With the rise of self-employment, freelancers and side hustlers wanting to take their business to the next level, there are a few common questions they all ask:
How do I find a web/graphic designer?
What do I look for in hiring a web/graphic designer?
Where do I find a web or graphic designer?
Let me share a little secret with you.
Well actually it’s less of a secret, but more of a simple list of things you should ask yourself and what you should look for if you ever find yourself asking the questions above. So, today I wanted to give you a heads up into how to find the right designer for your project.
Hopefully, after reading this post, you will walk away feeling calculated and confident about your next steps.
1 | Know what you want
Before you start googling or asking around in facebook groups, it's important that you know what you want so that it is easier to find what you are looking for. Sounds simple, right? But trust me, a lot of small business owners tend not to know what they want and then end up wasting their time and money to try and get what they need from a designer.
Think about what the actual task is that you need help with:
Do you need help with setting up your website or just designing a website? or both?
Did you want someone to design a logo? Or do you need a whole brand design (logo plus variations, colours, and fonts that you can use in all areas of your business to stay consistent)?
Did you want help with marketing and making your print collateral, flyers and poster look professional? Or did you just need some social media header graphics?
Determining what your project is and understanding what you need to have designed will help you stay focused on the project.
2 | Work out what you are looking for
Once you know what you want, and you have done your research, it's time to find the right type of designer for your project.
A designer whose primary focus is print design may not be able to design a website as the discipline is different. Although the boundaries can become blurry, and designers do tend to cross “borders”, but you will need to ensure they are capable of delivering the tasks you require.
You may find for example, that you are after a new website, but the designer will does not code/create the website. In this instance they may have someone who they collaborate with which could do the website development for you, alternatively, they may provide you with the design files for you to then supply to your own developer.
It’s always a good idea to ask about every stage of what the designer will do.
Will they hand the files over at the end of the design phase? What files will you receive?
Do they create the website?
Do they provide the final print ready PDF files?
It is definitely worth finding out what final deliverable you would receive once the project ends.
3 | Determine a budget
This is a biggie. As a small business owner, finance can sometimes be tight. Generally speaking it is always a good idea to have a realistic budget in mind. You may find that once you start doing research on finding a designer there is no industry standard, or that more experienced designers come with a higher investment. A few things to keep in mind…
Being upfront about your budget will help both parties to discuss what is/isn’t doable within budget.
Some designers will provide an estimate - it worth asking what happens if the project goes over estimate? - Do they charge hourly? What is the hourly amount?
Does the designer offer a payment plan?
Does the designer have packages?
4 | Check to see if they have a portfolio
Designers tend to share their work on their own website or portfolio, or on a third party platform like Dribbble or Behance. Its is always a good idea to see what their work is like and if they have something they can show you.
This will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of style, and to some extent quality.
Not everyone has a designer eye so it maybe difficult to understand what to look for when looking through a designers portfolio.
Depending on your project ask if they have any examples of anything similar. Ie. Do they have any examples of websites they have designed? Or brands they have created?
5 | Read their "About" page
Don’t assume you will naturally “click” with a designer. Make sure you check out their About page on their website to see if their personality shines through - Everyone has a personality!
You want to see if it will be easy to communicate with the designer - see if they offer to have a consultation to talk about the project in more detail. You will be able to get a good idea of their personality through a call rather than a PM or email.
You want to be able to feel like you can trust the designer
Are they helpful or do they go the extra mile to provide you with information?
6 | Testimonials or kind words
Testimonials are always a great way to see what previous clients have said. You want to know if the designer you are researching is trustworthy. Does the designer have any testimonials on their website? Is the testimonial informative? If you really want reassurance you can always send one of their previous clients a message to quickly ask them what they thought of their experience with the designer.
Does the testimonial reveal anything about the designers process? Is there a process?
Is there any indication on what the benefits of hiring the designer are?
7 | Timelines and availability
Some designers are booked out months in advance, others maybe weeks. It is always a good idea to ask what their availability is and also have in mind a realistic deadline.
It isn’t always a bad thing if the designer you want to work with is currently booked out, there may be some background research, homework or preparation that you will need to do before the designer can start on the project.
Ask the designer is there is anything they need from you in order to start the project? - This may reveal more than you know.
Ask how long they estimate the project will take.
It’s always a good idea to be transparent about if you/they will be unavailable during any point of the project timeline. Ie. If either of you are going on holiday it's best to mention this in advance so that this time can be accounted for.
I hope you find this breakdown useful and it helps you find the right designer for your project. If you are looking to hire a brand and website designer, don’t forget to take a look at my portfolio, and see the packages I have to offer, or just get in touch to have a free consultation about how we can work together.
Have you hired a designer in the past? What questions did you ask them? What was your experience like?