How To Hire The Best Designer For Your Project
Over the past couple of years, I have talked with probably hundreds (and that's not an exaggeration) of either clients or potential clients, in person or virtually through clarity calls.
As a result, I have learned a couple of things about how to figure out if someone is the right fit for your design project.
Because not only have I served clients in a design capacity, but I've also hired people to support me in a variety of capacities, including design.
So there are a number of questions that I believe are very important for you to get clarity around in order to find somebody who's going to be the best designer for your project.
1) Know What You Need
But first things, first. The number one thing that we need is an understanding of what we need for our design projects.
Recently, I shared 10 questions to ask YOURSELF before hiring a designer, which starts as the foundation of today's training. If you didn’t catch that, go back and check it out.
Understanding what we need, getting clarity on who we're serving, why we're serving them, and the number one thing that we want to put out there first.
Do I need a new brand?
Do I need a refresh on my logo?
Do I need a website with custom code?
Do I need brand assets or collateral items?
Assets like an email signature or maybe a pdf or a workbook?
An email template for your email newsletter?
Do you need, brain strategy on top of the design stuff?
Are you looking for someone to help coach you in your business to help you know how to use your brand and build it out?
Knowing what you need when you're going in to hire a designer is really going to help you make the best decision. Hiring a designer should be an intentional and thoughtful process.
2) Play Some Hide And Seek (Hint: Your IT!)
Once you understand what you need for your business to move it forward, then you can start the search. And this is the fun part!
To begin researching, the number one thing I do personally is I ask people who they have used. Ask people whose opinion you trust. That's one of the best ways my clients come to me. The number one way I get business is through word of mouth referrals and that is a gift. The highest honor that you can give somebody that you've worked with is referring them if they’ve done quality work.
Next, there's a lot of community groups. I have one, it's called the Legacy Driven Entrepreneur. And you can go to places like that if you're looking for a recommendation. You can also connect on other social media platforms but I would first lean into Facebook groups and say, “hey guys, who have you used for X , who do you recommend?” and I'm telling you, the thread will just fill up.
You may then have an overabundance of options. But what you can do next is go and look at their social media and portfolios. See if you can find some of their work on Pinterest or Instagram or Behance. Portfolios are clues to the designer’s styles, strengths and capabilities.
Another option is to look at website that you personally love. A lot of times, at the bottom of a website, there'll be a footer attribution or it says “Site Credit” or “Design By”. Click on that and it will take you to the person who designed the website and you can look at the rest of their work. Typically they'll have a portfolio of other types of work that they've done.
Again this should be fun. I mean, this is just like really fun Internet stalking at its best, right? We're just looking at all their things and you can read their blogs, you can look at their portfolio, you can read their about page and see if they have any testimonials, look at the type of clients they work with.
Once you find someone whose style you like, make sure to consider if they offer all the design things that you need. Some people might just be illustrators and they don’t know website design. They have no experience with coding.
So if you are looking for something bigger than just, graphic design development, then you need to see if they offer all the things that you need for your business. Best case scenario, someone is a one stop shop for you.
But if you really, really, really love a certain type of work that someone does with their photography or their illustration or their graphic design, you can, by all means, work with one person for one thing and work with another for something else.
3) UNderstand the investment
This is an investment. And many people are surprised at the cost of good design, which is not so easy to do. Not being able to afford the investment doesn't necessarily mean you run to Fiverr or say a hard no to the designer you really want to work with. It might mean I have to wait to work with this person. If I really want this caliber of design, then I might need to wait and save up to work with them or see if they offer payments.
4) Connect on a calL
Once you have gotten some referrals, you've asked some Facebook groups, you've done a little bit of intentional, thoughtful stalking then the next step is to schedule a call like this one below
I recommend scheduling a call with a couple of different designers, getting a feel for the different interactions. And most designers, like myself, offer a free design strategy call. Sometimes it’s called a “clarity call” or a “discovery call” to figure out whether or not the potential client relationship is a good fit or not.
And these calls will typically last about 20, maybe 30 minutes. and this is an opportunity for you to get to know them and for them to get to know your needs and ask any questions to figure out if you guys are a good fit to serve each other.
Some topics that a designer will typically cover in those calls are
Your project concept
Investment and payments.
Turn around time
5) Consider the “click”
Consider the chemistry from the call. So after you've done a couple of those calls, ask yourself, “Who did I click best with?” Whoever your work with, it needs to be someone that you feel comfortable communicating with.
If you are trying to decide between a couple of people, some other questions I would ask myself are:
Does this person seem excited about my project?
Are they excited to work with me?
Are they going to be able to give me insight on things outside of the design? Like for example, if I need some branding strategy on top of the actual brand development, is that person going to be able to help me with that?
It could just be that you need to get a design asset done and you need to knock it out. And that is okay. But the ideal, when you're looking for the best fit and the best designer for your larger projects, you're going to want to be a little bit more thoughtful and intentional about these things.
6) Follow Up
If we're professionals and trying to interact in a professional manner it doesn't matter what industry you are in. Follow up is a key that is going to open so many doors for you because your communication will show you care. Whether you're hiring or you are trying to be hired, follow up is that human connection that people are looking for, whether or not you decide to move forward with somebody.
It’s as simple as saying, “Hey, thank you so much for your time.” “Thank you so much for meeting with me. Thank you so much for the insights you shared on the call.” “After a lot of careful consideration I’ve decided to go in a different direction” or “I've decided to wait and save up to work with you” or “I'm just not sure that this is the right fit for this time'“.