Have you ever needed a graphic designer for your brand or project? Perhaps you are in the process of looking for a designer and don’t know quite where to start. Maybe you have a limited budget and don’t know where to look. Choosing a designer is imperative for your brand’s growth and perception, especially in a world with so much visual clutter.
A graphic designer is a visual communicator who is able to bring a company’s vision to life. A professional designer typically has some graphic design training which includes an understanding of form, typography, color, composition and layout, just to name a few. It takes these skill sets, alongside creativity, to solve a design problem for a business’ visual communication such as: logo, branding system, package, website, information graphics, visual systems, guidelines.
There are many different types of designers with many skill sets, from print, branding, digital, animation, environmental, packaging, advertising to product. The type of project or industry you are in might dictate the type of designer you choose.
Budget, scope of work and deliverables vary between companies. An entrepreneur for instance might require one designer for a short period of time while a small business may need a team of designers or a design firm on an on-going basis to cover the project scope and deliverables.
If you are an entrepreneur with a limited budget, it’s a great idea to put some money aside for the design phase, as this can be one of the best investments you make for your brand. Even a limited budget might get you a junior designer or design student, for example.
For the small business with a larger scope of work and deliverables, a team of designers or a design firm might be a better fit. This team may include designers with different skill sets either, full-time or in-house, to manage and maintain the brand.
With so many graphic designers, skills and fees, searching for the right one can feel overwhelming. The role of a designer on your project might be a short-term freelance or a long-term contract scenario. Either way, be clear on your budget, deliverables and the scope of work. There are many different ways to search for a specific type of designer, freelancer or design firm. Here are a few of my recommendations.
Word-of-mouth: Ask colleagues, peers or other businesses for a recommendation. It’s a good place to start. If there is a designer whose work you admire, contact them. If they can’t take on your project they might recommend someone who can.
Internet: A little online homework goes a long way. This includes Pinterest, LinkedIn, Behance and Instagram. When you see a portfolio or work you like, visit the designer’s website for more information.
Design associations: I’ve been a member of the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) for years and it’s a good resource in regards to job postings and design resources. Look for other professional design associations with similar offerings in your area.
Headhunters and staffing agencies: Staffing agencies specializing in design can offer great design consultants, freelancers and full-time candidates. These include agencies such as Creative Hotlist, Creative Circle. Design headhunters can also be helpful.
Design schools: I would recommend this option for entrepreneurs who have a limited budget or for companies looking for in-house design interns. Over the years, many people have reached out to me for student recommendations and I am always happy to help wherever I can.
Other online design sources: There are many online design resources that provide logos and designs at low costs. My only caution would be to read up on the designer, look at their portfolios and understand their process before you sign up.
The right designer for your project can elevate your brand and attract more customers. Design is a great way for you to communicate effectively and in a more authentic way. Enjoy the experience and keep an open mind when working with a graphic designer. You can both come out learning a lot through the process.
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