7 most important things to look for when hiring designers

family reunion cartoon

Where were you on Thanksgiving last year? I’m blessed to have a big family, and it’s become a tradition for us to get together around this time of the year.

Everyone was present: my parents, grandparents, aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews. My brothers’ and sisters’ families are expanding so quickly that I can’t keep track of their babies’ names.

In 5 years or so, I think we’ll need to rent an auditorium for our family reunions.

You know how these events start for single ladies like me, right?

  • When are you getting married??”
  • Where’s your boyfriend?”
  • You’re so picky! Choose one already!

I’m a pro at dodging these questions, but my standards have risen in direct proportion to my age – if I had to answer them honestly.

A nice man is hard to come by these days. It might be easy to find one, but it’s a lot harder to keep them.

I just hope my relatives would just ask me about my business and hiring graphic designers instead… because finding a designer is way easier 😂

girl laptop thumbs up cartoon

There are several methods for finding a designer. The internet has made it super easy. You can make a Facebook announcement, and a friend of a friend will volunteer.

You may post a notice on freelancing job boards and receive tons of applications within a few hours. You can even ask for referrals and they’ll come running like bees to honey.

After approving all submissions, you’ll be overwhelmed with a tower of portfolios, resumes, and proposals. You’re now faced with the decision of whether to hire a freelancer, a full-time designer, or an on-demand design service.

How can you make an informed decision when there are so many variables to consider?

design service alternatives

First, change your mindset in hiring designers

⚡️Newsflash⚡️

A designer is more than just someone on the payroll. They are not any random person to whom you can hand a can of paint and a paintbrush, order them to paint the wall white, and then pay at the end of the task.

Hiring a designer is a commitment since they won’t be dealing with a wall, but a live brand – a company or a product that changes in response to market demands.

Their ability to understand and carry out your ideas is invaluable. It will be tough to execute campaigns, advertise your product or service, or retain clients if you do not have a reliable, dependable and experienced designer.

To establish a long-term working relationship with the designer, they must possess soft skills that are compatible with your company’s culture.

Therefore, there are two sets of criteria to look for when hiring designers: tangibles and intangibles.

Tangible factors to consider when hiring designers

There are obvious deciding factors when it comes to hiring a designer: the budget, the portfolio, and the communication.

Allow me to paint an analogy between hiring a designer and finding a romantic partner.

❤️ In evolutionary psychology, you are wired to choose a partner who will give you the best chance of reproducing – the most attractive, strongest, and smartest in the pack.

If you are single and looking for a partner, you will need 2 hours to prepare + 1 hour to do make-up, You make certain that the tangible features are impressive since you want to attract a possible date.

When looking for work, people (not just graphic designers) behave similarly. We highlight our strengths and make sure that the other person notices them.

i am the best cartoon

Is the graphic designer’s fee within budget?

Designers lower their rates in order to attract more clients, while others charge a premium price because they price based on their perceived value.

There is no beating around the bush. You have to ask yourself if you can afford the designer. It may be easier if you just need a one-time project. However, it becomes trickier if you onboard the designer full-time or for a prolonged period.

To get the most bang for your buck, you must keep the design requests coming.

If you are friends with the designer, there may be some wiggle room to negotiate the fee, but professionals typically have their rates set in stone.

Furthermore, in the art of pricing, the seller would price their service based on its perceived value. So, if the designer is confident in their abilities, they will ask for a fair price, and underbidding them will be pointless.

With a limited budget, you will be forced to work with amateurs.

award celebration cartoon

Does the graphic designer have an impressive portfolio?

Who would include an ugly design in their portfolio? No one, right?

Unfortunately, if you are not a designer, your judgment of their work might not be the best. What looks to be an excellent design for you might actually be amateur work. So, how can you make an appropriate judgement?

You can enlist the help of your designer buddies to evaluate the applicant’s work from the standpoint of another professional.

You may also narrow it down to designers that have done work in the same industry as yours and your clients’. If you are a web agency, you should search for a designer who has worked on a large number of websites.

Examine them critically. Are the designs one-of-a-kind in terms of structure and feel? Because no two brands are identical, each design must be unique, even if they are from the same industry.

tin can communication cartoon play telephone

Is there ease in communication with the graphic designer?

