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How to hire a great branding designer – 5 top tips

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What is a brand? It’s far more than just a colour scheme and a few catchy phrases. Indeed, it’s more suitable to think of a brand as an identity – it’s what the company stands for, what it hopes to achieve and how it wants to be perceived by the world. It’s something important enough that it requires somebody with a unique set of branding skills to get it just right and that’s where branding designers come in.

A branding designer is so much more than just somebody who knows how to throw a few pretty shapes together and call it a logo. They are artists who can take a company with very little identity and transform it into a brand that people are proud to wear on their shirts and return to time and time again.

But hiring for branding designer jobs is a major investment and not a decision to be taken lightly. They will, after all, be the ones carving out a new identity for your business and that’s an identity you’ll want to be proud to stand behind for months and even years to come.

But before we get into the nitty gritty of hiring a top branding designer to help you launch a new business or product, let’s focus on the basics -

What is a branding designer?

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A branding designer shapes a brand and how it’s presented to the public. In order to breathe life into a brand and give it a tangible identity, a branding designer must express their thinking via words and imagery that cut through the noise and strike a chord with the public.

With more businesses than ever before competing for custom, branding remains the most important and vital way they can distinguish themselves from the pack. An effective brand message can spell the difference between a flash in the pan and a legacy name and it’s the brand designers that shape this message through various means.

But how do you go about ensuring that you hire a branding designer that’s true to the vision and culture of your brand? Even the best branding designers are not mind readers, so there are certain steps you should consider taking before starting your search in earnest.

1. Figure out what you want from them

As we already said, branding designers are not mind readers. If you want to ensure you’re on the same page with the designer and the rest of the team you need to start with some ballpark vision of what you want to achieve with your branding. Figure out the audience you want to appeal to and the kind of brand you want to be and then set a realistic deadline.

“Realistic” is a key word here as branding is not something that can be done in a weekend. It requires preparation, collaboration and feedback. Also, remember that you will be an integral part of the process. If you are planning to simply hand it over to the branding designer and sit back while they work their magic then you are not going to get the results you want.

2. Understand your audience

It’s important to make sure you know who your target audience is. What demographic are you addressing? What are their main concerns and which problems are you solving for them? Who are the people you want to reach and why? Your brand needs to speak to your ideal audience first and foremost. These are questions your brand designer will ask you, so do your research

3. Know what you want to say

You must be clear on your values, culture, messaging and tone of voice before bringing in a branding designer. We know it might sound counterintuitive (surely those things are what the branding designer is for right?) but you need to have a foundation in place first before they can start building the ground floor.

Really take your time, sit down and find out how you want your business to be perceived. What do you want to be known for? Which problems are you solving for your customers? Which feelings do you want your brand to invoke? What sets your business apart from your competitors? Be as clear as you can about how you want your brand to feel and what you want it to convey. The clearer you can answer these questions, the easier it will be to find the right designer for you and your designer can then translate your message into a cohesive design. 

4. Get inspired

Gathering inspiration helps you to figure out what you’re looking for in your designer. So get comfortable and start browsing Pinterest, Instagram and, of course, Creativepool. You don’t need to worry too much yet about what might attract the right audience or not. Instead focus on what it is that speaks to you. Is it the colour maybe? Or a pattern or font? Do you like the mood of it? Try to  focus on what inspires you about these.

5. Take your time

There is nothing wrong with going to the people you already know and looking to your existing network for a shortlist but don’t just go with them because you know them. Expand your circle. DO the research and look at the brands you admire – who was in charge of their branding and are they available? Then create a shortlist of branding designers you want to work with and take a deep dive into their portfolios.

Remember, however, that design is highly subjective. A designer can have a wonderful portfolio, but if it looks nothing like what you want, they are simply not a good fit for you. That is why it’s crucial to gather inspiration before you hire a designer. You have to have an idea of where you want to go and how you want to get there before you choose the driver.

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If you are in the market for a studio manager, there are hundreds of branding designers on Creativepool ready and waiting to receive your messages and help you complete your ideal creative team. 

Header image by Creativepool's top ranked branding designer Simon Manchipp

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