With the world flooded with freelance graphic designers it’s easy to go through several bad breakups. Save the heartache by looking for two important factors.
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The world of freelancing is exploding and both my wife and I have noticed that graphic designers are spreading like the plague. In such a saturated market how do pick from the crowd?
In a lot of ways it’s like dating. You have to size up a person based on very little information, test the waters with a couple of dates, and see how things go. Part of it is just experience. Sometimes we don’t know what to look for until we’ve had the pain of going through difficult relationships, but I think we can avoid the plate smashing, throwing-clothes-out-the-window kind of breakups by looking for signs of a good match before jumping in.
There are two things you should look for before you hire a freelance graphic designer: first, does the style match your personality of your business? Second, is the graphic designer easy to work with?
Just like picking up a date at the bar, if they don’t have the right looks, the right style, the right vibe, it’s probably not going to be a good match. First impressions matter, especially where visuals are concerned.
Whenever a graphic designer approaches you, or if you are searching for an artist, the first thing you look at is the portfolio. The majority of graphic designers have websites and blogs now, so finding sample art is pretty easy, although time consuming. Even if you have a referral, you should make sure that the freelancer’s style matches the kind of identity you want for your business.
Also, if you are not totally excited about the work you see it may be a sign that you are a poor match. Be warned though, the best looking art usually comes with a hefty price tag. Also, looks aren’t everything. Sometimes people are really good at disguising faults. That’s part of the dating game and occasionally you have to take the stylish devil on a date or two before you can really tell if they are a homicidal maniac or not.
Even if you are okay with the look and feel of the freelancer’s work, you have to put them to the test. Like dating, maybe you go out for a cup of coffee, a couple of meals, and spend some time to get to know one another. In a world full of so many personalities, it’s easy to get stuck with the one person who just gets under your skin. Making that discovery in the middle of a huge project will cost you tons of money and could leave you with half finished, or poor quality work.
Meeting in person should give you a pretty good first impression. Asking questions about experience is good because you probably want a designer who is familiar with your industry and the kinds of marketing techniques used by companies like yours, but it is more important to find out about their team working capabilities.
You see, when you hire a freelance graphic designer you are also getting into the market for a printer, and web developer, a packaging company, or other services that come with visual marketing. If your graphic designer does not play well with others, you might be in for an aggravating ride.
For the duration of the project you and the freelancer will work as if you were business partners. Depending on how you like to manage things either you or the freelancer could head up the project, but unless the designer can coordinate with the other services to meet their specifications, the work will come out shoddy and take up valuable time with revisions.
Having an experienced designer will make the difference in terms of efficiency, but at any level the freelancer should at the very least know the more technical aspects of web or print.
So, just like dating, before you hire a freelance graphic designer, check that their style is a good fit for the personality of your business. Then, talk with them to find out what kind of worker they are and how well they operate in a team environment. If you are fully satisfied with both of these key elements you will likely have a fruitful and rewarding relationship long into the future.
Any matchmaking horror stories to share?