So you know WHY to hire a graphic designer and now you want to know HOW to hire a graphic designer. Below I outline some things to look for looking for a graphic designer.
This is probably the most important thing to measure a designer’s skills by. Do you like their work? Do the designer’s pieces communicate the main message effectively? Is the work outdated, cutting edge, too cutting edge for your company, etc.? As with most creative matters, it’s very subjective. Since your business will need (or already has) it’s own look and feel you’ll be able to weed out potential designers by aesthetics alone fairly quickly. By that I mean, if the work is great but doesn’t fit with your companies aesthetic then a working relationship is probably not a good idea.
If you have another creative on your team MAKE SURE that he or she is present in the interview and that they are allowed to ask questions. Their questions will likely be based around design, design practices, and the designers creative process on individual pieces. You’ll want to know what the designers role was on the pieces that they are showing you. Did they take the picture on the front cover, art direct a photographer, or grab it off of a stock photo site.
You should expect to see between 8-10 pieces in a portfolio. If the designer did their homework those pieces will reflect the things your company does. If you’re a web firm and the designer brings you 8 print pieces to look at I’d say the interview is over.
When looking at the companies the designer has worked for, make sure you ask about their specific roles within the positions they’ve held. You’ll want to make sure that the work that you’ll be having them do matches their skill set so both you and the designer will be happy working together. You don’t want them to leave you in 2 weeks because they are bored with the kind of work you have them doing. Set your job requirements and expectations up front.
There’s a difference of opinion on this but I tend to shy away from over-designed resumes. I feel the purpose of a resume is to display experience and accomplishments. So I don’t want to see a resume that is so laced with trendy “art” elements that it distracts me from getting facts about the person I’m looking at hiring. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe a resume should be well put together and look like a designer designed it. I just don’t want it to be over the top. All that being said, if your shop IS over the top and the person you want to hire NEEDS to be over the top then you should probably ignore everything I said in those first 4 sentences.
Check their online profiles, reviews, and their own website for testimonials or press. Like references, these can be questionable but they can offer you more of an insight on the designers personality and how they might work with others.
This is not as important of a factor when you’re hiring an experienced designer. If someone walks in your door and has worked their way up from various creative shops and has an outstanding portfolio I probably would gloss over where they went to school. My bigger concern is their work, personality and whether they will work well with me and my team. Real world experience trumps education every time in my book.
This will vary depending on the designers experience and how much you have budgeted. Do they provide a flat fee or an hourly rate? Will they give you a discount in exchange for hiring them for multiple projects? Both of those questions are valid. I once had an interview that started with the employer asking me what I needed to get paid. At the time I thought this was weird but I have come to appreciate that approach. She didn’t want to waste my time and more importantly, she didn’t want to waste hers.