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How to hire the right freelance graphic designer.

Updated on August 1, 2012

Less is more!

Finding the one.

Hiring the right freelance graphic designer can be tricky. However, finding a designer who matches your style is easier than you may think. Before we begin, let's remember that good design is subjective. Hopefully you see some of the humor in the images posted at the right! (If you don't, that could be irony.)

First and foremost, choose your designer on style quality first, not price. Shopping for a designer isn't like getting the best deal on laundry soap. You wouldn't go to JoeBob's Boots if you only wore sneakers, right?

Take the same approach when choosing your designer. If the one you like is outside of your budget keep looking, but learn early on what you like, and dislike. A close friend of mine whom I went to design school with has a completely opposite design style. One day he asked me if I thought his work was "bad". Not at all, I answered - your clients might think MY work is bad.. we just have opposite styles, and opposite clientele.

I come from the land of corporate, and he comes from the land of fun and music. Not that some of my work isn't fun and music! But we approach it differently. Art really is subjective.

Next, does your designer give a free consultation? Take advantage of it. Decide early on what you want in a designer. Do you want someone who will help with every piece of content (then you're most likely looking for an agency, or someone who provides marketing services in addition to design). Do you want someone who will give your business an identity? Be sure your designer has done branding projects (not just a logo here and there!).

Are you looking to save money, while you already know almost exactly what you want, and simply need someone to execute it? This could be a good project for a student, or a Jr. designer. Often students use a freelance opportunity to learn - this could go either way for you, so be aware of the risk.

Do you want someone to toss ideas around with and come up with an entire ad campaign? In that case you need a seasoned design and marketing professional who understands all arms of advertising from old-school to new media. What works for one does not work for all. Sometimes a TV or Radio campaign does work - and sometimes good SEO and a great website will work. Some may need a combination of google and social media ads.

There is much to consider when hiring a graphic designer. Take these steps and you'll find one who's a perfect fit for your project:

  1. Choose a designer whose style you already like (ie. don't hire a magazine expert if you're doing a comic book!)
  2. Decide early on what level of commitment YOU are willing to give to your project - believe it or not some clients get upset when they're asked to provide content.
  3. Remember that your designer does not have a crystal ball - we need to know the true scope of your project to quote it accurately. We may have a magic wand - but that's only thanks to Photoshop. (Again, no crystal ball - only magic wand.)
  4. Do some research on price and remember that you do get what you pay for. There's a comfortable middle ground that exists in pricing - one where the client feels like they got everything they paid for and more - and the designer feels respected and eager to assist. This is right where you want to land.
  5. BE HONEST. If your designer produces and you literally dislike everything presented, just be honest - while choosing your words carefully of course. Remember that we do this for a living and not every design we create is a perfect home run every single time. Granted - those are the good days - but really, we don't know know what we don't know. But we DO want happy customers who LOVE our work.
  6. Do your homework and ask lots of questions.
  7. Choose a designer who loves what they do - it will come through in their work!

Follow these easy suggestions and soon, you'll be well on your way to having your very own designer!


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