Looking for a great freelance designer at a reasonable cost does not have to be difficult. With a clear idea of your objectives, some research and understanding of the design process, you can most certainly find the right freelance designer for your business or project. Here are some top tips for you.
(1) Preparation Works
As you go about your daily life, and if you see a design, a style or a piece of artwork that appeals to you, snap a photo of it with your mobile phone and save it into a folder. When you see a particular design or website that you love when you are scrolling through your social media, take a screenshot and save it into the same folder.
This will prepare you for the instance when you hire a freelance designer for your project. You can then immediately articulate what you need just by pulling out an image from your phone. This will speed up the project as it improves the communication between you and your freelance designer.
(2) Know What You Need
Sometimes, a freelance designer might send you a creative brief to fill in but most of the time, they don’t. If that’s not the case, develop your own creative brief to show your freelance designer what you need.
This should include information that will help him understand your project and what they need to deliver, such as details about your business, your products and/or services, your objectives, what needs to be included in the design, project’s target audience and deadline. Such information will be very useful to keep both parties informed, and the freelance designer will not waste his time hopping onto a design concept that’s not quite what you wanted.
(3) Determine the Skills You Need for Your Freelance Designer
Freelance designers, or graphic designers, use a variety of graphical software to make their designs. If you have a printer or vendor who is printing your brochure or leaflet, for instance, check with him what file format he needs for the printing, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, or even PDF format is sufficient.
Next, just ensure that the freelance designer that you chose has experience with these software and is able to send you the files in the required format. For logo design, make sure he can provide the design in a fully scalable vector format to ensure image quality when there is a need to stretch it for use across different mediums or platforms.
(4) Stock Images/Vectors or Your Own Photos?
Decide whether you want your freelance designer to use stock images or vectors or photos that you’ve taken yourself or by your professional photographer. Also let him know whether you would choose your own stock images and send it to him for use, or let him make the decision on which stock images to use. Some freelance designers have their own preferred sources for images and vectors and can advise you on where to find such resources.
(5) Decide on Your Budget
Determine how much you can afford to spend on the freelance designer. Prices can differ very much between a freelance designer and design agencies but you should have no problem looking for a price range that you’re comfortable with. Most freelance designers will also be able to provide you with some percentage off their listed prices if you have consistent projects or even retainer projects for them.
One thing to note though – although it’s possible to find freelance designers who offer more reasonable prices on various freelance platforms, try to avoid engaging them because you usually get what you pay for. Design works is an investment in your business and it’s better for you to invest in a quality designer who can create excellent works that are timeless so that you can use them for a long time.
(6) Do the Proper Research
It is important to check out your candidates’ creative portfolios before hiring a freelance designer. This is critical because you can tell their versatility and creativity just by looking at their works.
In particular, look at how they develop a concept across various media, how they use colours and whether they are able to develop customised designs for different clients, instead of having only one or two styles of design.
Looking through their portfolios can also help you see whether you like their styles, and whether it fits into your products and/or services’ branding.
As you consider these factors, also try to consider if you can take on a freelance designer with a different style or approach from yours, so that he can give your products and/or services a fresh new breath of life. This is especially good for products and/or services which have been around for a while and needs a totally new look to enter a new market or target a new group of audience.
If you can find a freelance designer who has experience in your particular industry, it’s even better as it will reduce the learning curve. Your designer can then connect with your ideal customers easily and help create a design that appeals better to them.
(7) Meet-Up or Video-Chat
As much as possible, try to arrange for a physical meet-up or a video-chat with your potential freelance designer if you intend to work with him for a long time. Put together a list of freelance designers that most closely match your requirements and ask them for a video interview to get a better sense of the person you are going to work with.
For one, the designer should be genuinely interested in your business and want to learn more about your products and services, as well as your audience. Also see if you can understand his language, his accent or his design jargons. This is important because you will probably want to understand each other properly as you work together long-term.
Here is a list of questions you may want to explore with him:
- Which are the brands that inspire your creative works?
- What’s the inspiration for this particular design?
- Why did you choose to use this colour and design concept?
It’s also important to choose a freelance designer who follows and understands specific ethical standards with regard to trademarks and copyright infringement. You also need to know if the designer that you’re going to hire always conducts himself professionally. Be wary and if possible, ask for references.
(9) Always Pay Your Freelance Designer for Trials
Never ever ask for free designs. If you want to ask for a small trial project just to see if the freelance designer’s style matches yours, make sure you pay him for his time and efforts. Never ask for free works from any creative professional just like how you would expect to be paid for your products or services.
(10) Understand the Contract
If your freelance designer sends you a contract for endorsement or signature, make sure you understand it before you sign. You should create one if he does not have a contract, including the project scope, timeline, cost and ownership of the final artwork, as this is important to avoid unpleasant surprises such as additional expenses or scope of work that might arise during the project. Here’s a standard template if you need one.
It’s important that you dedicate time and research to selecting a freelance designer because the branding of your business, which includes your product packaging, website, namecards, brochures, booths, etc. is the first impression your target audience has of your company. It’s critical to invest in a freelance designer that gives you quality work and avoid using a cheaper alternative who might waste your time and damage your brand.
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