Linda Sturling, is a Freelance Graphic Designer in Los Angeles, but services everywhere. Her freelance forte as a designer includes logo design, ads, web design, brochures and communications materials.
How Do I Hire a Freelance Graphic Designer?
Your business is going to always need a graphic designer, no matter what industry you operate in. If you have already realized their need, you may be a little confused because you don’t know how to go about their hiring process. There are some things you may want to keep in mind to ensure you hire a great freelance graphic designer who is perfect for the job.
There is no need to be confused anymore. I’m here to enlighten you about everything you need to know. Before we dive in into this process, you need to consider the pros and cons of freelance graphic designers.
We thought it’s best to get rid of the negatives first. It is not uncommon you come across freelance graphic designers who don’t know much about your brand and its objectives. Which is why briefing these freelance graphic designers is important and may take some well valued time during your initial meeting, phone call or email. While we’re on the topic of briefs, you should also know that it may be difficult for them to work outside normal business working hours, and they may not be accustomed to “overtime” so to speak, working on weekends, or to join you in meetings if your location is not within a reasonable driving distance. The good news is these are the only cons!
Freelance designers are paid by a flat-fee or hourly fee and can be selected according to your preferences and with respect to your project’s needs. They are usually hired on a project to project basis and thus designers can be hired to accommodate your business model and when you need them most.
Even if your company works with in-house graphic designers, it is always a good idea to have a few freelance designers on board too. They will always supplement your graphic designing needs by not overwhelming the in-house team and by offering up more creativity as they are not restrained nor stifled by office politics, red tape, and hierarchy.
Another important aspect to remember is that after an artist has made a design for you and has learned about your brand, company or organization, making graphics for you in the future will be much easier. So if you’ve found a graphic designer who can make your logo, brochure or ad and you’re really happy with the results, now that she understands your branding and style well, she can also make a great website or do a web redesign for an updated look so it doesn’t fall behind in the times.
Now in order to know where you stand and where you need to be getting at, you will have to set some expectations for projects. Let’s have a look at how to go about this process.
Clarify What You’re Looking For
First off, make a list of what you need the freelance graphic designers for. This could be for posters, flyers, logos, themes or forming the basic identity of your brand using fonts, palettes, and colors.
If you don’t have an idea of what exactly it is you need from your designer, then you should create an inspiration board. This can also be done using Pinterest, where you can pin whatever catches your eye. This can then be communicated to your designer so they can get a basic idea of what you’re looking for.
Another important aspect to consider is your company’s demographic. Graphic designers benefit in knowing whether their designs would cater to senior folks, children or a particular target audience. Communicating this to graphic designers is very helpful.
Evaluating Design Portfolios
Now that you know why you want a graphic designer and what you should expect of them – we can move on to how you should go about selecting the right designer.
The best method of evaluating whether or not a graphic designer is perfect for your business is by having a look at their existing work to evaluate their artistic skill. You may have access to their portfolio via their website and you can also ask for work that has not been published on the site. When you have a look at it, you can gauge their artistic abilities and their eye for design, especially as it is applied in a commercial manner. As you want pretty graphics that ultimately work towards your goal.
An experienced designer who has worked in the commercial realm is very familiar with marketing lingo, such as conversion rate, click-through rate, google analytics and other software products and has also worked on designing graphics for digital advertising and internet campaigns. This is important because digital campaigns can be quite influential and successful when used appropriately. They are also very telling as opposed to traditional marketing because of the amount of data and analytics reporting. Another key take-a-away, is that a graphic designer who has worked on such campaigns has probably worked on multivariate and A/B testing of designs, such as ads, landing pages and even micro-elements of a campaign. The knowledge gained in such experiments is invaluable as she has learned overtime what works across industries and in different campaign parameters.
When you’re having a look at portfolios of graphic designers, you should keep an eye out for the following:
Great Artistic Samples
An artist with great artistic skill will be easy to see as she has worked with a wide variety of clients across many different industries. This shows her ability to listen and communicate well with all walks of life and distill ideas. It also shows she is limitless in expressing creativity and is dedicated to doing her best regardless of project size or scope.
Ideally, you should be looking for someone who can draw out your goals and express your brand and objectives in a creative manner that attracts attention while also respecting your brand. A freelance graphic designer who has worked with multiple agencies and marketers will also understand the business aspect of graphic design more. She will understand your use of a creative brief which usually has technical jargon, project scope, audience, and other expectations and considerations. Graphic designers with this experience are a huge plus because their understanding goes beyond merely creating a beautiful design.
The Right Design Aesthetic
If you don’t have a creative brief, or need assistance in this capacity, a top designer with a keen ability in understanding the way graphics, fonts, spacing, colors, images, and other aspects affect human consciousness and unconsciousness is very helpful. If you don’t have a creative brief, a really good designer will know what questions to ask and how to research to get the answers she seeks to familiarize herself with your brand identity and create an effective design.
You may also want to communicate the kind of design aesthetics you want, and what you think your ideal client or audience is. The more you communicate to a graphic designer the things that you think or see are important to your business and your customers, the better.
The Hiring Process
Now that you’ve shortlisted your selections, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty details of the hiring process – so that it can be made as smooth as possible.
Communicating With the Designer
Now that you’ve found her, let the graphic designer know you’re interested in her services. You can just pick up your cellphone, call and talk or if you prefer email, do so. Don’t hesitate to go into details in an email or jot down some notes before you call as that might help you organize your thoughts. Not having details drawn out is fine, too, as a really good graphic designer knows how to ask the right questions to draw out the information she needs. Then discuss your expectations and desires with the graphic design so that both parties can formulate an agreement that everyone is happy with.
Share your budget with the designer so that she can tell you if that is realistic and doable. Pricing policies of graphic designers depend on the type of project, and what the expectations and requirements are.
Their quotation of a fair rate depends on several factors, such as the scope, and depth of your project, and their experience in the industry. An experienced freelance graphic designer already knows about how much time projects generally take. These graphic designers know to allow ample time so as not to cut corners on the quality of your project.
Marketers know that the cost should be thought of as a byproduct as they want a very high standard of quality because accomplishing goals, in the end, will outweigh, outshine and out pay winnings.
Other than the price, you should also discuss the terms of payment. This usually falls into two types, that is, graphic designers that charge 50% now and 50% later, or they are going to charge by the hour. All of these terms should be ironed out beforehand so that disruptions don’t occur mid-project. So go ahead and ask away as you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.