How To Find A Great Graphic Designer
Graphic designers are the masterminds behind branding that grabs your attention. These artistic professionals combine the right colors, fonts, and shapes to make your business stand out. Branding is essential to marketing your company effectively, since it helps new customers understand who your company serves.
A graphic designer or graphic artist can provide your company with the perfect logo, which is essential for businesses of any size. However, logo design isn’t the only thing a graphic designer is capable of – they can also create marketing tools, product packaging designs, and website ads to reach your target audience. A great graphic designer will make sure each of these items accurately reflects your brand.
You can hire a marketing firm to handle your branding needs, or a freelance graphic designer. Design firms may have more than one professional working on your project so it gets done quickly and efficiently. Agencies may also be able to handle not just the design, but the printing and more advanced web development for your future projects.
Instead of working as an employee for a creative agency, a freelancer is a sole proprietor – in other words, they’re running a one man show. A freelancer may have years of experience, or they might be working their way through school. Despite not being associated with a large, reputable agency, freelance designers can deliver solid results.
There is also a middle ground of hiring a smaller creative boutique that is not as big as the larger marketing firms, but also not just a sole proprietor.
If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely already decided to hire a freelance graphic designer or graphic design agency for your next design project. You already know that you need a designer who produces high quality results. Now, it’s time to find the best person or team for the job. Graphic design professionals can be found all over the Internet, which means many of them don’t have to prove their qualifications before advertising themselves. Read on to learn how to find the best graphic designer, along with how to weed out your unqualified candidates!
Where Can I Find A Graphic Design Agency?
Simple answer, Google. Do a Google Search in your area, for example “NYC Design Agency”, and see which graphic design agencies show up. Take a look at their websites and see if you like their design style. Read through their reviews to get a better idea of how they worked with clients. You can also find them on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Another way to find a reputable design firm is to ask around. Many agencies get most of their design projects from word of mouth. One person got a great logo from Company X and then tells a friend looking for a website design to give Company X a call. Company X has already established trust with the friend, so that can be half the battle.
Where Can I Find A Freelance Graphic Designer?
Freelance designers are easy to find. Many have their own websites, even more advertise their services on freelance websites and social media. Perhaps the easiest places to find freelancers are websites dedicated specifically to online gigs. On Fiverr, you can find graphic designers that offer a variety of services for as little as $5 per project. Verified, high-quality freelancers can be found on Fiverr Pro. Although these designers charge more than typical Fiverr sellers, their work is usually better quality.
Similar websites that host freelance designers include Upwork and Legiit. All of these websites allow customers to write reviews, so be sure to check the review page before selecting a freelance designer.
In addition to these websites, graphic designers can be found in Facebook groups for freelancers. When using Facebook to hire a freelancer, make sure you’re not falling for a scam. Freelancing platforms have buyer protections built into their sites, but Facebook does not. Never give a freelancer your credit card information – instead, pay them through PayPal, which has buyer protections for customers like you.
If you live close to a college, you can hire a student to complete your graphic design projects. This partnership will be mutually beneficial. You can get your digital art needs met for less than the cost of a professional freelancer, and the student will gain valuable paid experience in their field. You should still request to see any past work that they’ve done, and only hire a junior or senior in college.
Both freelance designers and design agencies attend local networking events to connect with businesses who may need their services. Check out LinkedIn, Meetup, Facebook, and your local chamber of commerce to find networking events to go to. Do not make any hiring decisions on the spot. Instead, exchange business cards, request to look at their portfolio, and visit their website to make sure they’re the real deal.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Graphic Designer?
Your business can find a great graphic designer on any budget, but high quality work tends to cost more. If you decide to work with a creative agency, prices can be set by hourly or per project. Hourly rates vary from $50 – $250, on average $75/hour depending on agency location. Per project pricing for a good logo can cost you anywhere from $300-$3,000, some firms can even charge more.
If you give a freelancer a shot, you can have certain digital art needs met for as little as $5. Logo design from a Fiverr Pro seller will cost anywhere from $300 to over $800. On Upwork, freelancers are paid per hour as well as per project. Expect to see rates between $20 and $150 per hour, with an average rate of $45/hour. An expert freelancer from the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada might charge at least $75/hour, whereas an expert graphic designer from Southeast Asia may charge less. While you often get what you pay for, different countries have different costs of living. Therefore, a freelancer from the Philippines is likely to charge less than an American.
What Does High Quality Graphic Design Look Like?
Anyone can open up a graphics processing program and create an image, but it takes someone who knows what they’re doing to make high quality digital art. Seeing a designer’s portfolio will give you an idea of what their finished products look like. However, it doesn’t always show the true quality and usability of their work. To weed out designers who aren’t professionals, ask each candidate the following questions:
“Which Programs Do You Use For Graphic Design?”
Graphic design professionals use Photoshop or Illustrator to create high quality graphics such as logo design. These programs offer a wide array of features, including the ability to make vector graphics. Logos absolutely need to be vector graphics – otherwise, you won’t be able to resize them to fit different needs. Although some products (like business cards) do not need to be resized and are therefore suitable as raster files, anything used in your company’s branding needs to be delivered in a vector format.
