You’ve decided to make the move towards hiring a brand designer. You’re wide-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to give your business a facelift.
But whether you’re just looking to refresh your branding or start from scratch, the internets offers a wide open arena of potential candidates that, honestly, can get overwhelming.
But don’t fret, my friend.
Now that you’re ready to make your move and invest in branding, your next move is to simply write down all the attributes you’re looking for in a designer and what you want your branding experience to look like.
This experience should be fun, educational, and rewarding. Finding the right (branding) partner in crime is key to making it a good one.
Let’s jump right into some tips on how to best go about finding the right fit.
Go back to basics and focus on your needs
Start off by first assessing the needs of your business and your intentions. Are you looking to attract a different target market? Is your current message not doing the job? What is not working in your business, specifically?
Go back to basics and think about your current brand strategy. Focus on your vision, values, and positioning. Have they changed? You can use this workbook to get you started or if you want to revisit these.
Getting clear will help make the process of finding a designer much faster and will ensure you make the right decision once you’re ready to get started.
It’s also a good idea to start thinking about visual inspiration. Spend a few minutes on Pinterest and get some inspiration on how you want to communicate your new brand, visually. It’ll help you communicate what it is you’re looking for to your designer. Still, remember to take their advice as an expert. You might be missing out on some ideas that only a designer can offer you.
Next, Grab your notebook and write down your top 3 non-negotiables that you need from their service.
Here’s an example:
I need a brand designer who will….
- Work with me long-term
- Also do web design
- Keep me in the loop every step of the way
This is a great way to start the conversation during your initial call. It’ll help you sort through your options much quicker.
Consider their process
A creative process is a series of steps a designer takes to essentially create anything. It usually includes things like research, planning, and execution of the work. Every brand or web designer has a process (good or bad, they all have a process). It’s up to you to find a designer with a process that works for you.
It’s also important they give you a timeline of events and an explanation of how you’re included in every step of the way.
The best process is inclusive of the client and their needs. You can get a feel of how they work just by your experience during their onboarding process (the time from your initial contact up to you signing a contract and/or paying a deposit).
Did they address your concerns? Did they take way too long to answer your email? Did they walk you through the full branding experience?
Take all that into consideration before you sign that contract. Communication, clarity, and structure are what solidifies a good designer process.
Look for someone who reflects the style you want
By now, you’re probably aware of what you like and don’t like visually, the types of colors you’re attracted to, and the fonts that bring you know message to life.
We all have a design style we’re attracted to.
When considering a designer, make sure their past work reflects that style you’re envisioning.
It can be tempting to hire the cheapest designer you can find, but in the long run, it might end being much more expensive. You’ll end up going through a bunch of revisions and even playing Art Director because said designer doesn’t “get it”. You’ll most likely end up with a forced solution that’s “fine”, but not as good as it could’ve been. Not too mention the time wasted on all those revisions.
So avoid the stress. Make sure you evaluate their portfolio and you’re really digging their style.
On another note, always, alway, ALWAYS (did I mention always?) consider your target market.
We all know business heaven is when your target market’s like and dislikes reflects your own, but always them into consideration FIRST. Your designer should always this as well.
Look at your budget vs. value of your investment
Like I mentioned before, deciding to hire a designer by their pricing is a big no-no.
Pricing is important, of course, but there are other things you need to consider such as process, style, and chemistry before pulling the trigger.
In the design community there’s a big problem with dangerously under-pricing services because of the crazy amount of competition and other design industry-related reasons. Unfortunately, this leads to clients under-valuing design services and not setting the proper budget for their branding.
When setting aside your own budget, first think about the value your new branding will bring to your business. It can be in the form of return on investment or amount of followers.
If you feel like you can’t afford your dream designer, don’t fret. Start by first talking to them. You might be able to set a date to start your project in the near future while you save up for their fees.
Is this a match made in designer/client relationship heaven?
Always get a sense of a designer’s personality and vibe in your initial call. If she doesn’t offer a call, request one.
During this call, you’ll immediately know if there are any red flags. Do they look excited to take on this project? Are they invested in bringing you the best result? Or is it just another paycheck for them?
Alternatively, this call could confirm your decision and really excite you about the project. Always go with your gut on this one. It’s usually right.
Where to look
Not sure where to find the right brand designer? Here are a few good places to start your search.
Word of mouth – Know any business besties that have worked with a designer? Maybe a friend or two might have some recommendations. Ask around in your circle. This might be the best way to lead to the right choice.
You might be part of a facebook group that attracts many designer members. Go ahead and post in a group about what you’re looking for and start a conversation.
Behance, Dribble & Pinterest
These sites are the best place to find design inspiration as well as portfolio work that might resonate with your desired style.
Most designers are very active on Instagram because of the visual nature of platform. You could also get a sense of their personality by the types of IG stories a designer posts or how they respond to their comments.
The ball’s in your court
Now that I’ve dropped some knowledge on you, it’s your turn to begin your search.