In a world full of images from a foray of different companies it becomes a daunting uphill task to choose and pick the relevant. Thousands of graphic design companies unload on customers millions of images every day. To take matters into hand and add perspective to the exhaustive exercise, you need to not only create a logo any longer – you need to be a brand. An out-of-the-box, crowd pulling vibrant brand to be the apple of everyone’s eye.
How do you do that?
Lo and behold, here comes the savior of creative agency, ladies and gentlemen, we present – the freelance graphic designer. He will now give your company’s product and services, message, image and presence a transformation and enchant them by visual designed (creatively inspired) to hopefully make you more appealing, attractive and audience friendly.
Hold on a second.
How do you hire a great graphic designer?
The best way to find a graphic designer (on a budget) is by the word of mouth. Many of the industry experts agree that personal recommendations and references tend to bring out the cream of the crop and that too at a very low of cost of operations. So, get a recommendation from a co-worker, or a business contact that is trustworthy and whose design work you like and ask who did it for them.
Besides the path of personal recommendations, there are several online services from where you can hire a creative graphic designer:
When hiring from these sites, do ask for recommendations. Also, when a graphic designer shows you their graphic design portfolio, be sure to ask them for an exact role in the project described.
In order to get what you want from the designer, make sure that he has relevant experience in the required medium of work – a graphic designer who has several years of experience in design print ads and banners may not necessarily be good at web or mobile app designs.
Qualifications can get you through the resume clutter and somehow tilt the scales of balance in the designers favor but its most important that designer has done work in similar format as yours (e.g. e-commerce web designs, typography poster designs, interactive mobile game apps) or has been a part of solving challenges similar to yours. (e.g. re-brand the company, use social to drive sales, expansion of technology enabled services)
The chosen designer needs to understand the purpose, content and how to bridge the gap between you and your consumers.
Cost can be a decisive factor in selecting a designer. In general, design agencies charge less (for cookie cutter package) when compared to a freelance graphic designer but, having said that, there are two factors that have more hammer of cost than any other – experience and objective.
Experience of the designer, their graphic design portfolio, and agency affiliations can get you from anywhere between $50-250/hr. If the asking rates are more than that, you might want to award it to an agency because you will probably end up paying more for an individual with experience and an ego and not really more for creative and technical ability.
Moreover, the cost increase progressively and per hour rates affect the budget immensely when it comes to bigger and more complex projects. A complete rebranding service with an individual designer is going to end up costing you more than a logo and design package. If you think that the hourly rates are pushing on the verge of bankruptcy (figuratively) take control and lay down the specifics of deliverables and agree on a price before the project starts.
Be on point with specifics. We are not asking you to be Nostradamus here, but you need to be very clear in terms of what you want and what you want to accomplish from the elements of design. Think of it as explaining your end goal to a 6 year old – describe it as he would understand.
Prepare a list of deliverables for the designer. Draft a detail business brief which sets the goals (list of deliverables) to be delivered successfully. Be clear in projecting the vision of the objective, environment, available resources and constraints. Unless, you and the resource are in sync, you will not get what you need to accomplish by graphic designs.
For sure, the most important aspect of the whole design routine is – getting the right message across. This message is the whole key sink of the company; values, verticals, stories, success, happiness and purpose – all in one. Your designers needs to be clear as a crystal on what it is exactly, so when they come up with the graphic design, it is a perfect match.
A crucial point stressed by experts is to provide the designer with a brief description of your company’s business model so that as an outsider he can have a better grasp over it.
Target audience, time line, outlets, mediums and communication strategies need to be clearly defined too.
There can be nothing more frustrating and infuriating than missing the deadline.
Discuss the constraints of budget and schedule with your design resource at once. A design project can be extensive in terms of various elements in use. Adopt a step wise approach and break down the design project in to smaller chunks of iterated deliverables.
For example when you get the first version of designs, you feel the need to revise, and then revise again unless you go about it 3-4 times. Have you taken the time factor into considerations? This happens when you have not decided on the revision. Not only does it increases charge on the hourly rate calculator (budget) by a significant number but adds to the delay in time (schedule). Negotiate for an ideal of 3 rounds of revision after the first version. This will cut you a good bargain on time and quality of work.
Another factor of influence – meet your own deadlines too.
Own what you have. The final product is yours – claim its ownership. Ask your designer to provide you with the source file of the graphics. In fact lay it out before commencing work. Negotiate up front that you need those files so that they are bound by contract of agreement to comply. By getting the original art work files, if you need to make any future edits to designs, you can do so easily without going over the process of new designs – and designer.
• Offline recommendations are more reliable especially if you can meet in person.
• Take into thoughtful and deep consideration similarity of work and requirements.
• Keep extra bucks in the piggy bank for experience and project size.
• Prepare a descriptive creative brief.
• Outline the message, objectives, deliverables and timeline.
• Claim ownership to the design source files.