How to Hire a Graphic Designer Right For Your Business
Looking to hire a graphic designer for your business? It’s easier said than done. Here’s everything you need to know about it: from reasons why you need designers, to how much you should expect to pay them!
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Every business needs design, but does every business need to hire a graphic designer? We’ll help you decide and provide data, tips, and guidelines on how to choose the best designer for your business!
With heaps of modern design tools available nowadays, DIY design might seem like a good idea. This is rarely the case.
Graphic design is an integral part of any business, from the creation of your brand guidelines to every single ad you send out into the world. As much as you might think you’ve got design figured out, hiring a professional designer is always the better choice.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why that is.
Reasons to hire a graphic designer
You wouldn’t let a layperson do dental work on you, right? You’d probably think twice about So, why let someone without the necessary skills work for your business? Even if that person is you.
Here are 5 convincing reasons to hire a graphic designer for your business.
Your business is only as successful as your brand. You can make a sale today, but if people fail to remember your brand tomorrow, you won’t make it in the long run.
Creating brand design is a long and complex process that only professional designers can fully understand. There are several stages to it, such as:
- Market and competition research
- Defining the target audience
- Creation of a logo that reflects the brand’s mission, vision and values
- Developing brand guidelines
- Producing marketing collateral, including ads, business cards, social media posts, etc.
You might know your business better than anyone else. But are you really prepared to translate everything it stands for into one simple visual?
That’s precisely what a good logo is. Just think of the iconic Nike swoosh. There isn’t much to it, from a technical perspective. But it perfectly encapsulates the brand’s commitment to an active lifestyle, and a go-getter attitude that it’s famous for.
How does that old saying go? A man is only as good as his tools.
As I’ve said, there’s no doubt that anyone can create digital graphics nowadays. Whether or not those graphics are good or original is an entirely different topic.
One of the best things about online graphic design is the variety of templates at your fingertips. The downside of this? You can easily end up with similar or the same graphics as everyone else, even your competitors.
For example, a quick Google image search and I’ve found at least 2 sites using the same infographic template from Canva (and plenty of similar variations as well).
What’s more, some professional tools are created with a specific type of design in mind (e.g. print and digital). A professional designer knows which are the best tools to use, to deliver quality results in the smallest amount of time.
Understanding of design principles and trends
There’s a reason people decide to get a graphic design degree. While it might look like putting a few graphic elements together, there’s a lot of theory behind what makes good design.
In the first place, these are some basic design principles, including balance, hierarchy, scale, etc. Next, there are concepts such as color theory and color psychology, which are especially vital in branding and logo design.
A professional designer understands the theory behind a simple graphic, and knows how to implement this knowledge to achieve an effective design.
What’s more important, aesthetics or functionality? The cheat answer would be that both are equally important. The realistic one is that functionality almost always trumps aesthetics.
Of course, a logo that doesn’t look good is hardly doing its job. But in the world of product and website design it’s all about how users interact with digital designs to achieve the desired purpose.
This is something most non-designers overlook. On the other hand, hiring a website designer will ensure this hugely important channel can convert leads into customers.
Hang on - how much does it cost to hire a graphic designer, again? Well, according to the latest data US designers earn an average of $57k annually. So, isn’t the point of doing your own design to save money.
I hate to break it to you, but it’s much more complicated than that.
It takes around 11 hours to create a 10-slide presentation. Don’t you think that time would be better spent acquiring clients, and developing your business strategy?
Or how about designing social media posts? We all know regular posting increases your reach and engagement. But if you need 3-4 posts a week, how many of your working hours are going to be spent on a task you’re not qualified to do?
When you compare the hourly rates of a designer to those of, say, a business consultant (because that’s essentially what you are for your own business), you’ll understand what I mean. You’re losing money by spending your own time on design.
How to hire a graphic designer?
Now you know all the main reasons to hire a graphic designer. So, you must be wondering how to hire a graphic designer that’s just the right fit for your business.
We’ll go through the most important steps.
Write a detailed graphic designer job ad
We’ve all been on the other side of a lengthy job ad, and know how annoying it can be sometimes. However, if people are really interested in working with you, they’ll definitely take time to read through it.
Here are some of the things you should include in your job ad:
- Part- or full-time position: Make sure you understand your design needs and how much work you can realistically expect a designer on a day-to-day basis.
- Minimum years of experience: Talent plays a big role in graphic design, so even inexperienced designers can sometimes deliver quality work. Still, someone with more experience usually works more efficiently and understands how to manage the design process better.
- Necessary skills: This is usually related to the type of design you require most, e.g. social media design, websites, marketing design, etc.). You should also include proficiency in a desired design software (e.g. if you already have an Adobe Cloud subscription, you might not want to pay for Sketch).
- Desired skills: Additional skills useful for designers might include basic development skills, proofreading and editing, project management.
- Person specification: Although it might seem like every job has this section, it’s still useful to include things like attention to detail, willingness to learn and adapt, and work as part of a team. This highlights the most important qualities you’re looking for in a candidate, and it’s fair to state that upfront.
- Salary: You can always say that salary is negotiable, if you’re worried about scaring off potential candidates. However, a ballpark figure will help everyone adjust their expectations and make the hiring process smoother.
A designer might have several years of experience in a certain field, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the right person for the job. Style and previous experience play a huge part in the design process, so you need to make sure you research the designer’s work to get an idea of what their projects look like.
