Designers are from Mars, Clients are from Venus
Customized invitations for your wedding; A personal website to find a job; A logo for your own company. What do these have in common? Design. Whether for work or personal matters, hiring a professional designer will be a necessity at some point.
As a Marketer, Creative Director and Entrepreneur, I’ve been both a Designer and a client. And I can attest that most client-designer relationships are in serious need of counseling. Just as if each side came from different planets. Goals and expectations are miscommunicated turning a brief project into a living nightmare.
To make such a relationship work, there are certain steps to take. Now before we move forward, I wanted to give you an inside look into the mind of a designer. Are you ready? Here it is:
Ok, now that that’s done, let’s proceed with our steps to find AND keep the right designer.
Browsing through candidates.
So where do you go in order to find qualified “Prospects”? There are several “matchmaking” websites. They have their weaknesses and strengths. I use,
- Upwork: This site not only helps you easily find designers (among other professionals), but its escrow service makes it a secure option. Just a note, since this an auction site, here you get what you pay for. For example, selecting a designer with a low quote, WILL get you low quality of work. So just be aware.
- Behance: This is more of a showcase website. It doesn’t offer some of the hiring features that Upwork has. However, the quality of the designers you’ll find here is by far better than others. I definitely recommend it. Especially for those with larger budgets.
- Fiverr: Here you can find designers among other business and marketing services for as little as $5. If you must, go on it, go but at your own risk. I’m all about quality of work and I have yet to find a service provider there that I can say, “Wow, those $5 were well spent” or “Darn it, I could have used those $5 in something more useful”. That’s actually the point. Since it is $5 most people don’t really care if the work was mediocre. So it works for most people.
Finding the right match.
As you are looking through designer profiles, there are some things to keep in mind. Look out for:
- Reviews and recommendations: We do this for movies, and products. It works the same way for designers. And be aware of fake reviews. Most likely that doesn’t happen on Upwork or Behance, but it does happen on cheaper sites like Fiverr.
- Design Style: If the style you want is cartoonish and the designer doesn’t have any cartoonish items on their portfolio, then chances are you are not going to get what you are looking for. So, make sure the designer’s past work matches the style you are looking for.
- Pricing: don’t negotiate down too much. The quality of the work will suffer. Just stay away from “out of your league” designers and keep looking. Try to get the quality you are looking for the price you offer.
- Availability: Communicate deadlines or events. They may affect the timing of your project and your designer needs to be aware.
- Communication: Make sure that you have similar communication styles: You don’t want to end up like a nagging wife. Complaining because you don’t hear as often or as fast from your partner as you want to.
Starting and Maintaining a Healthy Relationship.
Now that all the chocolates and flowers are over, it’s time for the real relationship. Here is how this process works:
- Set expectations straight with a project brief. This document has basic yet essential information about the project: important dates, things to avoid, project goal, style guidelines, etc.
- Comps. The Designer will provide several design options. You will choose one and provide edits and recommendations.
- Rounds: This is where you go back and forth (the standard is 3 rounds). The designer provides edited graphics and you provide your feedback to each round. Make sure to take your time. Provide all the necessary feedback at once. This way you will minimize the number of rounds.
- Approval & delivery: Once you are entirely happy with the design, you’ve provided approval and payment; the designer will deliver all the files and documentations.
As seen, don’t settle for less. You can find the designer of your dreams. Just be sure to do your homework beforehand. Once you’ve found the right match you can also have a long and prosperous relationship. Set each other’s expectations right and have an open communication. Just because we may seem as coming from different planets, it does not mean we can’t work happily ever after.
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