You have decided that you need to hire a graphic designer. Now what?!? There are so many choices and a huge price range. It's easy to get overwhelmed fast. Maybe you have had a bad experience in the past, or you are afraid of spending money and not getting what you need. Here are is a 5 step process to help you find the RIGHT designer for your project. (Cause let's be real: there are a lot of designers out there who aren't the right fit.)
01. Define your goals
The first step is to define your goals.
Dig deeper than the obvious. What do you really need?
You don't need just a website or just a logo. Are you looking for a better connection with your clients? Do you need more sales? Are you looking for packaging that fosters customer loyalty? Do you need to increase your conversion rates. It's easy to get caught up in wanting something pretty, or bold, or edgy. However, it is vital to start with your goals before you move on to the style. Define your goals, and then look for a designer who understands how to support those goals.
02. Balance Budget & Value
Now that you have an idea of your end goals for the project it's time to figure out a general budget. This gets a little tricky because you need to balance how much you can actually afford with the value of the service. Remember that you don't just want a pretty logo or website. Finding a designer who can support your end goals is often more expensive because it involves extra work and expertise.
I get it! Design services can be expensive. Plus, there are so many places to find cheap logos or design work. But what are they actually offering for that low quote? Is it mediocre work and no strategy? Often, that is what you get when you find the cheapest option. Will that help you reach your goals?
I'm not saying that you need to go into debt or hire the most expensive designer. Don't feel bad if you need to save up a bit before hiring the right designer. Don't get discouraged if you can't afford to work with the most popular design team in your niche. Get realistic with what you need and what you can afford to find a balance of budget and value.
03. Start a Conversation
Looking through portfolios will only tell you so much. By all means, check out websites and portfolios of the designers you are considering. But don't stop there! You want to work with a designer that is a good fit for your project and your communication style.
So, start a conversation! Talk to potential designers to make sure you are a good fit. Sending an email or meeting for a coffee chat/consultation (either virtually or in person) is a good way to get started. A brand or web design project in particular involves a lot of communication. Make sure you can work well together.
04. Ask Questions
Most of the time, when a graphic design project goes wrong it's because someone's expectations weren't met. Something wasn't communicated, or asked, and assumptions were made.
A lack of clarity can derail a project in no time flat.
So, ask questions before you sign a contract. (And by the way, actually read through your contract before you sign it. 😉)
Booking a branding project? Make sure that the file types you need are included. Will you be printing large banners? Do you need your logo on uniforms? Will you be printing menus? Are you only online? Start off by asking if your files will work for these applications.
Booking a website? Ask about maintenance, and how you will update your website content. What about ongoing costs? What do you need ready before you get started? Do you need to set up hosting or will the designer help you through that process? Asking questions at the beginning of the project will help things go smoothly and prevent unpleasant surprises.
05. Be Ready to Collaborate
It's time to get started! You have found a great designer, chatted about your goals, signed a contract & paid your deposit. Be open to the creative process, and willing to explore options with your designer. And keep those lines of communication open.
Also, give honest feedback (kind is nice, too!). If something feels off, speak up. Working collaboratively means finding a balance between letting your designer do their job, and feeling like you are well represented. Shifting your focus and feedback to the overall feeling of a design rather than zeroing in on moving this or changing that can be helpful. For example, instead of asking your designer to make a headline bold, let them know that it doesn't feel like it has enough emphasis. She just might have a trick or two up her sleeve besides just making it bold. 💡