When To Hire a Designer
In talking with many of my clients I’ve realized that there is a turning point where they realize they need to work with a designer. If you are here that means it’s possible you’ve been mulling this over, too. Here’s a basic walkthrough of how to realize you should be working with a graphic designer, how to find a great one, and what to expect.
Signs You Should be Working with a Designer:
You feel overwhelmed with visual creative projects.
When it comes time to make a logo, packaging design, a website, you go cross-eyed and would rather just not. Managing all of those visual aspects of a business is not an easy task and hard for a small business owner, especially if it’s just you.
You want your business to stand out.
You want to focus on the appearance and professional look of your business and make it reflect the pride you have in what you’ve created. Maybe you don’t have the time or skill set to work on some of the more complicated visual parts of your brand and need a helping hand.
You know what you have currently as a visual system isn’t working.
You think what you could have could be enhanced. Maybe your brand as a whole lacks consistency or isn’t drawing an audience or attention. Shouldering that burden while trying to be visionary or practical while running a business is tough.
Check in with yourself and make the decision that would help you the most. If it’s fun to make your own business cards or a website then stick with it, but if it’s overwhelming to you then maybe it’s time to start searching for a designer.
What to Look for in a Designer
Okay so you see the signs that you need to work with a designer. Now you are out in the world trying to find these magical designers and there are so many to choose from. Here’s my tips for finding a designer, reverse engineered from what I think are important traits of a good creative professional.
A style that matches what you want
I think this might go without saying, but you want to look for a designer with a style or aesthetic that matches your business idea.
A reliable communicator
If you stick to business hours and reasonable expectations, a designer should be communicative. That means they respond back to your inquiries in a timely manner (I usually try to stick to the 12 - 24 hour turnaround window). This also means that you stick to proper boundaries in communication, meaning not expecting a reply to a non-emergency text at 8 pm on a Saturday.
A well put-together portfolio
Portfolios are places to display a designer’s best work. They should be concise and straightforward and portray what the designer can do.
From the beginning a designer should be setting expectations for the project, meetings, collaboration, and their working style. I usually do a free consultation meeting and send an introductory email that outlines my process. Then I set up a plan of work for the project so it’s smooth sailing from the beginning.
Working with a Professional Designer
As far as the process of working with a professional designer, I can only speak from experience. Here’s the overview of what you could expect from working with a designer like me.
You will have to pay for the design services.
As a professional I do have a price for my time. The more experience a designer has, the more they will charge per hour (or per project).
Expect up-front consultation and information gathering from the designer.
The most important information is what I can learn up front about the project. That helps me to craft an estimate and set up a project timeline.
You will have a frequent role in the feedback process.
I value the client’s opinion and check-in frequently throughout the process. Communication helps me figure out what will best suit you as the client.
Contracts and/or a Plan of Work document will be drafted and agreed upon.
Before I start any work I always outline a Plan of Work and Terms for the work itself. This helps both parties know when deadlines are, how many revisions will be done, and what files, assets, and/or services you will receive as a client. Payment terms are also outlined in this document so we know exactly when billing will take place.
Hopefully these lists can help you determine if you need to work with a designer and guide you to finding the right one. If you think working with a designer like me would be beneficial for your business don’t hesitate to reach out via the contact form on this site or email me at email@example.com.