Over the last few weeks, we've talked about how you can work with a designer for your business and why you should hire a designer. So now that you know you need a designer, and you know what you want to hire them for, you need to know if its a good fit before you start working together. But what exactly makes it a good fit? And how do you know? Choosing a designer to work with can be a daunting task, especially when there are hundreds of designers you could potentially hire. As a designer myself, these are some of the qualities I believe are important for a professional working relationship, as well as a list of questions you can ask a designer to know if they are right for you.
Communication + professionalism
Communication between you and your designer is key when they are trying to translate you and your vision into a design. A good designer will ask you the tough questions, dig deep, and get to know you and your business as best they can. On top of that, they will also respond quickly and efficiently to your emails and project. You want someone who will be on top of deadlines and stay on track with your project. If they are slow to respond in the beginning, they may be slow to respond during your project too.
You want to hire a designer who is clear and professional in their communication and process. One you get in to conversation with them, you should be able to tell this based on how they communicate with you and what they say.
Experience + creativity
Hiring someone you know to do your graphic designs just because they are a designer won't get you very far. It is important to take into consideration the experience of the designer and how they can really help you with your needs. You also want to think about their design style and if it relates to yours. If they are an experienced designer, they will be able to talk with you, understand what you want and need, and create a solution for you. Someone who is just starting out may not have the experience needed to know and understand all of these things, as well as how to translate it into design. A good designer is someone who is creative in their design and in their function. Graphic design for a business has to do more than jut look pretty, it has to explain the message, sell the product, or attract the right audience.
This one is more a matter of opinion, but you should also take into account their personality and how it meshes with yours. If you click instantly, you know you have a good match, but if you just don't like the person you probably shouldn't work with them. If there is any tension in the relationship, it will only cause a strain on the process and could end badly for both parties.
Questions you should ask
Most professional designers will have these questions answered on their website or will automatically answer them in conversations you have about their process or work. But if you find yourself in a situation where you are hiring a designer and want to get all the information you can, this list of questions will help you make a more informed decision before signing on the dotted line.
- How long have you been in business?
- What is your specialty?
- What kinds of projects or clients do you stay away from?
- What do people most like about working with you?
- Why do your clients choose you over the competition?
- Do you have a portfolio?
- What is your turnaround time?
- Do you require a contract?
- What are your payment terms?
- Do you outsource the work or do you do it all yourself?
- What happens if your customers aren't happy with the work you provided?
- What happens if you or your customer want to cancel midway through the project?
- How many revisions do you allow before you charge per revision?
- Who owns the creative work?
- What is included in the package/pricing?
- What information am I required to provide?
- Do you maintain the sites you've designed after the site launches? If so, what does that entail?
- Do I have the rights to re-use the graphics on other projects or websites? If yes, is there a fee?
- What file formats will I receive?
- Do I get all my brand information (fonts used, color palette, etc?
- Do you require a site credit?
- What happens after the project is done?
Almost any designer I have talked to says that they would rather not work with someone if it just isn't a good fit. Even though we are in business to make money, sometimes the relationship is more important than the sale. As designers we want to make sure that we can deliver the best design for you and meet your needs. We want both parties involved to be happy with the process. Checking these boxes and asking these questions will help you ensure that you have a good fit before hiring a designer.
What questions do you ask before hiring a designer? Is there something you can think of that is not on this list?
PS: If you liked this post, you might also like Is Investing In Branding Worth It?