GIMP is another decent graphic design program; however, it’s mainly used for raster graphics. Some graphic designers prefer GIMP because it’s free to use. Freelancers might use GIMP to create their art; then, they can vectorize it in a free vector graphics program like Inkscape.
Stay away from freelance graphic designers who use Canva or any other program that provides fonts, shapes, and design elements to the user. Images created in these programs usually can’t be used for logos or branding purposes because the elements are not licensed for commercial use. In other words, a graphic designer cannot sell you an image made in Canva.
“Which Format Will You Use To Deliver My Files?”
Different file formats are suitable for different types of digital art. Photographs should be delivered in .JPEG format with a resolution of 300 dpi. However, any files that contain text, lines, and icons should be delivered in .PNG format – at least 72 dpi for web-only graphics that will not be resized, and 300 dpi for anything else. That means most, if not all of your graphic design projects should be delivered to you as .PNG files. Your graphic designer should be well aware of this already, as these are standard guidelines.
A logo or other web graphic in .JPEG format will be noticeably different from one delivered in the proper .PNG format. .JPEG compresses the file’s information, which makes it great for photographs. However, you’ll lose information that makes a web image or logo look presentable. Your graphics will be too pixelated and blurry to be usable.
If you’ve ever printed an image off of the Internet that just didn’t look the same on paper, the resolution might have been to blame. The abbreviation, “dpi” stands for “dots per inch.” In other words, this is the amount of digital information stored in each inch of your graphic. With a resolution that’s lower than 300 dpi, your image won’t be as sharp as it should be. If an image is appearing on the Internet without having to be resized, a resolution of 72 dpi is suitable. However, any digital files that will need to be resized for multiple purposes (like logos) need to be set to 300 dpi. Here is a more in-depth explanation of how a professional graphic designer delivers files with the right resolution.
If the designer is creating a logo for you then you should request a vector file . Vector graphics are scalable and will not lose quality if they are enlarged for printing.
How Will I Get My Design Needs Met?
Present samples of what you’re looking for to your graphic designer as you discuss your goals for the project. This will give your designer a better idea of the overall “look” you’re going for. In addition, it’s important to give your freelancer an overview of what your company is all about. What do you do? Who do you primarily serve? What are your customers like? All of these will help your designer produce digital art that resonates with the people you’re trying to attract. Some logos are so effective that people who have never heard of your company will know what industry you’re in!
Have some colors and fonts in mind when you discuss the project with your graphic designer. However, allow your designer to make suggestions as to what might look better. Certain fonts and colors convey different messages to audiences, and a graphic designer usually knows how to use that knowledge to their advantage. When it comes to branding and digital marketing, color psychology is important!
Be specific with your requests. Asking a graphic designer to make your logo “pop” won’t get you very far, since they may have a different idea of what that means than you do. Below are some terms and phrases you can use to get your needs met quicker:
- Colors: Neon colors, primary colors, pastels, jewel tones, monochromatic
- Fonts: serif, sans serif, script, geometric, graffiti, grunge, calligraphy (here‘s a font classification guide)
- Technical specifications: vector, raster, transparent background, image size in pixels
A digital designer will also need to be aware of the deadlines they need to meet. Leave your designer enough time to complete the project without compromising the quality, but request that it be done earlier than the absolute deadline to allow for unforeseen circumstances on their end. Don’t use terms like “ASAP,” “flexible,” or “urgent,” since they do not provide your creative with a true date to work with. Be as specific as you can with your deadline requests – an exact day or week is ideal.
Although platforms like Fiverr allow designers to set their delivery time to 2-3 days, keep in mind that your work will be rushed. Quality logos and marketing materials cannot be finished in an hour or two, so patience will serve you well.
How Do I Close A Deal With A Designer?
When you hire a design agency they will most likely send you over a proposal first, with project description and timetable. A deposit between 30% and 50% is usually required before beginning the design. Once you and the design firm have signed a contract or confirmed the project description, the work should begin.
If you hire a freelancer from Upwork, Fiverr, or Legiit, they will officially begin working on your projects once you send full payment and hit the confirmation button. The freelance designer is then held to the conditions you agreed on throughout your conversation, the delivery time frame, and anything else you discussed with them. Anyone who is hired off of these websites should be held to a contract between the freelancer and your business. In this contract, note the deadline, required formats and quality, and an agreed-upon refund negotiation plan.
Whether you hire a design agency or off of a freelancing website, have your designer confirm in writing that they own commercial rights over all fonts and elements used in your designs – in other words, make sure your usage (and their usage) of the design is not infringing on any copyrights.
The Final Word On Graphic Designers
Working with a graphic designer or design agency is a mutually rewarding experience. You’ll likely save money by choosing a freelancer from freelance websites, but paying a high quality designer (whether freelance or from a marketing firm) can produce indistinguishable results.
One downside to working with a freelancer from freelance websites is you most likely will not be able to meet with them in person, unless you happen to live in their country. For some clients this is not important, but for others face to face helps. You could always try and Zoom.
Before selecting someone to create your brand identity and graphics, make sure they know what high quality digital art looks like, how it’s delivered, and which programs to use. If you love the final results, support your designer by recommending them to other businesses who need digital art!