Finding the best possible candidate isn’t simply a question of talent. Like anything, it is about the fit and about how both the actual designer and their work make you feel. Not all things are important to all people. It is a good idea to shop around, ask for referrals, and research potential candidates before working with them. Focus on finding a candidate who is easy to work with, finds creative solutions to design problems and shows that they’re committed to your project’s success.
Here are ten additional tips to help you choose the best graphic design candidate:
Be clear with your goals and expectations
Any successful project starts by providing enough background information. Be sure your creative brief goes into detail about your company, the objectives of the project, and the specific qualifications you’re looking for. Sharing deadlines and any potential obstacles upfront in a graphic design job description ensures that candidates will have a good understanding of the project and gauge whether they can meet your expectations before submitting a proposal.
Know what you’re looking for
Not all designers are created equal. As with any field, every designer has their strengths. Knowing what you are expecting from the designer upfront is the key to a successful relationship. For instance, will your campaign use stock images, or will the candidate take photographs to incorporate into the project? Will most of the artwork be created in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop? Experienced designers know their strengths and when to call in additional assistance on a project to achieve the client’s ultimate objective.
Throw in a test
There is no harm in questioning a designer on their skills and throwing a test into the conversation. Ask the designer to critique a competitor’s design piece and explain what they would have done differently. The answer itself will provide insight into the candidate’s abilities, and the way they deliver the answer will help you better understand their creative process. The goal here is to see if the designer is able to answer questions and give solutions in a way that would make you enjoy working with them.
Dig a little deeper
Unfortunately, it is so easy to compile a great believable portfolio out of work that is not necessarily your own. Choosing a specific piece of work in the portfolio and asking the designer about the designs and what inspired them to make those particular choices will again help you get to know their process. This will also give you an idea of how you can complement their inspiration if you decide to work together.
Start with one project
Start with one project and use it as a ‘test’ to see if the designer is a good fit. This is not a test to see if you can confuse and throw them off it needs to be a real project or tweaking an existing design. It will give you a good indication of how future projects would run.
Face to face is so important – this is not to access whether you like the way someone looks but is the best insight into getting a feel for the person. You are going to spend a lot of time and energy with each other and you need to know that this is someone you can talk freely to.
What is required of you?
In order for any campaign or design to succeed there needs to be constant feedback and communication. Establish with your designer upfront what is required from you in terms of initial briefing and communication throughout the projects.
Explain your brand and target audience
This is so important when working with a designer. You need to give them the most in-depth idea of exactly what it is that your company does. You need to illustrate your target audience and your ideal customer. This way they know exactly what they are communicating and who they are communicating it to.
Look for industry experience
Talk to your designer about what you sell or the service you provide. Ascertain if they have experience within your industry be it through design or even as a consumer. Having this knowledge could eliminate much of the learning curve required to get up to speed on your business and make your project a success. It also ensures that the designer will have a good idea of how to connect with your ideal customers.
Talk about designer’s inspirations
The biggest thing to remember when hiring a graphic designer is that you’re looking for more than just a specific skill set. The designer’s overall creativity and work style are just as important as their skills, if not more so. These aren’t things you’ll find on a resume and they can only be discovered through conversation. So the more hands-on you can be during the interview process, the better the final deliverable—and working relationship — is sure to be.