5 Tips for Finding a Rockstar Designer

April 26, 2016
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When you run a growing business, a point will be reached when it’s time to take it to the next level. Perhaps your marketing materials are stale. Maybe you don’t have any materials at all! You could be considering a change in direction or an overhaul across all channels. You need a rockstar designer.

Whatever the reason or project size, it’s time to seek the right person (or team) that will help you to achieve your goals.

But how will you find your design dream team? Here are some suggestions to get the wheels turning:

  1. Identify your project.
    This may sound ridiculous, but we often find that a client’s needs run deeper than they first appear. Consider these questions: who is your ideal customer? What kind of visitors/clients are you hoping to attract? Will this project warrant print and online versions? Have you fine-tuned your content and messaging to support said project?
  1. Reach out to your networks.
    Sometimes your best options are right under your nose. Reach out to friends and colleagues and ask for suggestions. There is a chance that someone within your trusted circle has done the research for you!
  1. Pay special attention to their portfolio.
    Once you’ve identified a list of designers or agencies that have piqued your interest, it’s time to take a close look at their work. Things to consider:
  • First, how does the designer’s site look? Is it a pleasure to visit? How is the load time? It is easily navigable? If you aren’t a fan of the site, this is a strong indicator that this may not be the designer for you!
  • Is your industry represented within their body of work?
  • How do you feel about the aesthetic of their work? Do they utilize a style that could work for your project?
  1. Consider their entire list of services.
    Does it make more sense to seek a more “complete package”? Think freelance vs. small shop vs. big time agency. These days, great marketing demands an arresting presence on all platforms. You may want to ensure that your design team doesn’t just make artful and compelling design work—but are also versed in the ways of the web, social media, SEO and content curation.
  1. Local or remote?
    When considering where your design team is located, this can become a fairly personal question. It’s best to think about your individual communication style: do you work best face-to-face or does email and Facetime suffice? It is important to schedule in-person meetings at the drop of a hat or does a quick chat on the phone do you just fine? For many, working remotely is easy and common, a testament to our wireless world—no big deal. But there are obvious advantages to keeping it local and establishing an ongoing, in-person relationship. You decide what’s best for you!

There are many qualities that make a designer great. Here are a few additional (tipping point!) qualities to look for:

  • They are a good listener. Upon your first meeting, your prospective designer should ask lots of questions. Her job is to gain an understanding of your needs, work style, company mission, audience and desired outcomes.
  • They are available and responsive. A good rule of thumb is to expect a reply within 24 hours. A designer that is interested and invested in her clients will make responsiveness a top priority from the start.
  • This designer is proactive and thinking about the “bigger picture”, offering suggestions and insights that add value to the project.
  • A clear estimate with project specifications and zero curve balls! Simplicity and transparency is what you’re looking for.
  • Most importantly, you need to work well with this person! Do your working styles mesh? Is this someone that you find easy to talk to? A great partnership with your designer or agency is essential to your project’s success!

What do you think? Do you have any experiences or thoughts you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!

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