Have you ever worked with a designer that just didn’t seem to “get” you? I’m raising my hand, y’all. It’s frustrating. It’s overwhelming.
Before I opened The Savvy Peach, I was a marketing director for an art gallery/dealer in the Atlanta area. While working there, I had the privilege of working with several talented designers on various projects. And I also worked with some designers that made me want to pull out my hair! Those designers seemed like they never heard my request (or perhaps they ignored it.)
Finding a designer who captures your style, has a great client process, and is in your price range is key. Like I said, it can be overwhelming, but I have a few points to keep in mind as you seek your perfect designer.
Referrals Are Reliable
The best way to find a great graphic designer is by word-of-mouth. You know the beautifully designed pieces you’ve seen from your fellow entrepreneur’s site? Ask her who she used to develop her brand!
Once you have a list of designers (start with 3 – 5 if you can), check out their website and their social media channels and pay close attention to their portfolio.
- What in the designer’s portfolio connects with you?
- Do you feel like their work is a good representation of the style you want to use to brand your business?
- What doesn’t appeal to you and do you feel like it is a deal breaker?
Using these questions you’ll be able to narrow your list to 2-3 designers. Now it is time to reach out to the designers to ask them questions about your specific project.
Experience Is a Must
Design is a broad spectrum of creativity. From website design to print design, you’re going to want to work alongside someone who has experience working with your particular needs. Here’s what I’m talking about, don’t hire an illustrator to design your website unless they have extensive experience in web design. Chat with each of your 2-3 designers about the project you have. Ask them about their client process and note what you like and don’t like about the conversation.
Cost Is King
Well, not really, but we’ve all heard the saying, “you get what you pay for.” The prices for design projects range from designer to designer. Talk to your designer about all of the costs involved—design fees, stock photo purchases, printing quotes, etc. Make sure that you receive an estimate of the work process in order to keep track of your costs. And don’t be afraid to tell your designer that you’re working on a strict budget. Ask them to shy away from super pricey stock photos if possible, and use fonts that can be purchased at a minimal fee if required. Being honest up front lets your designer know what your expectations are for this project.
Make a smart decision about where you’re investing in your business. If you cut costs in visual items such as branding, advertising, website development, etc, do you expect your returns to be greater? Shy away from the $5 logo sites and the big time design houses. Settle in where you are comfortable and confident in the work of the designer that you select.
Now it’s time to make your selection and narrow your list to your designer!
I know it’s going to shock you, but designers are not mind readers. This is where we need your help most of all! I always tell clients that their comments and ideas are the most important part of my brainstorming. I want to know the ins and outs of what you want to accomplish with each project. Before chatting with your designer, think about what you’re looking for.
- Do you have any thoughts about the design?
- Do you have any insight on what colors, fonts, textures, and/or styles do you want to include?
- What is your goal for your project (are you branding your company? Launching a new product? Opening a new location?)
By knowing what the expected end result is (from drawing in new clients to launching a new product) your designer is going to be able to capture exactly what you need. Our goal is to take your idea and make it a functioning piece of reality.
Now that you’ve worked through each of the above points, you and your designer are going to be on the same page. You both know what to expect from each other, the lines of communication are open and flowing well, and the end result is going to benefit you both!
Stephanie is a graphic designer and public relations specialist living just outside of Atlanta. She adores working with creative entrepreneurs and small businesses in order to allow them to present their personality through every piece of designed collateral. You can shoot her an email at [email protected] or join the VIPeach list with the other cool kids at www.thesavvypeach.com.
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