Choosing a Designer: 10 Things to Keep in Mind

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Once you make the decision to hire a graphic designer, choosing a designer might feel a bit daunting. Below, you’ll find 10 things every designer hopes their perfect client will keep in mind when hiring a professional! But they may never actually say these things to you. LOL! I’m not kidding, I would absolutely love for each of my clients to have thought through all of this before choosing their designer. 🙂

Chat with the person you are hiring before choosing a designer.

Have some sort of contact with the designer before you spend your hard earned money with them. Don’t just take their word for it on their ability to help you with your branding. Ask around, get referrals or recommendations from business Besties that you trust. Do your research. One designer is not the same as another.

Ask to see the designer’s portfolio.

Take a look at their previous work before hiring a designer. See what the quality is. Do they create custom work or do all their designs look like reiterations of each other, or worse, logo art they downloaded from a free site? Will you end up with a unique logo or one that looks like everyone else’s in your niche? Be sure they are knowledgeable and have experience in designing the look you need for your business model. The ol’ adage, “You get what you pay for.” really is true when it comes to logo and graphic design.

Be sure they design in the style you are looking for.

There are many different artistic styles out there. And each designer will have their own design aesthetic. Make sure your designer can and will create the look that you are going for with your branding. For example, my design aesthetic is a custom hand-drawn look and I focus specifically on helping female micro-business owners. Another designer might be more suited to design a corporate logo for a bigger-size business than I would.

Be realistic about design process expectations.

Often, I have come across clients who want their logos done ASAP and in their head that means, tomorrow. A one-day turnaround is amazing, but not entirely realistic. LOL! I will tell you that my design process is about 2-3 weeks long on average. The designer you choose will most likely have multiple projects in their queue as well as creating content for their own business. Besides, juggling everything, they should also spend a good amount of time communicating with you about your vision and understanding exactly what they will create for you. And keep you updated along the way with their progress. If you pay someone for their services and don’t hear boo from them for weeks, that is poor customer service and definitely something you should check in on.

Be quick to respond with your feedback along the way.

Providing prompt feedback is one way to insure receiving your graphic creation as quickly as possible. When I am working on someone’s project and I send them something to review, they will most likely get their design back more quickly if they respond immediately. It is understandable if that is not possible, but as a designer, if I don’t hear back from someone within 30-60 minutes of posting a mockup, I will move on to another project for the day and circle back later on. It’s the only way we can remain productive and move forward in our business.

Oh! And be HONEST with your feedback! I 1000% want to hear if you don’t like something. And you’re not going to hurt my feelings. LOL! I think of designing almost as a dance with my client. It’s a conversation. We move in one direction and see how that goes. If it hits the mark, we keep moving forward. If it’s not quite right, we pivot and try something a little different. But the reality is, you will not get something you are happy with if you’re trying to please the designer and not yourself. It’s ok, we have thick skin. 😉

Listen to the advice of your designer.

I know this sounds like a no-brainer. But, if your designer is encouraging you to take a different route or choose a different color, or make a font more readable, it might be wise to listen to them. You’re choosing your designer because they have more knowledge in that area than you do. I guarantee, your happiness is (or should be) their #1 priority, but not to the detriment of your design. They are simply doing their best to provide you with a design that will work well for you across the board in your branding and your business.

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Unless your designer is also a brand coach/strategist, know what you want BEFORE you connect with them.

Unless brand strategy and coaching is part of your package, please make sure you have a very good idea what you want BEFORE choosing your designer. It will save you time. It will save your designer time. It will be less frustrating for all. Don’t mistake what I’m saying, it’s totally ok if your vision evolves after talking with your designer. They are there to advise you after all. What I mean here is….already have some sort of starting point for the discussion.

If you have no idea what you want or what elements you should have, work with a coach first, then contact your designer.

Yes, if you feel you are not even at a starting point for describing your brand vision yet, it will be best to work with a branding coach first. They will make sure you have your ideal client profile nailed down; and some sort of direction chosen before communicating with the designer. Often times, your graphic designer will also be a branding coach. Just let them know in the initial conversation that you may need help heading down the right path for your brand.

The more specific you are in describing your vision, the better your design will be.

I feel like I’ve probably killed this idea to death here in this post, but it’s so important to know what you want! Either that, or trust your designer implicitly and give them creative license with the amount of information you do give them. BUT, also be considerate your designer’s time. If you don’t know what you want, and they create something for you to review. Take that as an opportunity to then make decisions and lead them to what you do want. If you are someone that has a hard time making decisions, this is one instance where you may have to force yourself to try going in one direction. (Branding can always evolve!) Often, a designer has sold you a package price for your logo based on the average time it takes them to create the average logo.

Please be aware of this, and if a project seems to be taking longer, or needs extra revisions, don’t make the designer ask you to pay them more for their time. OFFER to pay them for extra design time and have them invoice you for it. Designers have to be competitive in a market that offers $5 logos, but at the same time value their work.

They will so appreciate you realizing the value they are providing you! A lot of time is spent sketching, researching fonts, colors, design elements, and even just thinking about your design concept. Far more time than most designers ever actually charge their clients for.

Be realistic in your expectations of the final design.

If a designer has been doing their thing for any small length of time, they understand there are all different personalities out there. And, I’m going to be honest with you, we usually have a LOT of patience. LOL! 🙂 More than the average person. Customer service is one of the main tenants of my brand. I want to make sure you walk away happy with what I’ve created for you. And I’m positive other good designers feel the same way.

Be sure to keep the bigger picture in mind when making final revisions to your designs. Are the colors right? Are the fonts readable? Do you feel the overall look of your brand is represented? Remember, most likely you are going to use your logo quite small in the corner of your social media graphic as a watermark. Often, what you are looking at when you see a mockup is maybe the largest version your logo will ever be. Don’t nitpick the tiniest of details (unless you’re planning to use the logo on a billboard or event signage. And make sure that need is communicated with your designer if you do plan on that. LOL!) If it’s close, and significant time as been spent on the project, call it “done is better than perfect”. And, move on to more income producing activities. Your brand and your logo can evolve right along with you and as your business grows.

Final Thoughts

These are all the things your designer really wants to say to you, but most likely never will. But I guess the cat’s out of the bag now! LOL! Many of us are quiet, patient, people-pleasers. Not saying these things is all part of the balance of customer service. I guarantee, if you keep all this in mind when you’re choosing a designer and how you approach working with them, you will be your designer’s most favorite client ever!!!

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