The best graphic designers inhabit that space between the creative and the business-minded; the tangible and the intangible. It would be quite easy (and reductive) to simply take the phrase literally and describe a graphic designer simply as “somebody who uses graphics to design.” But the role has evolved so dramatically in the last few decades as technology has done likewise.
What or who is a graphic designer?
According to The Interaction Design Foundation: “Graphic design is the craft of creating visual content to communicate messages. Applying visual hierarchy and page layout techniques, graphic designers use typography and pictures to meet users’ specific needs and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs to optimise the user experience.”
Graphic designers exist to bring form and function to ideas that might have been little more than vague concepts and they are the members of the creative team driving the literal vision of the company. Everything from the typography to the website design, logos, marketing and brand identity will be engineered chiefly by the graphic design team. So, it stands to reason that making sure you get the right designer (or designers) on board for your project is a pretty critical task.
How to find and hire the right graphic designer
Hiring a graphic designer is a pretty crucial step in and company’s journey, particularly if they are quite visually focused. They are not only responsible for the design of your visuals but the end product too and, as such, it’s a role that requires exceptional flexibility.
There are also so many different types of designers that might specialise in a different area of design. One, for example, might be an expert typographer while another might be skilled at illustration, print design or visual branding.
Finding the right graphic designer for your needs is all about realising what your needs actually are and what the needs of the project might be. Do you require a freelancer for a one-off project or something more long-term? And do you need a designer for one specific task or just about everything related to graphic design?
Then there’s the elephant in the room to consider - the budget. There is an incredibly wide range of pricing options for graphic design services with the price being determined by everything from a designer’s background and expertise to the range of services they offer. If they are charging for a complete branding package, meanwhile, you’re going to need to discuss a timeline with them.
Generally speaking, however, following the five steps below should leave you in the capable hands of a graphic designer that knows what they‘re doing.
1. Ask around
It might sound a little old fashioned in this day and age but the first place you should always start is with the people you trust. Do you have a friend whose colleague recently did an incredible branding package for them? Ask them for contacts and reach out to any designers that take your fancy asking for portfolios taking particular note of any work that seems similar to yours.
You should also take advantage of your social media contacts. Check right here on Creativepool and on LinkedIn. There will be literally thousands of graphic designers ready and waiting to work with you.
2. Acknowledge the three P’s
By which I mean “Personality, Professionalism and Portfolio.” These are the three things that really matter when hiring a graphic designer. Of course, the portfolio is always going to be important but you’ll also need someone with a personality you can tolerate as you could be spending weeks working side-by-side with them. They should also be respectful to your role as the client and/or boss and know when to stand up for their ideas too.
You also need to recognise, however, that creative people can sometimes be difficult to work with (myself included, I might add). There’s a time and a place to work with these tempestuous creatives but sometimes, if a deadline is fast approaching, professionalism is always preferred over genius wunderkind behaviour.
3. Ask the right questions
You don’t just want to be asking them about their previous jobs and inspirations but their process too. A designer’s process will vary from person to person and you need to know what their process involves to see if it fits into your workflow.
Also (and this is key if you’re hiring freelancers) be absolutely clear about their availability and always ask for a proposal and a quote. Let them know exactly what you expect from them and ask what their ideas for the project are too, as you want to be 100% sure your ideas align before the project gets off the ground.
4. Set your expectations
A graphic designer might wear many hats but they are likely to feel pretty miffed if you expect them to do everything from developing websites to replying to social media posts. They are not coders and they are not social networkers; they are artists first and foremost. In the same breath, expecting a graphic designer to fulfil the role of a creative director is probably a step too far.
Ultimately, a graphic designer is there to bring your ideas and your identity to life and you need to let them know the parameters they’ll be working within. Otherwise, everyone is going to be left feeling disappointed and frustrated.
5. Communication is key
Once you find that special someone, you might be eager to get the ball rolling right away but you need to lay down a foundation of communication first. This is going to be crucial when you’re sorting our payment and taxes, which should all be outlined in a contract. In fact, contracts are perhaps what I’m going to end on here.
It’s not sexy and it’s not fun but it’s practical and ensures both parties are happy. The number of times I’ve entered into working relationships without a contract only to regret it months later are too many to count. So get it in writing and make that glorious relationship official already!
Find the perfect graphic designer here on Creativepool! There are literally thousands ready to bring renewed vigour to your organisation.