How to Hire the Right Graphic Designer

Of all the types of freelancers or a remote team you may need, a graphic designer might be among the trickiest to hire. The challenge is that it’s a huge umbrella term for a wide variety of freelancers with different skill sets. In other words, there’s no one size fits all graphic designer. Some focus their services around branding, some around social media. Some are adept at both print and digital, others specialize in one or the other. The options are both seemingly endless, and if you’re not familiar with the world of graphic design, they might all seem the same to you. 

To help you find and hire a graphic designer who’s right for you and your business, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks that will help you cut through the clutter and find someone who will bring value to your projects.  

Define Your Needs 

Before you even start looking for a graphic designer, you need to define what you need from them. Do you need a logo, a website, a package design, a series of social media posts, etc.? Make a list of everything you need a graphic designer to do. Remember, not all graphic designers can deliver on every single need, so you may need to hire more than one designer.  

This is a good time to develop a brief, just as we suggested for hiring an animator. This brief needs to convey a number of things that will help designers understand the project(s) and provide high-quality, finished work. These can include (but aren’t limited to): 

  • A clear goal and objective statements 
  • Any information about your brand/branding, such as 
  • Mission statement 
  • Vision statement 
  • Positioning statement and/or key messages 
  • A description of your brand voice and tone 
  • Any examples of brands or designs you like that you’d like to emulate 
  • Product descriptions (if needed) 
  • A description of your ideal client/target audience 
  • A description of what your audience should feel when looking at your collateral  
  • A list of all the pieces you need, such as 
  • A logo 
  • A website 
  • Business cards 
  • Letterhead 
  • A PowerPoint presentation 
  • Product packaging 

Review Their Portfolios 

Once you put together your brief, you can start your search. And an essential part of that is to review their portfolios. This might seem like an easy task, but it’s important to spend some time critically looking at their work. The more research you do here, the more likely you’ll be satisfied with the final product.  

What does it mean to look critically at their portfolio? This might be difficult for those of us without any experience or knowledge in graphic design. A good design portfolio should be easy to navigate, easy to see details of projects and give you a sense of what the designer’s role was in it. A good portfolio should be a little more detailed than just a set of images.  

Another thing to look for is the designer’s breadth of experience and skill. Does everything they design look the same, or can they design a variety of styles? Do they seem to specialize in a type of client (nonprofit, startup, Fortune 500 brand, consumer brand, etc.)?  

Ask about Their Process 

Graphic design is a creative process, and it’s not always clear how to go from brief to finished design. That’s why it’s important to get to know them and their process prior to hiring.  

Once you’ve found a handful of designers whose work and skillset match what you’re looking for, it’s time to reach out to them. Talk to them about how they prefer to work, what their timeline generally is, how they handle revisions, etc. It’s a good idea to get a sense of your compatibility during this phase. Do you think you can work with this person?