You most likely can’t afford not to hire a graphic design service. You may have a great product or service but if your branding and marketing material is glaring “homemade”, getting a sale will be harder. First impression of your company is conveyed by the visual impact of the marketing collateral, including print advertisement, brochures, catalogues, packaging and web site design. Updating or creating new marketing collateral can be an effective way to create new excitement around your company and its products. If you already have a graphics designer, it is natural to go back to him or her for new designs. But if you want to infuse new thinking and a fresh look, it is advisable to consider new designers.

How do I select a graphic designer?

Search for graphic designers on the internet at places like Google, B2B marketplaces or the yellow pages. Also ask your business associates and friends for recommendations. Shortlist about four designers for further evaluation. There are a number of things to keep in mind before hiring a graphic design service.

  • Check the portfolio: First step in evaluating a graphics design service is to ask for their portfolio and review specific projects that are of the same category as your design project. A graphic designer’s style is evident from the portfolio. The material she creates for you is likely to be in the same style, so it is important to feel comfortable with it. If you are going to hire a design firm, insist on reviewing portfolios of specific designers who may work on the project.
  • Check for expertise in web design: If your project includes web design, make sure the graphic design services company has software developers familiar with good web design principles. Don’t be impressed with snazzy web designs that use a lot of multimedia, heavy graphics and advanced features. Such designs usually raise a lot of challenges, crash often and are frustratingly slow.
  • Agree on the number of concept designs: A good graphic designer will create several concepts for you to review before finalizing the design and creating the final product. What would happen if you don’t like any of the concepts?
  • Graphic Designer should be a good listener: If you want to provide input before the design process, make sure the graphic designer is willing to spend the time to listen and consider your ideas. She needs to strike a good balance between soliciting input from you and using her creativity and imagination to develop the concepts.
  • Check references: It is important to check references before hiring someone for the project.  Specifically ask if the graphic designer is good at understanding the requirements, incorporating your feedback and providing revisions.

Here are some tips regarding working with a graphic designer.

As with any other project, it is important to define the scope of the project and definite milestones with expected deliverables. Also agree on the number of expected revisions.

In what shape and form are you going to receive the graphic design? Clarify file types, sizes and preferred color scheme if any. It is generally a good idea to take ownership of the soft copies of the design. They will come in handy if you want to make minor tweaks later or reuse the design. To avoid any future conflict, also take copyright ownership of all material developed for you.

Communicate frequently with the graphic designer and provide continuous feedback. If the project is not going as expected, meet and resolve issues without any delay.

How much does it cost to hire a graphic designer?

Good experienced designers can be expensive. It is best to get a few competitive quotes before hiring. If you are on a budget, it does not hurt to look for up and coming graphic designers who are eager to get established and may offer substantial discounts.

Many graphics designers charge by the hour. Avoid such a relationship unless you have worked with her in the past and are comfortable with such an arrangement. Instead ask for a project based quote. You will pay above and beyond the basic charges if you use licensed material like stock photos. Payment for the project should be tied to the milestones.  Be wary of graphic designers who ask for a large and non-refundable upfront payment.

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