Finding a Graphic Designer
Founder and Lead Designer of Elf Design,
Belmont, CA, U.S.A.
Become a member of TranslationDirectory.com at just
$8 per month (paid per year)
you ready to hire someone to design your logo, collaterals,
or artwork for your website? Well, here's just the
information you need to create the best relationship
with your graphic designer.
graphic designer designs your marketing materials
- print - and web-ready art-which are then turned
over to a printer or coded for the web for the final
outcome. Some of their vocabulary can be foreign to
you, and their processes might not be familiar either.
We'll address that and more in the remainder of this
more qualified the designer, the better the match
between you and that designer, and the more appealing
the final designs, the more professional you and your
business will look. The following recommendations
give you the essentials for hiring the right person
for this critical project:
Look at their work samples. Many designers
offer a portfolio of samples either on their website,
by email as a PDF file, or in a hard-copy format.
When you review these, look for a general design style
that you like, not necessarily whether the samples
are appropriate to your particular industry. In fact,
deep experience within an industry isn't necessarily
the best thing when you want a designer to put a fresh
visual spin on your business and your offerings.
Make sure they've actually done the work in their
portfolio. This is especially true if you're
reviewing design companies or firms. Make sure that
the designers who created the work that you really
admire are still on staff.
- With solo designers, make sure that the portfolio
clearly represents their personal involvement in
the development of all the design elements. For
example, if the designer shows you a brochure design
or a website in their portfolio, but the part that
you really love is the logo, make sure that they
created the logo before you hire.
- Furthermore, ask what the client's involvement
in the design of that logo was - if the client came
to the designer with a sketch of the logo already
created, then the logo might not be reproducible
- if all of the work wasn't created by the designer
or firm alone.
Talk to the designer. Having an actual conversation
with your potential graphic designer can really help,
for two reasons:
make sure you can communicate well with each other.
If you each have very similar styles of communication,
levels of energy, or enthusiasm about the project,
then the project will most likely run very smoothly.
Also, make sure that you each understand what the
other is saying - having similar definitions for concepts
is amazingly helpful. When you don't understand something,
see if the two of you "gel". You'll be working
closely, so make sure that you get along! If you don't
like the designer's personality, or vice-versa, then
the relationship will most likely become strained.
Review their skills. This becomes especially
important if you're hiring a web designer - make sure
the designer is qualified to provide you with all
the technical components you'll need. For example,
web coding, forms coding, HTML newsletter integration,
and Search Engine Optimization are all somewhat technical
fields that not all designers can deliver. Make sure
you'll be able to get what you need.
Check their references. If you really like
a particular project in the designer's portfolio,
see if you can get that client's contact information.
But if the designer can't release it, that's not necessarily
a bad sign - maybe the client prefers that their contact
information be kept private, or they've moved and
haven't told the designer how to get in touch with
them. Be open to reasons why they might not be able
to furnish a particular reference.
Learn about their processes. Find out how
the designer plans to execute the work that you'd
like to have done. Ask what the designer needs you
to do, what you'll be asked to review and approve,
how decisions will be made, and how those decisions
will be turned into product. Make sure your designer
is able to guide you through the design process, providing
all the information you'll need along the way.
Check their turnaround time for replying to emails,
sending quotes, and returning calls. Make
sure that it's in line with the turnaround time that
you expect throughout the project. Turnaround time
here can also indicate the designer's level of excitement
about your project. However, if turnaround is a bit
slow, make sure that the designer wasn't just out
of the office or tied up in another deadline - understand
that they are running a small business as well, and
the fact that they're busy is probably a sign of how
effective they are for their clients!
Review the rights that they're selling to you.
Make sure that you have the copyright and reproduction
rights that you want. Think as far into the future
as possible - you want to make sure that you'll have
what you need as your business grows. You don't want
to have to come back to your designer and renegotiate
your rights in a few years!
Do not ask for some sample designs for your specific
project. This is known as work on "spec"
(speculation): having a designer do work without a
guarantee of getting the project. While designers
can understand your fears, asking a designer to work
on spec isn't very fair. The first round of designs
on any project is the most time-consuming to create - it
often consists of researching your company and your
competitors, brainstorming on the creative side, and
generating first ideas. You wouldn't ask a doctor
to diagnose you before paying for his time, and then
offer to pay him if you like the diagnosis - it's no
more fair to do so with a designer.
Make sure that you'll get the deliverables you expect.
Some designers don't plan to include final files in
their deliverables to you. If you want to have the
original files delivered to you along with printed
collateral or the final files uploaded to your web
server, make sure the designer knows that up front:
it might change the pricing.
you want to be able to edit the final files, make
sure that the designer can deliver the files to you
in a way that you can edit them. Realize that, depending
on the software you have, this might either limit
the design or be impossible, but you won't know unless
if you envision having your final files in a particular
format - such as having your letterhead in Microsoft
Word - be sure to ask for that. Many designers don't
consider Word files to be part of a standard set of
Have a realistic schedule. Allocate enough
time for your project to be completed - rush jobs never
turn out to be as good as they could be if enough
time were allotted. An average logo project takes
weeks, not days!
be sure that the designer has time available in their
schedule to complete your project on your timeline.
Check for upcoming vacations, and whether they work
evenings and weekends, if your timeline calls for
Make sure that you're both clear about revisions.
Many designers include a set number of revisions in
their project packages. Make sure that you understand
what constitutes a revision, how many you'll get,
and what happens if you need more than the standard
Get it in writing. A contract can help to
lay out expectations for the project on both your
end and the designer's. Once you have a contract from
your designer, make sure to read it carefully - it will
often state exactly what you're going to get out of
the project, how you're expected to pay for designs,
what you're paying for, and how to get out of the
contract (in case you have to cancel the project for
any reason). If the contract doesn't make things clear,
ask the designer to elaborate for you.
these steps gives you all of the background information
you need for optimum results when hiring a designer.
Refer to them when you review designer's websites
and when you meet with or interview your potential
designer. Understanding the process and expected outcome
does wonders for a smooth transition from ideas to
Ferree, Founder and Lead Designer
of elf design, is a brand identity and marketing design
strategist who creates big visibility for small businesses.
Erin helps her clients discover their brand differentiators,
then designs logos, business cards, and other collateral
materials and websites to reflect that differentiation,
as well as to increase credibility and memorability.
To learn more about defining your difference, check
out our eBook, Stand Out, at http://www.stand-out-branding.com.
For more information about elf design, please visit:
Logo design at http://www.elf-design.com
Submit your article!
Read more articles - free!
Read sense of life articles!
this article to your colleague!
more translation jobs? Click here!
agencies are welcome to register here - Free!
translators are welcome to register here - Free!