If you know nothing about design, choosing a graphic designer can seem like a daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to take much effort. Every designer you look at will have good qualifications and good recommendations. The trick is to find someone you can easily work with, and the rest will fall into place. The designer ought to have a natural personality, which makes the work process smooth. There are a few other things you may look out for while choosing a designer.
1. Set clear expectations on your goals
The designer needs to have as much information as possible before embarking on the project. During the creative brief, furnish them with the details of your company, the type of designer you are looking for, and the qualifications you require. They will also need to know what the objective of the project is.
Make sure you tell them upfront what the time frame for the project looks like, and any deadlines. If there are obstacles that might get in the way, it would be best if you laid them bare before proposals are submitted for the project. Ensuring the designer has a good understanding of what is expected will minimise the risk of snags down the road.
2. Know what skills you want in a designer
Knowing a little about design basics is obviously a big help when it comes to engaging a designer. This understanding will help you identify what skill set you require for your project. It also helps you make sense of the proposals when you start reviewing them.
Depending on your project, you may need to have a designer who is versatile and understands how to create concepts across various platforms. A good designer should be comfortable with optimally formatted print advertising, video, and web pages.
3. Gauge how the candidate thinks off the cuff
To gauge how well a candidate thinks on their feet, ask a question off the cuff during an interview. It would catch the designer off guard, and this is how to discover how fast they think on their feet. Some people can’t perform under pressure, which may not be ideal for your project. You might need a fast thinker, and there are bound to be times when the work pressure piles up. Thinking fast may become a prerequisite.
Ask them out of the blue what they think about a random design, and how they would have designed it. You need to someone who can think outside the box, someone whose creative thought process is sharp and on point. How the designer answers this question will help you gauge whether they will fit the bill.
4. The Portfolio shouldn’t be enough
The designers you settle on are bound to have impressive portfolios. This is important physical evidence of the work they have done, but it should not be the determining factor. Have a look at their portfolio, but ask questions on how each design came about. Ask what inspired them on a particular design. This will guide you in understanding the designer’s creative thought process.
Getting an insight into their inner creativity helps you to better understand how you can complement them and provide inspiration.
5. Give a trial project
We all know people might say they can deliver things they cannot. A designer may have glowing academic transcripts, but have zero practical experience. The best way to measure how well they will deliver is to give a small trial project. The project should take only a few hours to complete.
This allows you to narrow down and shortlist your candidates. The trial could be a touch-up of a previous project, or the design of a simple logo. This will let you see first-hand how each designer works. The trial should be paid for, just to give a little more motivation.
6. Find out what the designer requires of you
The designer will have a list of requirements for you. Ask up-front what they’ll need for the duration of the project. This ensures they work seamlessly and reduces hiccups that could serve as a later excuse.
Get to understand the designer’s process before they start working. This way, you can anticipate their needs and what is expected of you. These needs could be anything from discussing design concepts, to proofing concepts, to supplying feedback. It could also be physical items like artwork and documentation.
7. Ask for a face to face video chat
The most important aspect of talking to an interviewee is to get to see their facial expressions and body language. It is impossible to gauge what type of a person you are talking to if you talk via a telephone. Request a short video chat so that you get a better sense of who you are dealing with. You can almost tell a person’s personality by looking at their body language and facial expressions. You can also tell whether you will be able to get along with them, just by how they answer questions, and how long it takes them to answer.
The candidate is also able to share their sketches and previous experiences with you this way. Most design work involves the sharing of concepts via video conferencing, so it would not be anything new for either of you.
8. Make sure the designer has experience
Look for a designer with relevant experience in your particular field, either working or as a consumer. This prior knowledge helps to shorten the learning process as the designer already has a bit of on-field experience. Being a consumer themselves, they can gauge the expectation level of the target audience.
9. Be clear on the target audience and impart awareness about your brand
You should be very clear about your goals and who your target audience is. You are familiar with your brand, because it’s what you do on a daily basis. Not everyone understands as you do; remember this, and make sure your designer understands your brand thoroughly. Once they do, it will be easy for them to conceptualize your idea. Ensure the designer understands how the brand relates to your customers.
10. Ask what inspires them
Take the initiative to find out what inspires each of the designers you interact with. Get a feel of the different things that inspire them, be it books, brands or artists. Delving into their minds from this angle will also give you different ideas and unique elements of design for your proposed project.
11. Appreciate resourceful ideas
The things that inspire them also go a long way in revealing the particular designer’s qualities and creative thought processes. We are all inspired by different things, and straightforward and unlikely things usually inspire creative people. Even if you do not pick a particular designer, his thoughts and inspirations may well spark off ideas in your mind which you can utilize in your project.
Choosing a designer is not only about specific skills or academic papers. They have to be innately creative and innovative. Reading a person’s resume and looking at a portfolio is not sufficient. You have to be able to sit down with that person, and examine their creative side.
Feeling excited to hire your next graphic designer on Freelancer? We wish you best of luck in finding the perfect fit for your project. Be sure to drop us a link to designs in the comments section below!