The majority of freelance designers work remotely. Because of the pandemic, even full-time designers are being asked to work from home. The internet has made the workplace borderless, and you can now hire a designer from another time zone.

The challenge is being able to commit to a common time because your designer might have to work at a different shift to have some overlap with your work hours.

When both of you agree to the work schedule, it should be binding as that’ll be the time for both of you to be easily accessible for instructions and changes.

These tangible factors will change – for the better or for the worse.

❤️ Going back to the dating analogy, no matter how expensive or lovely your dress and makeup are, they will not guarantee you a second date.

Similarly, you can hire a low-cost designer in the beginning only to be surprised with hidden fees. They may have an impressive portfolio, but you might find out later that they haven’t worked on half of the designs they’ve shared.

They may be always accessible when you need them at first, but not that much after a few months since they’ll be busy with new (higher-paying) projects.

It is easy to focus on and consider these tangible attributes because they are obvious and visual. However, what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Since these tangible attributes are obvious and visible, they are easy to focus on. However, the essential is invisible to the eye (The Little Prince).

little prince cartoon

Intangible factors to consider when hiring designers

❤️ If you’re looking for someone to marry, you don’t just go around looking for the sexiest, tallest, richest, strongest man in your neighbourhood, and marry them the next day, right?

Because, while these qualities are appealing, you know they’re not enough to establish a future and a family. You’re through with flings, and ready to commit to a relationship.

You want to build a relationship with your designer since their work is invaluable for the future of your business. Soft skills are the traits that ensure growth.

Superb client testimonials, self-motivation, strong conceptual skills, and resilience are the intangible characteristics that the perfect designer must possess.

good feedback cartoon

Do clients rave about the graphic design service?

Happy clients mean that the service is consistently of high quality. If you can get a hold of the designer’s three most recent clients, you should do due diligence and request their feedback.

Ask about specific scenarios where the designer went above and beyond their job to help the client. This trait is critical to possess in a client-focused industry.

Is the designer passionate and self-motivated?

This one is fairly hard to judge at first and will surface only during challenging circumstances. If mistakes are made or deadlines are missed, you should see how the designer handles them.

Are they willing to admit their error and work to improve themselves? Or do they just pass on the blame?

Thinking of ideas cartoon

Does the designer have good conceptual skills?

Your brand is more than simply a static image on a wall; it is a living, breathing creature. This means that it may evolve over time when you decide to target a different market or develop new products and services.

Your designer must be versatile enough to create out-of-the-box designs for fresh concepts that are outside of their area of expertise. This is a highly creative job that requires a constant supply of creative juice.

Is your designer resilient?

Designers are taught how to eat revisions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It comes with the territory. What matters is their attitude toward modifications. Do they learn from it? Or do they just work it like they’re checking things off a list?

Professionals learn from their mistakes and work hard to improve their craft.

jumping success cartoon

Hire someone better than you

❤️ There was once a warrior princess who would only marry a suitor who can beat her in wrestling. She did so to ensure that the man would be capable of protecting her and her clan, as well as leading the kingdom with her.

Find a design partner who is better than you with design tasks – like Deer Designer.

We nail the tangibles:

  1. We are affordable, with a fixed monthly rate
  2. We’ve got an impressive portfolio
  3. We keep open and constant communication with each of our clients

We can also commit to delivering the intangibles:

  1. Our clients rave about us
  2. Your design team proactively learns your design preferences
  3. Your designer is part of a multi-skilled squad that can contribute with fresh ideas
  4. And we will do as many revisions as you need until you are 100% happy with your designs

We can beat you in the Design Arena, and we’ll be by your side as you grow your business empire.

FREE 12-Month
Content Calendar

Download our Content Calendar for Web Agencies to keep your social media channels updated.

Download the template

Brand Guideline Example

Download our Brand Guideline Example to get a kickstart on your branding and visual identity

About - Deer Designer

Download your guide!

Design Brief Template

Download our Design Brief Template to find out how to provide a clear and comprehensive brief.

Download the template

Welcome to our Deer Partner Program

Please fill in the form