If you happen to be neither technologically nor artistically inclined, choosing a graphic designer can seem like a daunting task. It is an important one, certainly; the right artist can have a huge positive effect on your site or campaign, while the wrong one will merely drain your funds and leave you with nothing useable. The trick is recognizing the qualities that the right artist is likely to have.
1. Their website will be professional and easy to navigate.
And yeah, they’d better have one. A graphic designer without a website is a dilettante. In this day and age, it’s not uncommon for relatively savvy young adults to have some basic familiarity with Adobe Creative Suite, but this does not make them artists. Any designer who’s worked professionally should either have web design skills or know someone who does. Bonus tip: any Email address that ends in anything but their own domain name or gmail.com is unacceptable. No true graphic designer uses yahoo or hotmail.
2. Their portfolio will have multiple examples of what you need.
To a certain extent, it’s true that basic graphic design skills can be applied to any kind of graphic. Someone who can design a good print flyer probably has the ability to design buttons for your website or a logo for your business. But just because they have the ability doesn’t mean they have the talent. If a designer only has print flyers in their portfolio, consider that it might be for a good reason. No matter how good their unrelated examples are, it’s better to hold out for someone who has experience with what you’re looking for.
3. They will be willing to discuss rates upfront, and will be able to justify them.
Any designer who is uncomfortable discussing their rates is not a professional or is planning to take you for everything you’ve got. It’s not unreasonable for an artist to tell you they can’t give an exact quote without knowing exactly how involved the work will be, but they should be able to give you a range at the very least. If they charge by the hour, they should be willing to give you an estimate as to how long the work will take. And if their overall estimate or hourly rate is high, they’d better be able to prove they’re worth it. It’s true that you might have to pay more for quality, but don’t assume that someone who charges more will deliver that quality just because they’re expensive.
These three tips are just a jumping-off point to help in your search. Without a doubt, the most important factor in choosing a graphic designer is chemistry. If you can’t connect with your artist, communicate your needs and really work together, your partnership will never result in the level of quality you need.
Courtney Holmes is the marketing director at Talk is Sheep Marketing, a sacramento internet marketing company that specializes in inbound marketing. Inbound marketing uses content like blogs, white papers, webinars, and video series to build high quality leads for thier client, on their clients website.