7 Aspects to Consider Before Hiring a Graphic Designer

Sooner or later we all need an awesome graphic designer. In today’s visual world the eye-catching appeal of quality design work amplifies our marketing tactics and can almost be necessary to compete.

Like marketing itself graphic design is a constantly evolving trade with new devices, apps and social media constraints to consider and work into a design strategy, and these constraints can often set apart a good graphic designer from a great one. Like any other employee, you want to understand what traits to look for in a new hire; however, graphic design can be tricky because there are so many graphic designers out there in 2017. It can be tough to differentiate which designers have the expertise that your company needs.

Take a look at some qualities found in successful graphic designers below along with a few sample questions so that you can ensure you’re hiring the right person to bring you closer to your business goals.

They Have Designed on Different Surfaces and Mediums

You’ll find that many graphic designers specialize in one type of design, yet most can adapt to different mediums as needed. Think about what you may want designed in the future and then make sure the designer has experience. For example, while designing a menu and then designing an advertisement for a magazine might be somewhat similar, designing an infographic and designing a design for a truck wrapping can be completely different.

Q: Do you have a blog or social media presence?
Graphic designers who have a blog to showcase work and have an active social media presence show promise because they have confidence in what they do and know how to market their work. Those who do this are more likely to bring expertise to the table and offer advice to better your brand. Those who understand their own brand are more likely to be able to ask the right questions to understand their client’s brand.

Communication Free of Jargon

To state the obvious, positive and helpful communication can make any relationship easier and stronger. You’ll want a graphic designer who can communicate any hiccups found in the design process in a timely manner. If a designer continues to run into problems, but refuses to address the issues with their client and instead tries to work it out themselves or work around the issue, only more issues can come from that. This is particularly important when it comes to graphic design because design is so much about opinion (not so obvious problems) and spacing, size, and theme (very obvious problems).

Q: How do you best work with your clients?

Understanding how they work best with clients will give you great insight into what works best for them and also how they can morph their work styles to have a positive relationship with each of their different clients. This question can also be turned around to ask how clients would describe working with them. This is a great to see positive testimonials from previous clients. Nothing is better than a possible employee who has clients with great relationships. On the other hand, if they do not have any positive testimonials, they may not be able to sustain a good working relationship with clients, which is a big red flag.

They Know about Photo Editing and Photography

Any graphic designer will tell you that photo editing and design are two completely different animals. Finding someone with both is going to cost you big bucks, but for many businesses this is something to consider. If your company will want to use a lot of photos from your shop/store, you may need a designer who has a little bit of background editing photos to fit your design. The moral of the story: Don’t just assume that all designers have this skill.

They Understand Marketing and Your Industry

This idea is two-fold. You’re hiring a graphic design to create brand consistency in all collateral, advertisements, infographics, etc., so what the graphic designer is doing for your brand is incredibly important. Their job is to communicate your brand, story and mission through graphics. If the designer does not have a grasp on your company’s needs, they cannot properly convey your brand to your customers. This is mainly on the business owner, but something to consider when hiring. Do they have experience in your industry? Or in an agency setting?

If a graphic designer has any kind of marketing background, this is also a huge benefit. While you may be tempted to go straight for someone with all the graphic design experience in the world, those who understand marketing will likely be able to bring creativity and persuasion. Your marketing team should be working closely with your designer, so it’s not necessary, but it’s a perk.

Q: What motivated you to apply for this position?
This should not only get you an answer about what their motivations are for seeking a job in general, but how they understand and relate to your company. You want a graphic designer who understands your company goals and is able to demonstrate that through the graphics and designs they choose to emulate the company. If they haven’t done any research on your company and are simply looking for something to pay the bills, they will struggle to offer your company intriguing and exclusively original content.

Q: What is your design aesthetic?
This question can help you understand how their work would integrate into your brand. If you’re interviewing a designer who shines with edgy, modern cartoons and you’re in need of someone to help brand your conservative and authoritative company, the two will clash. Ultimately, hints of the designer’s style will become your company’s style. Below shows a very obvious example of what this means:

Open-Minded Attitude
In the industry, it’s crucial for graphic designers be open-minded about the types of design strategies they use and how they can implement them in new ways for different clients. This is particularly important if you are an agency hiring a designer. Great designers must also be open to criticism and have the ability to take that criticism and turn it into a positive working experience with their client. This will also build on client communications and improve on taking direction.
Q: What is your design process?
The answer to this question will give you an idea of how exactly the designer understands the product or brand, how they generate ideas to diversify a product and how they work with employers. This question will give you insight into how they work and will increase your relationship, which can only be positive.

Expect at Least 3 Major Revisions

A designer should not charge you for every little change you have to make. In design, you’re going to want to see what differences in your ideas may look like on paper, so it’s important that the designer is willing to work with you to make these revisions. How many revisions you would like to negotiate is up to you, just make sure you have the conversation. We always ask for at least 4 major revisions with the expectation that small typos or font changes will be included.

You Will Own the Work You Pay For (Agency Only)

Hiring a graphic designer full time or a freelance individual should not have an issue with this, but if you hire a graphic design agency or company you have to be careful. Make sure that you know you own the actual artwork that you pay for. Many designers will design the work for you but never give you the design files, which means certain images, fonts, etc. that are used will forever be the knowledge of that company, making it tough for you to make a switch in the future while keeping consistent branding.

The Takeaway

In some ways, a graphic designer needs to be an advocate for their own brand in order to be an advocate for other brands. Designers should have their own voice and style yet still be able to mold it to their client’s needs. When it comes down to it, it’s up to you to think about what you’re designing and trying to accomplish, relay that information clearly, and let the designer offer you a few samples.

Hiring a graphic designer (freelance or full time) who understands your brand, your team and how they can fit into your organization is of the utmost importance. Hiring the wrong designer can set back your marketing strategy and cause confusion of your brand goals. Take the opportunity of an interview with a graphic designer to take your brand to the next level and offer more for your upcoming campaigns. Understanding your goals and how they can beef up your brand are extremely important.
Have you hired a graphic designer in the past? Let us know what worked for you and what did not in your process to find the right person for your team!

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4 thoughts on “7 Aspects to Consider Before Hiring a Graphic Designer

  • That makes sense that social media presence indicates an ability to market themselves. You’re looking for a designer for advertising, right? Even just the layout of a site will inform; graphic design is layouts, copy, and art.

  • My wife is thinking about hiring a graphic designer for a company she wants to start but isn’t sure yet. I like that you talking about how if a graphic designer doesn’t understand your company or brand then they won’t be able to convey it to customers through their design. I think communication between the client and artist is really important so you are on the same page. Thanks for the tips!

  • Graphic designer should always be motivated for creating new artwork and designs. Designer should always be looking for inspiration. The points you have stated will benefit a lot of people who are looking for a designer as these are the most important aspects which which should be looked while appointing a graphic designer. Thanks for sharing.

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