When you are ready to start a new project, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and reach out to a designer right away. Whether it is a new business that needs a logo and branding or even a new e-book or e-course offering that needs an identity, it is imperative that you take a moment to get organized and prepare before reaching out.
Here are five things you should be sure to do before hiring a graphic designer:
1. Know the mission of your business and understand the target audience
You may have a stellar idea, but until you have a deeper understanding of why you exist, who you are trying to reach, and what those people are like, it will be difficult for your designer to create a brand that accurately represents that. If you try to have your brand identity designed before you truly know what you are offering and who you want to reach, you might run into the trouble of going through a redesign shortly thereafter.
2. Have a list of all the places your new design might be used (both now and in the future!)
You want to have a logo, color palette, and system that will make sense in the ways you want to use them and will suit your future goals. Perhaps you run a food blog but have a goal to have a product line in Target someday – your designer needs to know that your logo could be used this way! Not only will it help build an expansion-proof design, but it will also help you visualize where you see your business going.
3. Determine your timeline
Do you have a date you want to launch a new website by? Do you need to go to print with business cards in time for a conference? Items like these are ones you need to think about before searching for a designer. Many are booked weeks or months in advance, so you may need to prepare to wait for an open slot or decide that you need to find someone who can work with you right away. Also, know that good design takes time to develop, so don’t be looking for someone to design an entire e-commerce website in just a few days – that’s simply not feasible if you want quality.
4. Prepare all of your content before the start date
It makes a world of a difference when a designer can see what your photos and copy are before beginning the process. For example, it’s pretty hard to design a logo if you haven’t settled on a final business name. Or, it is much easier to design a website when you can see the personality and colors of the photos that will be on the site. Above all, it is much more respectful of everyone’s time if you are ready to go when the project begins rather than asking everyone involved to wait around while you finish writing your web copy.
5. Look at a designer’s portfolio before hiring him/her
This might sound like a no-brainer, but very often we look to friends or colleagues for a recommendation and go with that person without seeing if the designer is a good fit for you first. Someone might be fantastic at designing feminine and bohemian brands, but if you want something modern and sleek, you’ll never be on the same page. It’s just like dating – someone may be a wonderful person, but if you two don’t click in style, it won’t be as successful. Along these same lines, have a grasp on the styles, colors, and aesthetics you do like, using other sites or brands as examples. You don’t want to copy anyone of course, but this will help guide to the type of style you are seeking.
You don’t have to have all the answers when you approach a designer – that’s why you are choosing to hire one. But, it’s your job to understand the part you are bringing to the table: your business. Don’t be afraid to ask your designer questions, and together you can create design that benefits your business in spades!
Download the Free Worksheet!
Download this free worksheet to help you plan your project and get the most out of you time with your designer.
About the author: Laura is a graphic designer who loves working with small, creative businesses to build thoughtful brands at her studio, Dotted Design.