Designer Matchmaking: How to Choose the Right Pro For Your Business
Are you in the market for a branding and/or website designer? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the job of choosing the right designer for your business?
Choosing someone to help you design (or re-design) your brand is a big deal, and it’s important that you do your homework before signing a contract. As a brand + website designer myself, I know how important it is to find a good match. Your designer is going to help you shape and refine your business identity and how the world perceives it – so they should be someone who you trust and feel comfortable collaborating with.
But how do you know who that person is – especially if you’re hiring someone online? It’s actually not as complicated or risky as you might think. Keep the following 5 guidelines in mind while reviewing potential designers, and you’ll find a great match in no time.
1 – Scope out their portfolio
The portfolio is a great place to start when considering a designer. Their portfolio will highlight their past (and, hopefully, best) work and give you an idea of their designing style.
But be careful – don’t just look for examples that closely resemble the design *you* want. One of the skills your future designer should possess is the ability to adapt to each brand they work with, and create a design that uniquely reflects their business, appeals to their ideal client, and helps them achieve their specific business goals.
Instead, look for variety and technique. Does the portfolio demonstrate the ability to create unique designs with different aesthetics, or do they all look super similar (and in that case, does the super similar look of their design style appeal to what you want for your brand)? Also, look for good technique – like the ability to create impactful designs while keeping things simple and clear.
2 – Review their process
Great brand design is built on a strong foundation. And that foundation should be based on your business personality, the style you want to convey, and who your ideal clients are, among other things. The only way to establish this foundation with a designer is through a thoughtful and purposeful process. Your designer should take the time to get to know you and learn about your business, goals, and audience. A lot of designers will post information about their process right on their website. But if you can’t find it, make sure to reach out and ask them what approach they will use to get to know you before diving into the design work.
You want to work with someone who knows how to identify the important details and help you communicate exactly what you want for your brand.
3 – Don’t let price be your deciding factor
Not to say that you shouldn’t shop within your budget. Knowing what you can afford to invest in your new design is important, and you should seek out designers who offer services in your price range. But once you are reviewing a handful of designers that fall within your budget’s reach, don’t simply choose the cheapest one.
Hiring a designer based on price alone can be a terrible strategy. It’s well worth it to spend a little more to work with a designer who understands your vision, has a style that matches what you are looking for, and will take the time to guide you through the process and create branding and website design that will fit your business perfectly.
4 – Ask them who their ideal client is
Ask a potential designer up front who their ideal client is. A designer who has taken the time to clarify who they do their best work for will be able to help you tremendously in figuring out if you are a good match for each other or not.
5 – Check for a timeline
There is no set standard amount of time your project should take – because every project and every designer is different – but your designer absolutely should establish a timeline for your project.
Ask a potential designer how long a project like yours typically takes, and ask if they set up a process to keep projects on track and to communicate progress consistently. It’s important to remember that deadlines work both ways – and that you’ll need to be quick with responding to questions, providing feedback, and communicating revision requests – but your designer should definitely be providing you with a delivery date, progress updates, and consistent communication.
Hiring a designer to bring your visual brand to life is a great investment – and it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming or risky. Use the 5 guidelines above and do your homework on potential designers. Speak with them via email and on the phone to get to know their approach to design AND business (you want beautiful design plus great customer service, right?). Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
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Grand Rapids, MI