Visual communication is so powerful. Having a strong and consistent visual identity is important for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and investing in your visual communication can be a way to elevate your brand and business growth.
Perhaps you’re not satisfied with your current brand image. Or, you might feel like you could improve in certain areas to reflect the essence of your business. Maybe you’ve never even considered creating a true brand identity for your business. Well, you’re in the right place.
If you’re a small business looking to ramp up the visuals for your business, you should consider hiring a graphic designer or outsourcing to a graphic design agency.
And how do I go about doing that? We’ve put together everything you need to know to hire a graphic designer for your business.
Before we go straight into how to choose a graphic designer to work with, let’s cover some other important stuff.
What exactly is graphic design?
Graphic design is the art and skill of creating visual content to communicate messages to a specific audience. Graphic combines art, purpose and strategy, using carefully selected visual components such as form, typography, imagery and colour to fulfill an objective goal or problem solve. The goal of graphic design is to strike a balance between aesthetic and logic.
What do graphic designers do?
Graphic design is just the tip of a very big iceberg. Within the world of graphic design, the term ‘designer’ is wide and designers can specialise in various things such as logo design, digital and web design, brand design, and more.
Most designers will have the general skills to work in several design areas, but if you’re looking to create amazing packaging it makes sense to find an expert packaging designer who really knows their stuff.
Knowing the different types of graphic designers can set you off on the right foot when it comes to finding a designer for your project. Here are some of the most common types of graphic designers:
- Logo Designers
- Motion Designers
- Web Designers
- Packaging Designers
- 3D Graphic Designers
- UX Designers
- Brand Identity Designers
- Layout and Print Designers
- Creative/Art Director
What is a graphic design agency?
A graphic design agency is a team of graphic designers that collaborate with businesses to produce visual design for branding, print, online, advertising, packaging, merchandise, etc. A graphic design agency can also create a brand identity for your business, design a style guide and roll-out strategies to help you achieve your business goals.
Why use a graphic designer?
There are many reasons why you should use a graphic designer for your business. Here are just some of the benefits:
- Strengthen your brand identity
- Establish professionalism and consistency
- Save time
- Save money
- Attract and keep customers engaged
- Have confidence knowing things have been done properly
- Gain new perspectives and bring your ideas to life
- Get better results
What’s the difference between a graphic design agency and a creative agency?
A graphic design agency provides a subset of services offered by a creative agency. A graphic design agency focuses mainly on visual designs such as logo, visual branding, marketing and advertising designs, while a creative agency will work on creative strategies, graphic design, digital design and creative advertising and marketing campaigns.
There are many many options when it comes to finding a graphic designer to work with. Along with graphic design agencies and creative agencies, there’s also in-house designers and freelance or contracted designers.
In-house vs freelance designers: Which is better?
There’s no right answer when it comes to hiring an in-house or freelance designer. What’s right for your business depends on different factors. Here are a few things to take into account:
Pros of using an in-house designer
- Works just for your business which is beneficial for the quality and quantity of work
- Really gets to know the business which can be integral for big design projects
- Increased availability makes room for more collaboration
Cons of using an in-house designer
- Increased cost of paying salary even when the workload is low, especially for startups
- Need to ensure consistent work to keep the role interesting
- Need to ensure they have generalist skillset to cover all your needs
Pros of using a freelance designer
- Cost-efficient as payment is on a project-to-project basis
- You can hire specialist designers according to each project
- More flexible and less commitment with all that comes with enrolling a permanent team member
Cons of using a freelance designer
- It can be time-consuming trying to find the right freelancer
- Works with a range of businesses and brand so you’ll need to ensure they’re briefed well
- They can’t always commit to last minute tasks for a project or attend team meetings
How much do graphic designers charge?
The cost for graphic design services varies and depends on the complexity of a project, deadlines, project duration and the level of design expertise required. Graphic designers may give you an estimate for a fixed price (an all-inclusive price for a project) or an hourly rate and the number of hours they expect it will take to complete.
How to find and hire a graphic design agency
With so many design agencies and freelancers out there, how do you make up your mind when it comes to choosing the best people for your project? Here are some things that (we hope) will help you.
1. Define your project goals
You might be quite happy with handing the reins over to a graphic designer, and that’s totally fine. However, the first thing you need to do is create a basic outline of the project and define your needs and end goals. Being able to communicate the project and having a basic idea of the design services you’ll require creates a sturdier ground to work on with your chosen agency.
2. Set your budget and deadlines
In the early initial stages of planning a project, it’s important to start thinking about costs and how much budget you should set aside. If this is your first time looking for graphic design services, check out some of the questions in the Q&A section below to get an idea of figures. When it comes to hiring a graphic designer, price definitely shouldn’t be the determining factor. This is an investment in the future of your business, and it’s quite often a case of you get what you pay for.
3. Evaluate design portfolios and client testimonials
When you’ve found a few graphic designers whose work you like the look, it’s crucial to evaluate their portfolio. A portfolio is the showreel of a designer’s work, giving you insight into their aesthetic, what they’re really great at and any areas they may not be as strong in. Pay attention to the companies they’ve worked with, projects they’ve worked on and relevant samples such as logos.
4. Ask the right questions
When you’ve narrowed your choices down, the final thing to do is ask the right questions. You want to be sure that whoever you hire is on the same page, and that you’re both a good fit for working with each other. This list isn’t exhaustive, but more of a guide to steer your conversation in the right way:
- Can you talk me through your portfolio?
- Can you tell me about your design process?
- How do you prefer to collaborate with clients and other members of the team?
- What has been your most interesting/challenging project to work on?
- What are some of your favourite brands and why?
- What is your preferred style of working?
- How do you deal with roadblocks and conflict?
Ready to hire a graphic designer? Tell us about your project and we’ll help you find the best graphic designer for your project.
You can also compare our range of offers on graphic design software and tools, which have been curated with small businesses in mind.