Tips for Choosing a Reliable and Qualified Graphic Designer

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Here are a few quick tips to help you in the decision-making process when selecting a designer or firm to handle your business:

1. Educate Yourself About Design Standards and Practices
We’re not saying you need a design degree or that you have to take night school courses, but do some quick googling so that you’re going into things with a solid understanding of what you want, and with reasonable expectations about what it will cost and how long it will take.

If you’re looking for logo design, for example, it’s helpful if you have some knowledge of file formats so that you end up with a logo you can actually use in a variety of applications, instead of just a low res jpg for your company’s facebook page.

2. Ask Questions About Qualifications
This is an important one, and probably the one customers neglect to do most often. Do you know how many times clients have asked us about our education, what kind of degree, diploma, or accreditation we have, etc.? Never. Not. Even. Once.

This probably isn’t exclusive to the graphic design industry - I’ve never asked to see my doctor’s degree - but in the design game there is no real oversight or consequences to offering services without any reasonable qualifications. A simple “where did you go to school?” is sometimes enough to filter out the majority of riff-raff designers out there. This kind of info should also be available on a designer’s website or LinkedIn profile, if not; red flag number one.

3. Ask for References
Again, sites like LinkedIn are a good way of checking if a designer or company is recommended by the people they’ve done work for in the past, but if that info isn’t available, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Any designer worth their salt should be able to offer two or three contacts that can provide testimonials.

4. Ask to See Process Work
This one is optional, but we think it’s a great way to get some insight into the quality of work you can expect from a designer/agency. It’s also a good way to learn about what’s involved in professional design to help manage your own expectations.

 Above: Design process from sketchbook to research to final product.

Above: Design process from sketchbook to research to final product.

Is the designer just going to bang out a quick icon in photoshop for you, or will they be doing research, sketches, and providing a well thought-out reasoning for their design choices? Will they provide vector artwork with supplementary information like Pantone swatches and font selections? Seeing process work lets you know the degree of thought and care a designer or agency puts into their projects from start to finish, and can also give you a whole new appreciation of the final product.

If you follow these guidelines and the prospective designer / agency meets each criteria, it’s a safe bet you can count on them.

PS - You can always just save yourself the trouble and hire us.