Visual content is a big part of your marketing strategy. It’s your hook and the easiest way to attract the attention of your target market in a big bad world filled with designers and graphics gurus looking to get a foot in the door.
Finding the perfect freelance graphic designer can be overwhelming and downright challenging - what style are you looking for, does the designer you have chosen ‘fit’ your business and, the big one, are they good at what they do and can they showcase your brand in a way that drives business and engages with your target audience.
So, to help you get your money’s worth, we’ve put together our top tips on hiring a freelance graphic designer that’ll “wow” your customers!
WHY DO I NEED TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
There was a time when hiring a graphic designer was something you did once a quarter, if that. But, with social media needs rising daily, the future landscape looks a little different. Even the smallest of companies require a reliable graphic designer on their dance card on a regular basis if they want their brand to shine.
It’s crucial to get the right match between you, the designer, and the project, and just because a designer isn’t ‘for you’ doesn’t mean their work is bad - it just means you are not the right match. Your regular designer may also decline a project because their skills don’t lie in that area, or it’s not in their current scope of skills.
Design comes in all shapes and sizes, and just like any profession out there graphic designers specialize in certain areas so if you’re doing something a little unique in your business marketing strategy you might need to rustle some trees to find a designer that is perfectly matched for your project.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGNER BEFORE YOU HIRE
Graphic design is a little different to throwing together a few fonts and a couple of clipart images together; it’s a true profession and one that can help to promote your brand to great heights.
Just like any other profession or skill, there are plenty of graphic design specialties including corporate collateral, marketing materials, magazine layouts, product packaging, corporate presentations, clothing designs, annual reports, illustrations and much more.
At the end of the day, it’s the visual communication that graphic designers cleverly create that helps to leverage visuals to convey ideas, and hopefully drive sales and inquiries for your business.
When you’re shopping around for a graphic designer it’s important to understand what you are looking for and to have a clear brief so there is no way that you’ll get off track once your project kicks off.
BE SUPER CLEAR ABOUT YOUR NEEDS WITH A DESIGN BRIEF
A design brief is an essential part of the graphic design process, and before you choose your graphic designer, it’s well worth taking the time to put a brief together so everyone involved in your project is on the same page.
If you’re going to spend the time and money on a graphic designer, it’s important to know the who, what, where, why and when before you get started. At the end of the day the designer will need this information to start the project, so getting it organised first will give you some clarity on business objectives and design strategies for the project.
90% of the time a graphic design project will need a basic brief at least, they are worth the time and effort to put together and provide some serious clarity and focus for the project. If you’re simply getting a logo background color updated or you have a super simple task that needs a one line explanation you can get away without one, however, it is in your best interest to have a brief to make sure the money you invest in a project is used wisely.
SO, WHAT DO I NEED TO INCLUDE IN A DESIGN BRIEF?
Whether you use a pre-made template or you’re getting techie by using a web-based form, there are a few mandatory inclusions you should have in your design brief to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck from your graphic designer.
Some components to include in your brief include:
Your business name and the name of the person managing the project
Short description of the project
Description of your business and what problem it solves for the target market
Target audience and even an avatar if it’s available
Inclusions you will be providing the designer for the job - including stock photos, high res logos, fonts, diagrams etc
Main message and objectives
Some competitors designs that you love
When you’re creating a graphic design project, it’s vital to have a sense of what you love and hate, and if you don’t want something included in your design the design brief is the time to be clear about it. If you’re not a fan of a certain style, don’t like particular images/colors/fonts or if you have a vision to not be like a particular business, outline this in the design brief so they understand your vision from the start and have a solid direction. Laying out as much information in your design brief in a format that is easy to read and well organized will help you get the final product you’re looking for.
HOW TO CRAFT A JOB POST THAT ATTRACTS YOUR DREAM DESIGNER
Once you’ve taken the time to put together a kick butt design brief, now is the time to attract the absolute best freelancer graphic designers to bid on your job.
The devil is in the detail for a job post, and now that you’ve created your design brief you should have a simple structure to help you flesh out the following information for your job post.
Information you should consider including in your job post:
- Who are you: include the name of your company, what industry you operate in and as much relevant background information as you can to give the prospective freelancer a chance to get a feel for your business.
- What you need done: now’s the chance to outline the job so don’t mince your words, outline exactly what you need done such as a business card design, 10 page magazine spread or a billboard advertising design so the freelancer understands what is involved and whether they have the experience and knowledge to bid for the job.
- Project deadline: if you’re on a tight deadline it’s important to make this clear and also what time zone you are in to ensure the freelancer is on the same page as you are and any work is delivered on time.
- Specific requirements for the project: do you need your graphic designer to be able to use a specific software or are you looking for someone who has dedicated experience in a particular design niche, outline it here so there is no chance your freelancer isn’t clear about what’s needed.
WHAT SKILLS MAKE AN EXCELLENT GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
If you’re looking into a graphic designer’s virtual toolkit, you’ll probably find that each designer has a unique set of skills including a diverse background as far as training and qualifications. While some designers might be ‘book smart’ some of the best graphic designers are self-taught and have learnt their craft along the way so don’t be sucked into only engaging the services of someone with the degree or piece of paper from design school.
Skills of a brilliant graphic designer may include the following:
Creativity and the ability to sketch - graphic designers create, and some of the best graphic designers are able to sketch and draw images that are tailored to suit specific business and brand needs.
A good understanding of typography - you’ll either love or hate specific fonts and a designer should have a deep understanding of font families that suit specific designs.
Experience with design software - things have moved on from pencils and paper and if you want to make it in the world of design a graphic designer will need to be proficient in design software such as Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign. in addition to this, if your designer has skills with multimedia software that’s also a big plus.
An understanding of color theory - knowing color contrasts and how to mix colors is important as well as being able to use light and shadows in designs.
Layout knowledge - there is no point having all the technical skills if you don’t know how to organize and layout the design elements on a page. Great layouts jump out at the target audience and should be free from clutter. As well as understanding layout, designers should have some skill with print design as well.
HOW TO SELECT THE BEST GRAPHIC DESIGNER FOR YOUR PROJECT
When you’re at the stage where you have narrowed down your short list and are ready to select your ideal graphic designer now is the time to take the plunge and select the best graphic designer for the job. But is there a magic formula for choosing your designer?
If you’ve done your research and have worked through the list of freelancers who have applied for your job to check if they can meet your design brief, have the relevant skills and abilities you need you should have some stellar choices for a freelancer that ticks all your boxes for your design project.
Take the time to review any shortlisted candidates thoroughly, check out their profiles, read through their reviews from other employers and ask them to send plenty of examples of their work so you get a better understanding of whether they fit your needs.
Once you’ve made your decision and found the perfect freelancer now it’s time to get cracking and watch the design magic unfold.
READY TO HIRE THE PERFECT GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
Finding the perfect graphic designer doesn’t need to be a headache. If you’re looking for a graphic designer that can turn your ideas into a visual masterpiece you’ve come to the right place.
Freelancer.com makes hiring the best talent easy! Whether it’s graphic design, copywriting, website development or data entry you’ll find the perfect match for your business needs. Post a project today, and receive bids within seconds.