Everything you need to know to hire a Graphic Designer

Hiring a graphic designer can be an exciting step to take. Whether you’re looking to hire a graphic designer for a new logo, print on demand designs, branding, web page, brochure or advertisement, making the right choice for you and your company is important when trying to make the best impression. Although going through an agency is relatively efficient, it can be rather impersonal when compared to hiring a freelance graphic designer.

When working together with a freelance designer, consistent communication, a close relationship with clear expectations and goals is almost always guaranteed. In addition, freelancers tend to be more cost effective as they are usually paid either by project or by hours, and are on flexible hours.

In this guide on hiring a graphic designer we explain what a graphic designer does and give you the best tips on hiring a graphic designer. As a bonus we also have three tips on where to hire your next designer!

Why should you hire a Graphic Designer?

If you’re looking to expand the scope or reach of your company or brand, you’ll need top notch graphics. To achieve that, you’ll need a top notch designer. It’s important to know what type of relationship is best suited for your needs when determining whether to hire a freelance graphic designer or reach out to an agency.

Essentially, your freelance graphic designer will be responsible for bringing your brand or business to life, whether that be via a website, app, logo or commercial branding. They’ll be responsible for setting the mood and tone of your brand, as well as the overall customer perception. With this in mind, it is important that your graphic designer is increasingly familiar with your brand, your vision, goals and ethics. The right designer will be responsible for more than just a single project and will undoubtedly be involved in a significant portion of your branding and public perception.

hiring a graphic designer online
Hiring a graphic designer online – Photo by Antoni Shkraba – pexels

With competition heightening each and every day, it’s important to make sure that your brand stands out from the rest. Clients and customers are not only looking for a product or service but an experience. With the right graphic designer, all this and more is possible. Regardless of the choice you make, we’re going to be breaking down some tips and tricks on what to consider when going through the process of hiring a graphic designer.

For more, you can check out our articles on how to hire a virtual assistant or a web designer or freelancer.

What Does a Graphic Designer Do?

A Graphic Designer is a creative professional who combines art and technology to communicate ideas through visual elements. Graphic Designers use a variety of design elements such as typography, images, colour, and form to create visually appealing designs for clients. Therefore they must have an understanding of color theory, design principles, and brand identity guidelines. 

Most graphic designers work with various mediums including print, web, television, and motion graphics, but some are specialized in certain areas. For example, some designers are specialized in creating logos, while others are specialized in designs for t-shirts. Graphic designers often collaborate with marketers, art directors and other professionals to ensure that the design fits the client’s needs and vision for the project.

Graphic designers often use software such as Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator) to create digital designs which are then used in various applications such as websites, advertisements, logos and more. A Graphic Designer’s job is to make sure that their design communicates the intended message clearly and effectively while also being aesthetically pleasing.

What are the most common mistakes when hiring a graphic designer?

When hiring a graphic designer, one of the most common mistakes people make is not providing sufficient detail about the project. If a graphic designer does not know what is expected of them, they cannot deliver the best results.

Furthermore, you should be aware of the scope of the project, the timeline, and the budget before beginning the hiring process. Without this information, you cannot adequately determine if a graphic designer is the right fit for the job.

Additionally, you should avoid expecting a graphic designer to work for free in exchange for “exposure”. Graphic design is a skill that deserves to be compensated appropriately. So don’t ever, ever suggest it to the designer you want to hire.

Lastly, you should take the time to research potential hires. Graphic designers have a range of specialties and styles, and employers need to make sure that the designer has the skills necessary for the job. Taking time to thoroughly vet potential hires will ensure that the employer receives the perfect

Best tips on hiring a Graphic Designer

When it comes to hiring a graphic designer, it is important to take the time to find the right person for the job. As you can read in the previous paragraph, there’s a lot to keep in mind. The following tips will prevent you to make common mistakes and will help ensure that you end up with a talented graphic designer who meets your needs and produces quality results.

Discuss brand guidelines

As we mentioned earlier, the graphic designer that you hire is likely to be increasingly involved in the branding details of your company. With this in mind, it’s important that you clearly outline and discuss your brand guidelines together with your graphic designer. Make sure to explain what expectations you have in regards to your brand identity, and what messages, symbols or colours are appropriate for your target audience. Consider creating and sharing a detailed branding guide for added clarity and reference purposes. 

Discuss brand guidelines with your graphic designer
Discuss brand guidelines – Photo by Julia M Cameron, Pexels

Outline your needs and the project

When hiring a freelance designer it’s important to remember that they have no additional information on your brand unless it is provided by you. Before beginning a relationship with a freelance graphic designer, make sure that you have a clear outline of your needs and expectations. You’ll also need to make sure that the project you are going to be working on is laid out clearly and systematically – this will mean a much smoother work process.

Identify your budget and stick to it

Within the graphic design world, there is a wide range of pricing relative to what services are offered, experience, expertise and quality.

When hiring a freelancer, you are responsible for taking on the role of boss. You’ll be in charge of budgeting for your project as well as compensating your designers. Before hiring a graphic designer make sure you have identified your budget and are within a good range of it. You will also need to make sure that you have the budget to pay your freelancers at every pre-determined interval.

It’s also a good idea to discuss how payment will work to avoid any confusion later on in the work process. Decide whether you’d like to pay your graphic designer weekly, monthly or by project – this part is completely up to you and your graphic designer!