Of course, research is an essential part of writing a design brief, as you’ll need to show them what style and work you like, and which one you don’t.
Also, make sure you check their CV for relevant design skills, in particular the design software you would want them to use. For example, if they use Adobe XD for web or product design, you might need to purchase this software yourself to use the source files. If that doesn’t fit into your budget, look into free or more cost-effective options like Figma.
Set a trial project
You can spend hours going through a designer’s portfolio or interviewing candidates, but nothing beats vetting prospective designers as effectively as a trial project. This is your chance to see the designer in action and figure out if they can deliver on their promises.
Although it was common practice a few years ago, unpaid trial projects are both unfair and harmful to the process of finding the best designer. The reason for that is that quality designers usually won’t agree to do unpaid work and if they do, they might not give it their best.
The scope of the trial project should be such that you’re able to provide adequate compensation. For example, if you’re looking for a logo designer, a trial project shouldn’t be a complete logo, but perhaps some element of it (illustration, typography, etc.) or a rough concept that the designer can talk more about in the interview.
Hold an interview
Refined communication skills are what distinguishes a good designer from a great one. Although they are creatives who essentially work alone, a design project is necessarily a joint effort. Your designer of choice needs to be able to appreciate and implement your feedback, but also provide you with expert advice and direction when needed.
Hiring a designer should always involve an in-person or video interview. It’s a great way to avoid scams if you’re using freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, but it’s also an important step in finding the right personal fit for your company.
Come prepared with specific questions, directly related to the project. But also take time to get to know them better, ask them about their creative process and if they have experience working with a bigger team.
Many great designers are not verbal types, so if you make the interview feel very formal, they might get anxious and fail to show everything they can do. When communicating with your designer, make sure that you also leave some room for more casual questions, such as their personal background, interests, and daily life.
Where to find designers
Unless you move around creative circles, perhaps with a couple of designer friends, you might be tempted to just google “designers for hire”. Well, that’s certainly one route to go, but you’re better off looking for creative talent on these specialized platforms.
Your own website
Your website isn’t just for potential clients - it can be a powerful tool to attract the right candidates for a graphic designer job. Designers who specialize in a certain niche might keep an eye out on your site to find employment. Moreover, those who learn about the job through your site can make great graphic design hires, as they probably have a genuine interest in your brand.
General job seeker sites allow you to attracte a range of candidates. However, not all of them will be great.
A popular way to outsource your design needs nowadays is to turn to location-specific websites, such as JobRack (Eastern Europe), JobStreet (Southeast Asia), Naukri (India), or Eurojobs (Europe). Hiring a designer that lives in a different location from you to work remotely can be a great way to get top-quality talentes, at a lower cost.
In this article we’ve mostly focused on hiring designers to work in-house. However, freelancing sites, such as Fiverr, Upwork and others are very popular for a few good reasons.
You can find a freelance graphic designer with virtually any skill or type of experience imaginable. Next, they also offer a wide range of price points and projects, so you can tailor your hiring to fit your needs as well as your budget.
The biggest drawback of freelance designers is that they’re usually not a viable solution for the long term. It’s quite time consuming to search for and vet designers every time you need a different project. Most importantly, paying per-project or hourly means costs accumulate fast. So, you can often end up paying more than the cost to hire a graphic designer in-house.
Most importantly, paying per-project or hourly means costs accumulate fast. So, you can often end up paying more than the cost to hire a graphic designer in-house.
If you want to hire a graphic artist, you need to be where they are. Portfolio platforms are the best way to get in touch with designers directly, and get a feel for their work and skills. Here are some of the biggest platforms to explore:
- Dribbble: Dribbble features snapshots of projects, so it’s a great place to start your search for a creative designer to join your team. You can hire them directly through Dribbble or get in touch to see if they’d be open to working with you.
- Behance: This is the most extensive portfolio platform, featuring a range of projects from interior to website design. It’s a great way to really dive deep into a particular designer’s work, and get a sense of their style and capabilities.
- Dieline: Dieline is a specialized platform for branding and packaging designers, so if you’re looking to hire one, this is where you’ll find some of the most outstanding talents!
- Awwwards: Need a website designer? Head over to this site to see some of the most groundbreaking web design work there is. Of course, bear in mind that a lot of the work featured here belongs to big design agencies, that might be a lot more expensive than hiring a designer.
A better alternative to hiring graphic designers
So, should you hire a graphic designer for your business? Absolutely. Do you have to do it in the traditional, in-house designer kind of way? Definitely not.
While freelance designers bring many perks to the table, they’re unpredictable and often cost more than some of the long-term solutions. On the other hand, in-house designers offer reliability, but the cost to hire a graphic designer is pretty high, and also includes additional expenses, such as paid leave, administrative costs, taxes, etc.
So, is there a way to hire a reliable graphic designer at a low price (yes, even lower than freelance designers in some cases)?
Unlimited design services like ManyPixels provide unlimited design requests and revisions at a flat monthly rate. Basically, you get the perks of hiring a graphic designer at as little as $549 a month!
Plus you don’t need to worry about scouting and vetting potential candidates. We’ll always assign the candidate with the best possible skills and experience for any design project.
Keen to learn more about it? Book a free 1:1 consultation and discover how we can take your design to the next level!
Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.