What to Know as a Client and As A Designer
Before Hiring a Designer
- It may seem like common sense to go for a designer who’s known in your industry, but that may actually be counter-productive to getting a fresh design. Instead look through the designer’s portfolio (they may have it available on their website, as a PDF, or they may have a hard copy) to find a design that you feel will fit your need.
- If you’ve found a design company, make sure the designers they have on staff are the ones who were involved in whichever design you chose. And if you commissioned a solo artist, you can still ask about their involvement. They may have brochure or website design included in their portfolio, but you only like one element (the logo for example). Ask who did work on that part if it wasn’t the artist you hired. And ask if their previous client came with their own design sketch.
Don’t hesitate to find out the designer’s skills. You want to be certain that they have experience with web coding, HTML, search engine optimization (SEO), etc. but resist asking for a preview of what they would design for you. If you haven’t made it clear that you’re going to give them the project, it will look like they’ll be doing work for free. You don’t want to do anything that might sour the work relationship before it truly starts.
- The most important thing is to get anything agreed on in writing. A contract tells you exactly what you’re getting and how the artist expects you to pay for the project. It should also tell you how to get out of the contract if there’s a need for it. Anything that you’re on clear on ask for clarification so there are no misunderstandings later on.
Getting the Attention of Clients
If you’re the designer the process may be more complicated because you have to stand out above a crowd of graphic designers.
- One way to get word out about is to network with other designers. They may recommend you if a client is seeking something they can’t supply, but you can. And vice versa.
- Start a blog. It will give you a place to display your portfolio in an easily accessible way. The more a client can look through will make them more confident about paying for your services. If you design the blog that may be more points in your favor, especially if the potential client is looking for a website design. And keep it updated as you work on new projects.
Make sure that you set a clear schedule on how long it will take to complete a project. Whether that’s on your website or you bring it up once you know what project you’re being hired for. This lets the client know whether you can give the product when they need it. Once that time frame is agreed on you’ll have to be organized to meet the deadline. Even if you aren’t in-demand yet, getting projects done on time will only add to your reputation.
- Provide more than one service, especially once you start gaining regular customers. If a business usually hires you for flyers, try asking if they’re in need of other promotional items (business cards or a logo design that can be placed on cups, clothing, etc.). This provides incentive for clients to come back instead of going to a new designer each time, because they see there’s a reward for supporting you; not just a onetime design. Give clients the best quality designs you can and they’ll spread the word about your business.