This is always a complex question and there is no single answer to it. Many details depend on the size of your business, your methodology and goals, and the importance of design in your marketing strategy.
It is impossible to create a universal and correct guide for choosing a designer for everyone, but there is a way to reduce the number of potential problems, as well as save time. In this article, we will try to answer some interesting and popular questions when looking for a designer.
Most likely, these answers will be useful for aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses – for corporations, everything is much more complicated.
How To Evaluate A Designer By Portfolio?
In terms of quantity, quality, and direction of work.
If a designer has only 2-3 projects behind him, then he may be inexperienced. It’s not worth sifting these out right away, because individual projects can be large and time-consuming. This option is suitable for experiments and low budgets, but a standard and safe solution is from 8 works with different topics, goals, and tools.
A variety of projects will tell about the flexibility and outlook of the designer. Be careful: a portfolio with hundreds of different projects can be a bad indicator: a designer is not used to working for a long time with one company.
In addition, due to the abundance of experience, designer services can be overpriced. If you do not want to overpay, then you will not need such professionals.
Of course, if the designer has already worked in your industry or even for a competitor, then it will be easier to bring him up to date. But staying in one industry for a long time can hurt creativity and generate original ideas.
Is It Possible To Find An Excellent Specialist Without Education And Work Experience?
Statistically, there is a chance to find a good designer without experience, but it is very small. Yes, now any profession can be learned without universities, and projects in the portfolio do not require official employment.
Talk to the applicant, complicate the test task, and offer to work 2 weeks in a 2–4-hour mode in exchange for portfolio work. During this time, you will get to know each other better to make a final decision.
Young “nuggets” exist and can become a source of unusual ideas and effective solutions because they have not yet formed “corporate barriers”. But the search for such specialists will take a lot of time and strength.
Freelancer Or In-house?
If you don’t have a lot of “design” work yet, but you work 24/7 (this happens at the stage of starting a business), then it’s better to hire a freelancer. You should not expect a complete immersion in your project from him, because you (as a customer) are not alone with him.
There may be problems with some freelancers (non-compliance with deadlines, poor communication), but this option will be cheaper than an office employee.
At a certain point, you and your marketing team will feel that there are more and more design tasks, and the outsourced person cannot cope. It’s time to hire an office worker! Inside the company, he will be able to develop the corporate identity of the brand, scale it, and also protect it. Communication will also be simplified: this can help generate new ideas.
Maybe It’s Better To Contact An Art Studio?
A B2B solution will be optimal if the design is secondary for you or is needed only for individual temporary projects. The contractor company will cope with individual important projects with tight deadlines and complex terms of reference faster and more responsibly.
It is now much easier and more reliable to get graphic design services using various web services. By giving money to such web services, you can be sure of the quality and speed of work, because the most famous of these web services most often employ well-coordinated teams of designers with many years of experience and professional software.
But the graphic design services of an art studio on an ongoing basis will cost more than individual employees in the company’s staff. However, you always have to pay for quality and speed.
How To Write A Test Task For A Designer?
Don’t ask a potential job seeker to design a web app or website layout for your company – it’s a time-consuming practice that few will agree to. Do not filter good specialists with difficult tasks.
If you want to understand the worldview and experience of a designer, then pay more attention to the portfolio.
The test task should be an indicator of the applicant’s interest in your vacancy, as well as display at least a superficial understanding of the specifics of your business. Ideas for a test task:
Submit criticism and suggestions for your current products: website, web app, packaging. This assignment will allow you to test the designer’s analytical thinking.
Send applicants to find style references that fit your business concept and industry, and can improve it or solve any problems. This option is suitable if you do not yet have your resources. This task will help determine the designer’s level of vision and understanding of your product.
Create a basic design element according to your instructions. Advertising design, product card for the marketplace, Stories – whatever suits you best. This task will test a person’s real skills in working with design software and basic knowledge of typography, geometry, and color combinations.
By The Way, Do You Need To Pay Attention To The Tools?
Job vacancies usually indicate what software, apps, or services the designer should own. This is important and depends on the needs of each enterprise. If you do not understand anything about this or you do not have special requirements, then you can specify the most basic software and apps: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Figma.
Note: if you take a generalist designer, but he does not have printing in his portfolio (and you need it), then it is better to ask about his skills in the layout of brochures and business cards personally and immediately.
Does The Applicant Need To Know The History Of Design, Schools, Great Masters, And Graduates From The Design Department?
Depends on the specifics of your business and specific tasks, but often not worth it. Additional knowledge is a bonus to a specialist’s observation and karma, but they do not solve specific problems.
Does A Design Candidate Need To Understand Marketing?
Yes. Any design solves specific marketing tasks. If you need a beautiful site, then this is also marketing – it is “prettiness” in the sum of factors that make the user stay with you, look at the catalog or list of services, and then become a client.
A designer does not have to understand advertising settings or media planning – there are other people for this. But analyzing the needs of the target audience, predicting UX, and improving it is the necessary base.
Should A Designer Have Skills In Website Layout Or Programming Languages?
These are always additional options for which you will have to pay extra. Universal specialists with broad knowledge of marketing, programming languages, and ATL advertising formats will be able to solve more interesting tasks, they can become heads of design teams. But for this, they will rightly ask for more money.
At the very beginning, you can hire a simpler specialist and “grow” him within the company. Along with the development of the business, he will expand his horizons, be loyal to you, and in the future will be able to take control of other specialists of a narrow profile.
If you want to save on two employees by trying to hire one generalist, then saving can be a problem. One employee almost always cannot replace two, especially in the face of a tight deadline and an 8-hour work day. In addition, a universal specialist will either cost more or will do everything much worse than an individual designer and IT specialist.
In the modern world, the work of a designer is one of the keys to the work of the entire company. Competent design can instill confidence in your company to potential customers, and improve the quality of advertising and promotion of your business.
That is why choosing a designer is such a responsible matter. We hope that the tips above will help you choose the right designer, such as an epiic.com, who will fully suit your business and help in its development.