Selecting a designer for your firm to work with can be daunting. Some considerations are easy – you may not like the style of a particular designer, or maybe they are out of your price range. But what are some other things you should pay attention to?
- Few design examples. Graphic design IS visual communication. A designer that has few, or no, samples of past work is a red flag. Examples don’t necessarily have to be directly related to your industry, but you should see a range of samples that show how the designer solved previous communication challenges so you can be confident that (s)he can solve yours.
- Lack of follow-through. Does the designer return your calls and emails promptly? Is (s)he responsive to your questions, schedule, and deadlines? You don’t want to be a babysitter – you need someone who is going to collaborate with you and be responsive.
- No detailed estimate. You need to know what you’re paying for. How many design concepts will be presented? How many rounds of edits are included? What are the deliverables? A detailed estimate up front prevents disappointment later.
- Very low estimates. This may seem counterintuitive – why would you want to spend more than you have to? However, receiving a low estimate may mean there are things not included in the estimate, or the designer is inexperienced. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples when you review estimates.
- No contract. A contract means you’re dealing with a professional. Contracts protect everyone involved. What happens if you decide to kill the project? How will you be billed? What happens if the scope of the project changes? A contract will spell out what happens in these circumstances at the start so that there are no surprises if circumstances change.
And, please be very wary of sites that offer logos for $79 or less. Horror stories abound about these sites. In addition to being notorious for copyright infringement, you’ll have little interaction with a designer (often inexperienced and in another country) and no guarantee that your “custom” logo won’t be sold again and again to other businesses. (Read my post, Logo Design for Dummies – And Thieves, for more on this.)