If you run any kind of business at all, from a farm in the middle of Montana to a technology firm in Silicone Valley, chances are good you need a professional graphics designer to give your business a professional touch.
Graphic Designers handle the visual side of your business, from logos and t-shirts to media content for your website and book covers. Attempt to do these things yourself, and the results can be—well—amateurish. This isn’t just a problem for your art skills, it can spell a death sentence for your business. Customers judge you based on how you look, and an advertisement that looks unprofessional will never succeed.
Convinced you need a designer to help you now? That’s great! Here are some tips that will help you choose one that will give your business the look you are hoping for:
Referrals, referrals, referrals
Especially in the case of book covers, logos, or other work that is essential to the function of your business, ask customers who have used the graphics designer before if they are happy with the results. In the event of a new artist, a portfolio of samples may be useful information, but there are other factors to consider besides great works. Were the pieces done on time? Was the designer polite and professional? Did the graphics designer make the item requested, or did they make something that was beautiful but not quite what you had in mind?
Sometimes changes made by the graphics designer can end up being better than you imagined. As a good example, they may show you how your design looks, and then show you a modification they recommend to make it better. You can see for yourself the improvement. A great artist knows how to take your ideas and boost them, but also will give you what you want.
Choose a designer that matches your unique style
Every graphics designer is different, and some of them specialize in different things. If you want someone who is good at photo manipulation for example, you might not want one that specializes in airbrushing or computer sketches. If you plan on making your graphics into a poster or other printable item, ask the graphic’s designer in question if they are familiar with printers and how things look when they are all printed out. Often times what looks good on the computer does not look good once it is printed, and the type can be illegible if not done properly. Your graphics designer needs to have an understanding of this and be able to handle the situation appropriately.
For other art, collecting samples of the styles you like and are interested in can help your Graphics Designer understand what you are looking for, and make sure you are compatible. Your graphics designer will often be able to tell you if they can help you based off of your pictures—most graphics designers don’t actually want to get in over their heads with an incompatible style, and will quickyl tell you.
Make sure your graphics designer can handle your work load
A graphics designer may be part of a larger company, or may be a single person working on their own. A single person may be fine for most uses, but if you need someone for an entire graphic novel or an extensive amount of work for many different websites, you may want to make sure they can handle the workload you are offering them. If you really like a particular artist and want to work with them exclusively, prepare for longer wait times so they can get your work done with the same level of quality you have seen and loved in their portfolios.
Read the contract carefully
Make sure that you are aware of what you are getting with the graphic designer you have chosen. There is nothing wrong with asking to look at their contract before you agree to a partnership with them. By reading the contract, you may avoid surprises you thought were hidden, but in fact were right there in the contract. Things like extra fees for each redo of a logo, or limits to how many times you can ask for changes may seem surprising, but they are often common inclusions to a contract. Make sure you know what you are getting into so you are not surprised.
Ask about confidentiality
It may not be too important to you that an advertisement remain hidden, but if you are having a graphics designer work on an important part of your awesome new product, you may not want it to be seen by your competition before it is released. Make sure the graphics designer of your choice will keep your designs confidential unless you specifically give them permission to use the work in their portfolio or to display on their website.
Review a minimum of 3 professional graphic designers before making a choice
You never know what you will find when you are looking for a designer. You may think you’ve found a person you like, only to be dazzled by the person right after. You may dismiss the first one as too pricey, and then go back to them after you see what cheaper designers can offer. Viewing a wide range of professionals can also help you get a feel for what the market is like, and choose a person who is appropriate.
Graphic designers are critical to every business, and choosing one for your own use is something you should take seriously. Follow these tips to ensure your artist is someone that you work well with and give you the results you are hoping for. Even if you are taking your chances with a new professional graphic designer, or perhaps found quality work for a lower price, overall these recommendations should give you a person you are happy to work with. Your graphics are the most critical part of your business, and it is what your customers are going to be judging you on. Make it a good one with a professional you can trust.