HOW TO HIRE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER: PORTFOLIO REVIEW & CONTACT
Hiring the right designer is like swiping on a dating app. You’re initially attracted by what’s presented to you, flashy client names, a great project example, and maybe a large social media following--basically the best aspects of someone. But like dating, if you don’t do a little light background checking, the designer you thought was a perfect match, could be anything, but.
Hiring a designer is exactly like dating, both you and the designer are making a commitment to each other, to invest a certain amount of time and a certain level of communication with each other. Both parties have certain needs and expectations that need to be met in order for the relationship to work. There is nothing worse than putting time, money, and energy into something, only for it to fall through unexpectedly.
You want to make sure that no one’s time is wasted, so do your due diligence and research, research, research. When it comes to hiring a designer, there can never be enough prep and background work, here are some steps to help you in your designer hiring process.
STEP 1: KNOW WHAT YOUR DESIGN NEEDS ARE
What do you need designed? Have an understanding of the full scope of your project, research examples of similar projects you can use as a reference and show to prospective designers.
STEP 2: PORTFOLIO REVIEW
This step is SO IMPORTANT, and so often not done. Before I get into how to review a designers portfolio Let’s look at hiring a designer like buying a car. You know what kind of car you want, you may even know the exact model & color. Then you research different car dealerships to make sure they have the car that you want. You wouldn’t go to Nissan dealership when you want to buy a Rolls-Royce. So why would you contact a motion designer for print work or hire a designer with a modern aesthetic for a more traditional design? Many people think that all graphic designers create the same type of designs which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most designers have a specialty, there’s print design then there’s digital design. There are over 30 specialties within those two design fields. Within those specialties there are countless design styles and designer aesthetics.
Begin the review process by researching various designers, taking a careful look at their portfolios. Look through every project that’s relevant to your design needs, making sure that the designer has already created the type of design you need. Also, make sure to analyze the designer’s style, making sure their aesthetic matches the style needed for your project.
A portfolio review should take you no less than 5 minutes. Really look at a designers work, don’t be satisfied with a list of clients. Click on each project, look them up on LinkedIn, check out their social media. Make sure that their work is aligned with your design needs and make sure the designer themselves will be a good fit for you, personally.
STEP 3: CREATE A BRIEF BRIEF
Most designers will send you a creative brief to fill out before they begin working on your project, but creating a short brief yourself is a helpful way to give you a better understanding of the scope of your project so you know how to describe your ask to prospective designers and it’s convenient to have all project info is in one place. *See the end of this post for a sample brief*
Your brief should include the following:
Category of your project
Logo, Branding, Motion, Social Media, User Experience, etc...
Description of your project
A basic description of what you need designed (quantities, design style, dimensions, etc…)
The deadline you need the project completed or when you want to begin
Your contact information
List your preferred method of contact, but keep in mind however the designer prefers to be contacted will be how you have to contact them
STEP 4: CONTACT SOME DESIGNERS
Reach out to at least two designers, including information from the brief mentioned in step 3. Introduce yourself, tell them who you are, what your business is, what the project is and why you’re reaching out to them. Make sure to include next steps, whether that’s you reaching out again in a week or having the designer get back to you.
If you start to put as much time as you do stalking a crush online into looking into the background of the creative you want to hire, you may find your perfect match sooner than you think.
Click Here, for an example of a client brief and a sample cold-email.