In 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?