So you've been digging around the web trying to find some tips on hiring a designer. Most articles will be focused on businesses hiring design employees, but maybe you are a small business or maybe you aren't a business at all, just regular ol' human being. Here's an article just for you, no matter what your budget is.
Hiring a designer really isn't all that scary. Other sources may make you think otherwise but if you follow this advice, things should work out just fine.
- Write it out. What is it that you need designed and what does it need to accomplish? Try to be detailed. Writing it out first will help you gather your thoughts and communicate your needs more clearly.
- Know your budget. Many people under-value design and get a bit of sticker shock. Keep in mind the idiom "good work isn't cheap, cheap work isn't good."
- Know your deadline. Planning in advance can save you money by avoiding a rush fee. Calling or emailing in advance and asking about the possible turn-around time can help you establish a working time line.
- Shop around. You should find a designer that has some experience with similar projects and who's style will compliment yours. They should have a history of delivering designs that accomplish their objectives and were delivered on time and on budget. We obviously want to be the designer you pick but it's your choice and we respect that.
- Set expectations. This is a two-way rule. Both parties should understand the time line, budget and what the end product should be. If anything changes it needs to be communicated quickly.
- Communicate clearly. Email is awesome because you can distill your thoughts and leave a record for you and your designer to look back on. Calling, emailing and stopping by in-person can make communications confusing for both parties.
- Be a semi-silent partner. Over-communicating and under-communications can ruin a project. Calling or emailing 2-3 times a day takes your designer away from what they're doing, what you've hired them to do. Similarly, letting days/weeks go by before responding to an email or phone call can stall a project and risk blowing your deadline. Setting up a schedule for check-ins is a good idea.
- Organize your assets. Sometimes designers will need you to write-up some copy for your design or need a logo from you. Make sure you respond quickly as missing assets can delay a project deadline.
- Look at the proof. A good designer will send proofs of the work they're doing. Look at them very carefully and collect your feedback. Have someone else look at it too. When you approve of a proof, you're locking in that design and I can't be altered after that, it finalizes the sale.
- Pay up. For many designers, especially freelance designers, the payment you make is our rent and groceries. Late payments and non-payments suck for anyone, not just designers. Some projects will require a deposit to help solidify the terms and initiate the project. The finished project may also be "released" once you've made your final payment.