Your branding matters. It’s so important to get it right and to create an excellent first impression for your potential customers.
A quality graphic designer is the key to getting the professional look and feel that you want from your designs.
But if you’ve never hired a designer before or worked with any freelancers, you might not be familiar with what to do.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how to hire a freelance designer, what to expect, and how to make sure you hire the right one.
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Why Hire a Freelance Designer?
You could hire an in-house designer, but if you do, you have their full or part-time salary to pay. In addition, you need to pay for tax, any benefits, paid time off, and more.
With an in-house employee, you’ll spend time and money training them to be a part of your team. If they then choose to leave, you have the expense of replacing them and going through the whole process again.
You might also find that your in-house designer has only certain skills. This can limit your design capabilities.
With a freelancer, however, you pay only for the work they do. You don’t have to manage taxes, benefits, or any other expenses.
You also get added flexibility. There’s nothing to stop you from hiring multiple freelance designers for different aspects of your project.
You can also hire someone just for what you need and no more, so you aren’t paying a full-time salary when you don’t need full-time design.
The other advantage a freelancer may have over an in-house designer is that they’ve worked with many companies. They have varied experience that can bring an outside eye and keep your designs fresh.
What to Expect from a Freelance Designer?
When you hire a designer, you are hiring them for the particular skills they have. Not every designer is good at every aspect of design.
You can’t assume that a website designer can also create logos. You also can’t assume that a graphic designer will be able to do the coding behind your website.
You may be lucky and find someone with a wide range of skills, or you may have to hire different designers and developers for each aspect of your project.
Keep this in mind when looking through portfolios.
You will also need to be aware that freelance designers work for multiple clients, not just you. They have to be able to manage their own time and you need to give them time to create.
No one works well under micromanagement, but creative people, in particular, will not do well with a micromanager.
We’ll come on to setting deadlines, payment terms, and other expectations in the next section.
How to Hire a Freelance Designer
In order to hire the right designer and get the best from them, you need to be clear about what you want and what you expect.
There’s some prep work to do before you can start posting jobs or browsing through portfolios.
However, this prep work sets the stage for getting exactly what you need, so don’t skip it.
1. Define your needs
Before you can decide on design styles or anything else, you need to know your audience. Obviously, your designer will create something very different for children than they would for an audience of retirees.
If you haven’t already done so, ensure your buyer personas are fully complete and that you can clearly explain who you are targeting.
Next, define the project.
Do you just need a logo or is this a full design project, including your website, business cards, logo, and full marketing materials?
This will affect the type of designer you need, and the experience they need to have. You may also find that you need more than one designer to meet the brief with a larger project.
Then decide on your budget.
You may be able to negotiate with your chosen designer, but it’s important to know what you can realistically afford.
Look at your timeline. When do you need everything finished by? Are there delivery stages along the way that you want to meet?
Finally, look at your current branding.
Unless you’re introducing a completely new part of your business, your designs should fit in with your current branding. This should include your existing color palette.
Get together your ideas for the design and make sure you can clearly describe them to your designer. You may also want to put together a mood board, with color swatches, font ideas, and similar designs.
Think about every aspect of your project. The more information you can give your designer, the better. You’ll be able to choose the right designer more easily and get better results.
2. Collate information your designer will need
Your freelance designer doesn’t work for your company, so think about what they need to know about you to complete their work.
Anything you already have will be helpful, including your brand guidelines, brand voice, buyer personas, and information about your company.
Bring together all the information you’ve collected in step one and pull together a design brief.
Include your design ideas, timelines, deadlines, and anything else you think will be useful.
3. Find your potential designers
Now you’re clear on what you want, ask around for recommendations.
The best way to be sure your designer is reliable and excellent at what they do is to talk to previous or current clients.
Your network may be able to help you find the right designer without the need to post jobs. You could also try posting what you need on LinkedIn and your social media to see if anyone can help.
But if you want quality freelancers and a simple way to reach them, you need to access platforms where you can see their portfolios, post your demands and hire them.
WriterAccess is the number one place for you to do exactly that.
4. Narrow down your candidates
Keep referring back to your design decisions and your brief. Go through your potential designers and look for the right fit.
Look at their portfolio and the quality of their work. Does their style fit with your branding and your design ideas? What do their reviews say about their work, meeting deadlines, and how easy they are to work with?
Are there any red flags, such as late delivery, poor attitude, not listening to clients, or not completing work?
Look at your potential designers’ websites, too. This can give you a good indicator of their work. If their website is of high quality, with good content, and attention to detail, it’s likely their work will be high-quality, too.
Go through your list and narrow down your possibilities to the top three.
5. Interview your potential designers
You can get so far by looking at written profiles and reviews, but it’s far better to talk to your candidates.
You can learn far more about your candidates’ attitudes, willingness, and personalities by talking to them on the hiring platforms themselves.
Don’t just ask questions, though. Let them ask them too. You’ll learn a lot about how much they know by how they approach your design brief and what they want to know.
6. Hiring your designer
Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to get your legal ducks in a row.
You need to negotiate the payment amount and payment terms. You should set out in advance when your deadlines are and how and when you expect communication.
How many design options will you get? How many rounds of edits are included? When is the copyright signed over to you?
All of these questions and more should be answered to protect both parties and ensure you both know what to expect and what to adhere to.
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We’ve gone through the steps involved in how to hire a freelance designer. Hopefully, you now feel more confident in searching for and hiring a designer.
Your designer really can make an incredible difference to your company and to whether or not you attract the right customers. Design matters and branding can help to draw your ideal clients to you.
Trust your designer to do their job, treat them as the professionals they are, and you should get great results.
If you’re a freelancer or thinking of hiring one, check out our article on the latest freelance statistics!