Tips on Selecting a Graphic Designer

Live graphic recording of CAP Days GermanyIn a recent post inquiring about what businesses struggle with, I received an incredible amount of responses, and two things dominated. Getting PR and hiring a graphic artist. Odd huh? I was expecting to hear more about marketing or social media, but that’s just me. In response to these two needs left unsatisfied by many small business owners, I am responding by 1) getting experts opinions on how to select a graphic designer, and 2) interviewing the owner of a notable PR firm on an upcoming live interview. Ryan Evans of Bitesize PR specializes in press for small businesses, at an affordable price. More info about this interview here. Back to the hiring of a graphic designer – here are several great tips:

It’s important to hire a professional graphic designer, not a student or a relative, because in today’s complicated world, where technology is constantly shifting, only a professional will understand how to prepare your artwork so that it prints properly. (For example, did you know that Apple products don’t play Flash on them? That the t-shirt industry and sign industries use different software than Adobe CS?)

Ask your graphic designer if he knows about computers, print and web production, and software compatibility. Stay away from print designers who don’t actually print the job out – actual size – so you can inspect that the type is readable and the resolution is acceptable. In other words, what looks good on a computer screen doesn’t always look good on a printed brochure or poster.

Knowledge is power is money in business; small businesses must work efficiently and economically, and you want a designer who understands this and is truly your partner.
-Bill Weber, Bill Weber Studios

Build a mockup or wireframe first: Even the most rudimentary sketch can help put you and your graphic designer on the same page before you get started. Putting your ideas on paper as a client will help you solidify your thoughts and if working on a larger project,,like a new website, starting here can help give you a good idea of the UX (user experience) which is a integral part of the design process.

Have a good idea of what you are looking for: Vague suggestions can be extremely hard for a designer to decipher and turn into a final product and you most likely won’t be satisfied on their first try.  Before getting started, make sure you have a defined scope that outlines what you need to accomplish, where/how the design elements will be used, and when you need them.

Provide examples: Examples can be a great way to convey what you are looking for from a design perspective. Find websites or assets that are similar to the look and feel of what you’d like to accomplish with your project.
-Nash Haywood, NetSet Media

When selecting candidates, see how the designers or agencies present their work. It shows how much they care about their own professional appearance, and reflects how they will care about yours. Read the descriptions that accompany their projects. A logo may look great, but it has to fit the specific project requirements to be effective in the market.

Choose a brand designer whose style of design matches the style you need (not the style YOU prefer, but the style that best represents your brand and will reach your target audience). By choosing a designer based on a specific design style, you have a better chance of getting the design you need. Plus, the designer will be happy working in his or her own comfort zone, and will be in a better position to provide you with superior work.

One crucial note here: ownership of the logo and final source files must be transferred to you upon final payment. If there’s nothing in writing that mentions ownership, then ask your designer to give you this agreement in writing. It is imperative that you own your logo design so that you can legally use it however you like in the future.
-Robert Hacala, Better Business Brand

Have you hired a graphic artist or graphic designer? What is your experience and/or tips?

Image courtesy Dell’s Official Flickr Page

Carissa DunphyCarissa Dunphy, Director at Small Businesses Do It Better, is very passionate about supporting small businesses, providing valuable resources and sharing her knowledge about entrepreneurship.

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11 Comments

  1. It is important to choose a professional graphic designer who is aware of the latest trends in the industry and avoid common mistakes made by designers. Otherwise, it will result in wastage of resources and a lot of re-work for graphic designers.

  2. Quite worthwhile information. I am also looking for a good graphic designer since last six months having knowledge of day to day introducing technology but now hope that I would select a designer for giving graphics in my company’s website.

  3. Graphics are an important part of a web site. While designing all the key points including the graphic design must be kept in mind. This post is very very useful for me as I have to finalize a company who will design my website and these points must be taken care of while dealing with it. Thanks for the help. :)

  4. The rule of thumb is finding at least three graphic designers or company that offers such service. Ask for a quotation. From there, compare the three according to your specific standards and select what suits you best.

  5. Thank you very much for sharing those tips. People uses different platforms to choose graphic designers like search engines, social media, online marketplaces etc. These tips will help in every platform. :)

  6. Thank you for putting these points out there, Carissa! As a full-time graphic designer it is really difficult to translate vague ideas. I find examples to be helpful in guiding the design process and especially client sketches – these are invaluable!

  7. Hi Buddy..
    What a nice post you have shared..All the tips above are very informative and solution of finding a good graphic designer.. I think it is very important to choose a professional graphic designer who have some experience in graphic designs and also aware of new technologies.Thanks for sharing this post.. keep sharing more information with us..
    Have a nice day ahead..
    Regards:
    Diane F. Cassity

  8. It’s true that it’s important to choose a designer whose style of design matches the style you need. Thanks for these tips on selecting a graphic designer. I agree that it’s important to have a good idea of what design you want before hiring a graphic designer. I’ll develop my idea a bit more before choosing one.

  9. Your mock-up idea is a nice one. When working with the right graphic professional, who won’t reduce the image to a criticism of your talent, it can serve as a faster way to reach a conclusion about what is important to the client and what appeals to them.

  10. Great Share!
    Thank you so much for sharing this informative post about choosing best graphic design company.Choose a company that has many years of experience. Experience matters a lot both for quality and price. Normally, a firm with several years of experience should have more expert employees, who can help in generating high quality and effective outputs with minimum time.Once again thank you so much for this post. Keep Sharing!

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