When it comes to choosing the right graphic designer for your needs, whether an agency or an individual, the price shouldn’t be the sole determining factor. Often, it’s a combination of reliability, talent, and price, as you’re probably looking for someone suitable for long-term collaboration. Sometimes, choosing someone who isn’t quite as established yet might prove to be the better choice, simply because such a candidate is more likely to prioritize you as a client and deliver nothing but their very best. So before you make the final choice, make sure to keep the following tips in mind:
1. Give clear guidelines
The more you’re able to reveal about your brand and the vision of your company, the better. Before settling on any particular graphic designer, make sure they understand what your business is all about. So make your instructions clear and ask the candidate to complete a sample project for you to make sure you’re both on the same page. Of course, you should pay the candidate for their work – it’s unlikely that anyone would be willing to do it for free (plus, it’s a good way to show that you value their time).
2. Find out what drives them
During an interview with one of your candidates, make sure to ask the right questions. One of them certainly has to do with finding out their drives and aspirations. What do they want to accomplish during their career and which designers do they view as their idols? That way, you’ll be able to make an educated guess what kind of style they’re aiming for. Besides, finding out more about the techniques they’ve mastered will let you fully utilize their skill set.
3. Realize that a portfolio is only one part of the story
Being able to display a professional-looking profile like the one you can see at Dot Design Media is certainly a good sign. However, you should realize that it doesn’t tell the whole story. After reviewing it, ask them about the inspiration behind their work, much like the point we made in the previous paragraph. Remember, the objective is to find out how their creative mind works and see if it’s something you can integrate with your company’s vision.
4. Test their inventiveness
While interviewing them, ask them something completely unexpected. The purpose of doing this is not trying to catch them off guard; you’re merely trying to discern whether they’re capable of coming up with creative solutions on the spot. For example, you could ask them to review a sample piece of artwork and suggest any improvements they could think of. There are no right or wrong answers here, and it’s you who’s going to have to judge the validity of the candidate’s ideas.
5. Determine whether their skill set is a good fit
Some design services are better suited for illustrations, while others excel at designing pamphlets and marketing materials. As it goes without saying, you’re going to need to study your own needs first and set clear expectations. You should ask the candidate about the programs they use during their work – this will give you a clearer idea of what to expect. Furthermore, you’re well advised to find out whether they draw everything on their own or if they download some images from the web and apply modifications to them. If it’s the latter, make sure they’ve obtained all the licenses for them to do this without legal ramifications.
6. Check how experienced they are
While this should in no case be the only way to evaluate your candidates, it’s a valuable metric that will tell you a lot about their set of skills. Simply put, the more experienced candidates will have much less steep of a learning curve when trying to adjust to the needs of your business. More experienced graphic designers also tend to be able to better connect with your ideal buyer persona.
7. Try to meet in person if possible
There are certain body language cues you can only read in person, which should give you valuable insight into their personality. If meeting in person is not an option (after all, your ideal candidate may very well be hidden overseas), try to at least get them on a video call. There are a lot of free programs that make the process very easy, so try Google Hangouts or Skype.
8. Understand that versatility is a plus
In the world of graphic design, the term “jack of all trades” might not be such a bad thing. Of course, if you have highly specific needs, this may be viewed as a drawback. But in practice, businesses need the services of a graphic designer for a wide range of different needs; preparing the PR material, designing posters, perfecting the artwork to use in your virtual assets, and the list goes on. More often than not, graphic designer versatility is a huge plus.
9. Make sure to understand the legal agreement between you
Did you know that some designers want to retain some rights to the artwork they submit? Therefore, make sure to understand where you stand in terms of intellectual rights. Draft a contract to clarify this if need be – in fact, this is the recommended route most businesses are advised to take. During your hiring process, you should definitely give priority to graphic designers that understand the importance of doing this.
10. Look for professional affiliations
There’s a reason why collaborating with big brands is such a powerful vote of confidence. After all, there’s little chance of respectable brands collaborating with unprofessional graphic designers, so big brand affiliations are a big hint of reliability and confidence. Once again, this shouldn’t be the only thing to consider (after all, every top graphic designer has had to start somewhere), but if you’re lucky enough to get someone like this on board, you should definitely honor their presence.
Unless you only need to hire a graphic artist for a one-time job, a lot of your time and energy should go into picking someone who’s suitable for long-term collaboration. While it’s hard to get everything right the first time around, if you stick to the principles you’ve learned today, you’ll definitely find the perfect graphic designer for your needs at one point. Good luck with your search!