Branding19 Jan 2021

How to hire a designer that is right for you? (a checklist)

Hiring a graphic designer that is right for you is a rather extensive process. There are many things to consider: Deadlines, Budget, Skillset, Experience and Style just to name a few. We have developed a checklist to help you get the ball rolling on finding ‘The One’ for your business and its needs.

1. A clear design brief:
- What do you need designed? List all the deliverables you need designed: eg. Website, Logo, Social Content, Business Stationery.

2. Technical Skillset
- Each Designer has their specialty according to their professional experience: eg. Branding, Illustrations, Web design, Print Design, Product Design...etc.
Review the designer’s portfolio to see if they have delivered similar projects to the requirements in your brief.

3. Industry Knowledge
- Industry-based sensibilities: It is very helpful when the designer you hire has a firm grasp and experience designing for your industry. This understanding will help position the aesthetic of the designs in relations to your competitors and help you stand-out or align your business with more successful brands.
- Industry Experience: A seasoned designer will also save you time by bypassing some of the fundamentals that’s common in your industry. For example a graphic designer who has worked in the property industry will typically know how to read floorplans.

Things to provide in your initial meeting:
- Provide examples of ‘Likes’ and ‘Dislikes’ that is relevant to your industry and brand.
- Collate notes, insight and research to help your designer understand your business and the industry. Although it is common for the designer to do their own research relating to the project, this will help them progress further and save time and project budget.

4. Budget
- Ask for proposals and quotes from multiple designers to find the one that fits with your budget.
- Reading the fine print: The proposal/ quote should outline scope of work, how many rounds of revisions are included, what is not included. It should also list all of deliverables and assets will be included as part the service.

5. Deadlines
- Availability: It is important before the project starts to set expectation on timings, response time. Understanding this will help alleviate frustration and anxiety. It is also helpful to agree on the best mode of communication right at the start.
- Project Planning: Depending on the size of the project, it is sometimes necessary to agree on some indicative deadlines to the key milestones within the project. This will ensure you know how its travelling and meet the final deadlines.

6. Design Process
Understand the design process of a designer will determine how the project is run and how the budget is spent. Typically, the design process consists of:
- Research and Discovery (this is often presented as moodboards or sketches where a general design direction is determined and agreed by the client)
- Concept Design (this is when the approved design direction is applied to a number of concepts)
- Design Revisions (after the Concept Design is approved, the design is finessed and finalised)
- Final Art (when all the approved deliverables are issued to the client or media company in the file format stipulated in the project brief)

7. Design Style
Sometimes you can gauge a designer’s style simply by reviewing their portfolio. But it can be useful to start your first project together with a Research and Discovery stage beforehand to ensure that your visions are aligned. This is when the designer produces a selection of moodboards that depict different styles and design options based on the ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ discussed in your initial meeting. This can help you determine if the designer is a good listener/communicator and has understood the brief.

8. Collaborators
There are lots of moving parts in a design project, it’s useful to understand if your ideal designer has other collaborators who may help the project progress smoothly. An experience designer should have established relationships with other professionals in the creative industry such as:
- Web Developers
- Copywriters
- Social Content Managers
- Marketing Strategists
Depending on your project’s scope, consider hiring the designer who regularly works with a set of collaborators that fits your needs.

9. After the project
What happens once the project is finished? Here are some additional things for you to ask and consider that may impact on your decisions.
- Do you have access to copies of all the files?
- What happens if you need additional files made and how much will it cost you?
- Will this designer be available to make changes in six months?
- What happens if your files are lost, does the designer keep a copy?

That’s it! I hope this checklist will help you understand the process and help you find the ideal designer for your business to build a beautiful collaborative future together.