Hiring a professional designer (a web designer, logo designer, or something else) can be a daunting task. Here are five tips to help you hire someone you’ll feel GREAT about from start to finish.
Whether you’ve never hired a designer before or you’ve done it a dozen times, either way, it’s a process that requires great thought and care. After all, there’s a lot on the line for you. Not only will it mean a significant investment of your time, energy, and money – but most of all, it’s important that you’ll be happy with your results and feel they’ll serve your business for years to come.
So as such, you want to get it right. By this, I don’t mean that you hire the BEST designer but rather that you hire the best designer for YOU.
I hope the five steps below will assist you on your journey of finding that person to help you craft something that truly matters for your business – whether that’s a new website, logo, business card, or something else.
Ready? Here we go! 🚀
Step 1: Check Out Their Work + Portfolio
(Screenshot taken from the brilliant Stephanie Layton’s Red Scandal Graphics website)
I have a rule that I never take on a new client unless they like (or hopefully love) my work. The way I see it, if they don’t, I’m doing them a great disservice in letting them hire me. (Not to mention it’s probably going to be pretty darn difficult to make them happy). So do yourself AND your designer a favor: look over their portfolio before deciding to hire them.
- Resist the urge to form an opinion based on just one or two portfolio examples alone. A good designer will have the flexibility and creativity to cater to all sorts of different projects, and you’ll want to browse their work enough so you can gain a sense of this.
- Keep in mind that no designer will have an example in their portfolio that is exactly what you need because they haven’t worked with you yet! If you appreciate their general aesthetic and approach, that’s enough.
- If a designer’s website is under construction, ask them to send you at least 10 samples of their work. If they’re not able to send you samples, consider that a sign and move on to your next candidate.
- Remember: you deserve to work with a designer whose work you LOVE!
Step 2: Talk to a Few of Their Past Clients
In truth, any designer can paste raving testimonials on their website. A short email exchange or phone call with one or two past clients will tell you the world about how a designer’s clients truly feel about them. Any designer worth hiring will be happy to provide you with a few references, and the best ones will include these in their proposal to make your life easier.
Good questions to ask references:
- What was your overall experience like working with this designer?
- Did you have any hiccups in the process and how were these handled?
- What did you particularly appreciate about this person’s process or work ethic?
- Would you recommend them to me wholeheartedly? Why or why not?
Step 3: Look at Their Google Reviews
Most providers these days are on Google My Business and the good ones will have at least a handful of reviews on their profiles, so take a look! The great thing about Google reviews is that you know they’re authentic because they were posted by individuals who were logged into their own Google accounts when posting a review.
- If you notice a designer has no Google reviews, it could be that they ask their clients for them on a different platform such as Facebook or Yelp. Feel free to reach out and ask about this if you’re not sure.
- Always look for those less-than-5-star reviews, but at the same time, if you notice that the vast majority of reviews are excellent with only a few poor ones, it most likely means there were some very difficult and demanding clients as opposed to bad service.
Step 4: Identify What’s MOST Important to You, and Make Sure You’re on the Same Page
Do you have any highly specific requests that are important to you? For example, do you need a quick turnaround time or is it imperative that you can edit your website without anyone else’s help? If you have specific needs or know you need help with very specific things, make a point of bringing these up with your designer BEFORE you start working with them. The best client/designer relationships are the ones with zero surprises down the road.
- Make sure your and your designer’s timelines are in agreement so there are no miscommunications or disappointments.
- Before commencing work, your designer should send you a Statement of Work (SOW) that includes everything they will do for you as part of your agreement. If something is not listed in this SOW, assume that it is NOT included in the project.
Step 5: Pay Attention to Pink Flags (and Your Intuition!)
Was your designer 10 minutes late to your first Zoom meeting? Do they seem to take a long time to email you back? Whatever sorts of habits you perceive about them before you hire them, don’t fall into the trap of believing that once you become their client you’ll be a higher priority. More often than not what you see is what you get. If anything, designers should be on their best behavior now while they’re trying to “woo” you 😉
- All too often, your gut feeling about someone will be right. If you have a good feeling about one designer and a bad feeling about another, pay attention to that. Even if one is less expensive than another, no savings will be worth entering into a working relationship that is ultimately a bad fit.
- You deserve to work with a designer who not only can do a sufficient job but is also genuinely excited about the work you’re doing and helping you do more of it. It’s worth waiting to find the designer who is right.
When business owners begin the search of finding a designer, a common fear is hiring the wrong person – and with good reason. Partnering with the wrong designer on a website or logo only leads to disappointment with the results. The good news, however, is that by heeding the five tips above, you can ensure you’ll end up with a designer who you not only like, but who you’re positively delighted with!
Looking for a designer?
If you’re looking for a website design or redesign, I’d love to chat with you. If I don’t think I’m the right designer for your needs, I will absolutely tell you. I have a comprehensive portfolio on my website and have over 50 five-star reviews on Google. My goal is not to have every prospective client hire me. My goal is to work with the ones with whom it makes perfect sense❤️ If you’d like to find out if that’s us, feel free to reach out!