions that will ultimately make your business more appealing to your target market. In order to achieve this, you’ll need to partner with a great designer. Here are a few tips on what to look for when contracting a graphic designer.

You’ve Got Work to Do!

1. Starting a business, organization or movement requires a lot of time and dedication. If you are serious about the progression of your start-up, then you must first understand and know that you have work to do. It is crucially important for you, the client, to first decide what it is you need. If you’ve written a marketing plan, great! That plan will help you convey objectives/goals to your graphic designer. If you are unsure of what it is your need, don’t fret! This just means you’ve got to do some research my friend. This can be very overwhelming for some first time innovators and/or business owners. Discovering what you need can be as simple as making a list of your marketing goals both short term and long term goals.

Do Your Research

2. Outlining your needs will help narrow your search for a graphic design consultant. If you are not sure where to start, I always recommend starting by looking at your competitors and what they are doing. Who is their target market vs your own target market? What is or is not working well for them and why? This always helps to give ideas on how to approach your own marketing needs. What type of look or message would you like to convey? While you are researching, you may want to bookmark a few of your competitors’ websites to later pass on to your graphic designer. This is done to show your designer who your competitors are and what they are doing but not to copy them. You should never ask your designer to copy someone else. The goal is to be unique and highlight what makes you unlike from your competition. Besides, copying another company or organization’s branding won’t get you noticed. It just makes you look like your competitor and could in fact get them more notoriety! You most likely will run into some legal copyright issues as well.

Where should I look for a graphic designer?

3. You family and friends may be one of the greatest sources to find a graphic designer. Do you know that 92% of people trust word of mouth marketing? Check with your associates, family and friends to see if they know of someone they could recommend that fits your specific design needs. Of course, you can always search for a designer online but please be aware of crowd sourcing sites like Fiverr. These crowd sourcing sites will most likely not yield the type of results you need. Click here to find out why: Epic Tale of $5 Logo as Sacha Greif gives his encounter from a designer’s perspective. If you think it costs money for great design, wait until you hire an amateur and that’s exactly what you will likely find on crowd sourcing sites.

You’ve found a few designers you’re interested in working with

4. When looking to contract an independent graphic designer or agency, it is essential that you take a look that their work samples. Most designers, have samples of their work on their website. Does their design style match the type of style you are looking for? Do the pieces communicate well? You also need to keep in mind exactly what it is you need when hiring a designer. If you are looking to have a logo designed, for example then you may consider hiring a graphic designer that specializes in logo design. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their work. Portfolio-SampleGraphic designers want you to ask questions because this gives them a chance to become more acclimated with you, your business, and develop the client to designer relationship. What type of experience do they have? Do they have available references and testimonials? You most certainly want to check out their creative process, especially if this is your first time working with a designer. Knowing the creative process helps you to better understand and know the expectations on both sides because remember, you still have work to do. You have to provide your designer with your vision, and feedback to ensure that your brand message is properly conveyed. Finally, rate and time are important to consider. While rates may vary tremendously from designer to designer, I would personally say you shouldn’t expect to pay less than $50 a hour for professional design. Again, rates vary and this should only be used as a basis. Keep in mind that not all designers work on hourly rates, some like myself provide flat rates as well. The main thing when comparing rates is to understand the quality of work and customer service you are getting from each designer. You can’t have a $200 budget and expect a million dollar result– I’m just sayin’! Turnaround time is also of great importance to both you and the designer. The designer needs to know how soon you’ll need your project finished to ensure that he or she can fit it into their current design schedule and get it done on time. It is also important to you because like most entrepreneurs or business owners, you need your project completed as soon as possible. Keep in mind that if you’ve contacted a designer in need of a design to be completed within a pretty tight time frame, there will most likely be some additional fees associated with a rush job. The results of what graphic designers do may look great and simple in the end but contrary to popular belief, what graphic designers really do takes time and can be quite tedious. It is in your best interest to get your designer involved in the earlier stages of your project.

In Review

  1. Decide what you need and if you aren’t sure, write some ideas down during your research.
  2. Research your target market and your competitors. What is working for them and what is not?
  3. Start looking for a graphic designer that suites your specific design needs. Start by asking family and friends.
  4. Once you think you’ve found a few designers that you may want to work with, take a look at their work, creative process, testimonials and in some cases, you may be able to contact their past clients. You now have everything you need to make an educated decision on who you’d like to partner with.

As always, feel free to contact me or leave comments below
-B.Gard

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