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5 Ways to Find Your Perfect Graphic Designer

CONGRATULATIONS!

Deciding to use a professional designer is a huge step in the right direction for your brand. Not only do we have an eye for what looks good and what will resonate with your audience, but most Designers have backgrounds in marketing and customer behaviour, which means we understand why certain colours and elements will invoke reactions from people.

What to look for when hiring a Designer:

There are a few things to keep an eye on when it comes to contracting a Graphic Designer, Web Designer or Brand Designer.

These are:

  • Experience

  • Individual Style

  • Budget and Pricing

  • Capacity and Expectations

  • Reviews

You're designer is someone you will be contacting regularly, so you need to make sure you're both compatible and on the same page.

Experience:

Like any occupation, the more experience a Designer has, the more professional and smooth you can expect your interactions, briefing and process to be (in most cases!).

Experience also brings diversity and versatility to the role, meaning a more experienced designer has probably worked with a business similar to yours at some point in their career and can draw on that experience and research. Do not confuse experience with skill though! Some newbies have incredible skills but just need the chance to show them off to the world.

Individual Style:

Are you looking for a Designer that will fit a certain style? Or are you drawn to a particular designer due to their own style?

If you are looking to hire a versatile designer, look for one that has worked across diverse fields. In my experience, Designers with Agency experience are great at fitting their designs to the client. On the other hand, if you are drawn to a style that a Designer is known for, do your research first (more on this down the page!).

Budget and Pricing:

This is important. When you’re hiring a Designer, you’re hiring someone with years of experience under their belt. You’re paying for the tertiary education, the lived experience, the Marketing Degrees (which we’re still paying off!), the style versatility, the man hours put into research and development, refinement, packaging and admin involved in designing and branding, and the fact that whatever’s being designed will bring more people into your business. Make sure your budget reflects and respects what your chosen Designer is bringing to the table!

Capacity and Expectations:

Before you enter into any contract, make sure you know a timeline of deliverables, and exactly what you’ll be getting for your money.

Be transparent as well - there’s nothing worse than a client saying ‘oh, fit this in when you can’ when they actually mean “I NEED THIS NOW.”

Reviews:

What are people saying about them? I’ll discuss this further down the page, but always check a Designer’s website or Google My Business Dashboard for reviews left by previous clients.

That’s great and all, but how do I FIND these people?

There are five steps I recommend everyone do when trying to find their perfect fit.

Because at the end of the day, this person is like another team member - they will be in communication with you a lot, researching your business, getting to know your audience and assessing the inner-workings of your organisation.

You want someone you trust, you can talk to, and will be open and transparent with you.

Step 1: Instagram Research

Instagram is the most visual of social media tools. As such, it's great for finding visual-minded people!

When I am looking for designers or some design inspiration, I head to Instagram and search for relevant hashtags, like #SouthWestDesigns, #Designer, #GraphicDesigner etc. If you are after something super niche, this is also a good way to find specialists in a certain field.

For example, if you are searching for someone who builds Shopify websites, searching #ShopifyPartners will show you users who use that tag, and most likely work with Shopify.




Search for niche offerings by using relevant hashtags.

If there’s a post under a hashtag that you really love, click on the profile of the original poster and see if they have done other, similar styled graphics or other projects that you like. This is also a great chance to see if they are specialists in a certain type of design, a colour palette, or if they shape their designs to various clients.



Do you want a designer that will design for your brand and vision? Or do you want a designer to bring your brand into their own style? These are the questions you should be asking while you research.

Most design profiles on Instagram will have a bio as well, which should link to a website or portfolio. Which leads me tooooooo……….

Step 2: Review Their Body of Work

Social Media is a great place to show off the more ‘creative’ design pieces, but what about the everyday necessities? The stationery, the letterheads, the Annual Reports - they’re more likely to be in a Case Study on the Designer’s website.

To get a full idea of a Designer’s work, style and skills (without the restriction of a 1:1 grid!), head to their site.

Some will be extremely minimalist, some might explore deeply into their experience and qualifications. Some may ask you to leave a message, and others might just have a very stripped back approach and require nothing from you.


Someone's website may be minimal....



...or they may offer a bit more of a showcase.





Or they may delve right into the Brief and how they solved it!

Everyone is different. But it’s important to find someone you can gel with.

Step 3: Ask Around!

Do any of your friends or family contract out their graphic design jobs?

Maybe a similar business to yours has awesome graphics being pumped out all the time.

Sometimes the best way to find a Graphic Designer you love is to ask who made the designs you know you like already.

Not only is this great for you (hello, you get a Designer you already know does great work!), but is also really nice for the Designer in question, knowing people are referring them to others around town. Nawww!

Step 4: Facebook Groups

These have been invaluable to me and other local businesses. Most towns/cities will have at least 1 Facebook Group dedicated to local designers or local businesses, that are constantly in discussion or showing off works in progress, asking for design feedback or suggesting referrals. If you haven’t found your perfect Designer using the steps above yet, definitely give this a try!

Some groups I can suggest:

  1. Women in Brand Strategy + Brand Design

  2. JUST Creative | Design Community

  3. PINKPONYCLUB

Step 5: Behance.net

Behance is a great place to find designers. If you’ve exhausted Instagram, you’ve searched online, checked Facebook Groups and asked around and you still haven’t found your perfect match, head here.

You can filter by location, fields, colour or school - it’s pretty cool!

To Conclude.....


Hopefully you can find your perfect designer using the five steps above. BUT (and here comes the plug!), if you’re looking for a designer with agency experience, Google experience, versatility, web design, copywriting and marketing skills, and over a decade in the field of graphic design, get in touch with me and I’ll see how I can help!



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