How to Find and Hire the Best Graphic Designer

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By: Robert Foster February 21, 2019
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Never judge a book by its cover, they said.

And yet, website visitors don’t seem to follow this wise advice.

It takes them as little as 0.05 seconds to make up their mind whether they like your website or not.

Superficial?

Maybe, but instead of grumbling about the importance of more-than-meets-the-eye qualities, you’d better give your audience what they want, or they’ll simply bounce right off your web page without even giving it a second glance.

You get the picture how important it is to hire the right person capable of mesmerizing your audience with some clever visual solutions and getting them to stick around and actually see what you have to offer.

Yep, you really need a graphic designer with some serious ninja skills.

But, how to find one if you aren’t particularly design-savvy yourself?

1. Define What You’re Looking for

There are different types of graphic designers based on the area of design they specialize in.

This means that, among others, there are logo designers, web designers, brand identity designers, motion designers, UI designers, and packaging designers.

What you should know is that the jack-of-all-trades approach doesn’t work when it comes to graphic design, so don’t try to find someone who will be willing to wear different hats.

It’s true that many graphic designers are versatile and experienced in different kinds of projects, but the results will be much better and memorable if you opt for an expert in the niche.
In other words, the person you hired to design your website might not be the right choice for creating your logo or overall visual identity of your brand.

2. A Freelancer or an In-House Designer?

Before you focus on some more specific and technical requirements, it’s essential to make up your mind whether you want to hire a freelancer or an in-house designer.

Making this decision depends on the scope of the project, and if you only need someone to complete a few graphic design tasks occasionally, then hiring a freelancer is a good idea.

The main upside of this arrangement is its flexibility and the fact that you won’t have to put a web designer on the payroll and pay them a salary even when there’s no particular design work needed.

On the other hand, an in-house designer has a deep understanding of your brand and is always available to you.

3. Where to Look?

Google is your friend.

Start by checking out some of the freelance platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr.

After finding a couple of people who fit your initial criteria, google them and find whether they have a blog or website.

If their personal website is crummy and nothing to write home about, it’s a red flag that you can’t expect much.

Showcase websites such as Behance or Dribble can also send you in the right direction and help you reach good designers.

However, when it comes to complex projects, such as creating a website, it’s a good idea to browse through the portfolios of renowned website design companies and cherry-pick the top people for the job.

4. Seek the Right Skills

Though creativity and talent are important when it comes to graphic design, you should look beyond these abstract categories.

Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are the “Holy Trinity” of graphic design.

Being proficient in Adobe Creative Suite is a must, but as most candidates will have these skills listed on their resume, it’s a good idea to come up with a simple test assignment.

Provide your applicants with your brand guidelines and other instructions, and ask them to create a design for business cards or suggest a redesign of your logo.

This will offer you a glimpse of their working methods and skills in action.

Bear in mind that no matter how good a graphic designer is, you should also make sure that their approach and style match the aesthetic of your brand.

5. Don’t Neglect Soft Skills

However, you should take your applicants’ soft skills into consideration too.

A graphic designer has to communicate with clients on a regular basis and present their ideas in a clear manner.

Besides that, teamwork is crucial in this line of work which means that apart from being a seasoned professional, your prospective designer needs to have excellent communication skills, as well as be ready to accept constructive criticism.

No wonder that 67% of HR managers are willing to hire candidates with strong soft skills even if their technical skills aren’t impressive.
These can be tricky to assess, especially if you’re hiring a remote workforce, which is why it’s essential to book a quick video chat with your candidates and be able to read their body language, facial expressions, and other subtle cues they send.

Hiring the best graphic designer can be challenging, mainly because this position requires more than just technical skills. Their style, work ethics, and personal traits play an important role too, so follow these tips to find your perfect match.

Author: Robert Foster

Robert Foster is a 30-year-old web dev, nature survivalist and editor for DesignRush. He spends most of his free time outdoors and if you can’t find him for a couple of days, he’s probably somewhere on a biking, cycling or a hiking holiday again.

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