What to expect when you hire a graphic designer

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We’ve all heard the term “graphic designer”, but what does it really mean? Most graphic designers will tell you there’s a lot of branches to their tree - logo design, knowledge of colours and their connotations, how to get a document print-ready, the list really does seem to be endless.

Most graphic designers would have spent 5 or 6 years honing their skills through college and University, to then be faced with the working world. It’s no secret that when a graduate leaves University it’s almost impossible to walk straight into your dream job, but, graphic designers are fortunate enough to be able to compliment any role they take on, with their graphic skills.

When hiring a graphic designer, you’re not just hiring a person based on their job title, you’re hiring years of experience, skills that have taken hours upon hours to master, as well as believing in that designer to bring you great things. It’s a very trusting process and patience is required. The saying in the industry is “Cheap, Fast, Good - you can only pick two”.

So, what is involved?

Depending on what you want, the design process can be a lengthy process. More often than not, a design begins with a consultation so that you and your designer are on the same page. Most designers will then leave this meeting with ideas flying around their brains and create a mood board of inspiration. This will include fonts, colours, photographs, textures - you name it, they’ve got it covered! Collaboration is key when it comes to design work. Your designer could have created something incredible and spent hours and hours perfecting the design, but if it’s not what you’re looking for, then it’s a waste of both your and their time. And let’s not forget, TIME = MONEY. To ensure you and your designer are in-sync, take some samples and ideas to your designer and give them a feel for what you’re looking for - this saves everyone time as your designer will have a better understanding of exactly what you have in mind for the final outcome.

Time Frame

A lot of thought goes into any design, from a logo to a billboard, each design takes time to perfect. Your designer will be researching, testing colour matches, mixing variations of fonts and maybe even sourcing images. The research process takes time and isn’t something that should be rushed. You’re hiring a designer for their knowledge and skills, so allow them to invest time into coming up with the perfect concept idea for you. As we’ve previously discussed with “cheap, fast, good.” If you want something done quickly and cheaply, then the quality will be compromised. Communication is a huge part of your designer-client relationship and don’t be afraid to approach your designer and ask for updates on your project. It’s nice to be kept in the loop!

The Costs

Graphic designers aren’t the cheapest to hire for projects - but you pay for quality and consistency. You’re hiring a designer to create something unique, eye-catching and beautiful for you. As with most creatives, they will charge per hour, however, if you’re looking to hire them for an entire campaign/project they may give you an overall cost for the job. Just remember, years and years of schooling, experience and hard work has gone into your designer’s ability to create your project, so the costs will often reflect this. More than likely your designer will ask for a deposit to begin works and then a remainder to be paid upon completion.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! In fact, most designers welcome it (as it makes a change from us bombarding you with questions!). Ask to see examples of their work, what their time frame is, how quickly you’ll get a concept idea sent to you - it’s important to know where you stand as a client. Lastly, make sure you’re looking around for a designer that fits your needs. Hiring a designer who specialises in food marketing when you’re selling stationery may not be an ideal match, so make sure to look around for a designer that has experience in dealing with your industry.

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About the Author

Kelsey Barrett

Graphic Designer