Give examples of your vision

When hiring a graphic designer it’s a good idea to have some examples of things you like as well as reasons why you like them. This will give all parties a clear vision of how the project at hand should turn out. Great marketing usually relies on the cues of other successful projects of a similar nature. A good graphic designer is likely to consider a number of layout and design options, compare his or her work to existing projects, and then come up with a new brand-specific idea for you.

Feedback and communication

Throughout the process of working with a freelancer, you’ll need to make sure that you maintain consistent and clear communication. By doing so, you’ll make both the process and the result a lot more efficient for both parties. During the brief and revision process, consider giving clear and direct feedback, review their work and provide detailed notes on what you liked and what you didn’t like.

At some point, we have all encountered unprofessional clients or employers who have made the work experience relatively unenjoyable. Make sure to remain honest and polite throughout the process with your graphic designer for optimal results.

Consider what you haven’t considered yet

Given that you’ve covered our previously mentioned points, it’s likely that you and your graphic designer have a clear idea regarding what the goal of the project is, as well as the process it involves. At this point, your designer should approach you with suggestions and ideas. Be sure to accept criticism as well as new concepts you may not have considered before.

Review their portfolio and credentials

Before hiring a graphic designer it’s important to take a look at their past work, portfolio and credentials. This should give you a clearer idea regarding what kind of worker they are, what designs they are capable of generating as well as any qualifications they may have.

design portfolio
Example of a design portfolio from Wintrygrey on 99designs

When taking a look at a portfolio, be sure to look out for details. Is it memorable? Is it appropriate within its context? Here you can also ask designers what the design process was like, getting more insight into what your work relationship may be like. Try and seek out designers that are able to communicate multiple levels of meaning within their designs. If you’re still unsure you can always reach out to a past client of theirs for some insight or peace of mind.

Ask questions

Simply put, if you have a question, ask it. Consistent and clear communication as we mentioned before is a crucial component of effective teamwork. If you are having doubts or are simply just curious about something don’t hesitate to reach out to your graphic designer and ask. Even if your freelancer is not considered an expert, they may be able to offer a differing opinion or perspective which is always refreshing – especially in design.

Respect their professional opinion

An experienced, qualified graphic designer is likely to know a little more about design and creativity than you, so make sure to be open to taking their opinion and advice in regards to the project at hand. It’s important that you look for a designer that challenges your thoughts on a particular project, bringing new, exciting and unique ideas to the table. Ensure that you stay open minded throughout the process!

Where to hire a Graphic Designer?

There are quite some options to hire highly skilled graphic designers for your design job. Best of all is that you can search for specific criteria in most cases, like designers that are specialized in brand design, game art, fashion design, designs for print on demand and much, much more. A few of our favourite places to hire a designer are Fiverr, 99Designs and Upwork.

Hiring a graphic designer at Fiverr

Hire a freelancer at Fiverr
Hiring a Graphic Designer 101: The Ultimate Guide 7

Fiverr is an online marketplace that brings together businesses (and consumers) with freelancers all over the world. You can hire graphic designers at Fiverr, but it’s also a great place to hire programmers, a virtual assistant, web designer or marketing experts.

Fiverr is well categorized into topics like Logo Design, Brand Style Guided, Game Art, Package Design and dozens more. This makes it easy to browse through the different freelancers. You can finetune by selecting specific options, like what you want services to include, seller details, budget and delivery time. For example: in the category logo design, you can choose between what kind of logo (minimalistic, 3D, mascot, signature, hand-drawn and so on). Always make sure to check out the reviews and the portfolio of each seller, because it provides you with a lot of useful information.

Hiring a graphic designer at 99Designs

hire a designer at 99designs
Hiring a Graphic Designer 101: The Ultimate Guide 8

In contrast to Fiverr and Upwork, 99Designs offers design services only. They operate in the same way as Fiverr and Upwork being a platform that connects freelancers with businesses and consumers. They have over 500k customers and over 1M+ projects have been completed on their platform.

You can get any design job done at 99designs, from Logo & Identity design to, Web & App design, Clothing & merchandise, Book & Magazine and a lot more.

The way it works: First you create a simple brief to help the designers understand what your design needs are. This is a simple process and takes a few minutes. Then you can choose to either hire a designer of your choice or start a contest. The great thing about starting a contest is that you get creative concepts from multiple designers. It’s perfect if you don’t know exactly what kind of style you are looking for. At the end of the contest you’ll end up with the design you love most. Of course it will be totally refined to your wishes, including all the files that you’ll need for print or digital use.

Hiring a graphic designer at Upwork

How to hire a freelancer at upwork
Hiring a Graphic Designer 101: The Ultimate Guide 9

Upwork can be compared most to Fiverr. Upwork connects businesses with freelancers, independent talent, and agencies around the globe. The platform has a different look and feel than Fiverr, because it works different. At Upwork you have two options, you can browse a project catalog (relative new feature, but similar to Fiverr), or you can Post a Job, which is the most common option.

Fiverr and Upwork offer the same kind of jobs, so it’s a great place if you are looking for graphic designers, but you can also find people to improve the SEO on your website, content writers and much more.

If you post a job then you can define what you are looking for. You can specify if you are looking for someone for a short period of time, just one project or for a longer cooperation. Then you write down what you are looking for, select specific skills, the scope and budget. Once you are done, you can publish the job on Upwork. You can browse through freelancers, but you can also wait for freelancers that apply to your job offer.

You can browse through the freelancers reviews, work experience, job success rate, earnings, portfolio and much more criteria.

Like Fiverr there are dozens of categories to chose from.

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