How to Hire a Design Contractor – Beyond the Portfolio and personalities to look for

Are you trying to hire a design contractor? It’s hard to know what to do and find the right designer for you. Learn the steps needed to find the best design contractor at a reasonable rate for your budget…

“My secret to getting work was really simple, I delivered good work, on time and communicated what I was going to deliver and when they should expect it. I just showed I cared” – Tayler Freund, Design Freelancer for more than 10 years.

The value of your business and what you offer can all depend on the quality of your design. How are you communicating your mission or value proposition? The first thing people will see is your website, logo, product or color style. All this can affect the number of sales you make, the price, and your long-term growth. That’s why it’s so important to find a good designer that understands your business.

“I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.” – Lindon Leader, Graphic Designer, and Creator of the FedEx logo.

We both know how expensive it can be and how hard it is to find the right partner/team to design for your business. But if you now how to look, you can find the perfect designer for your budget and brand. Here, we’ll explore how to hire a design contractor and who to look for.

Know What You Want

Before you start looking for a designer, it’s vital that you know exactly what you need for your business. Do you have a clear mission statement? Do you know your “Why,” or the reason why people are passionate about your brand? All these things will help develop the ultimate product of your design.

During this stage, you’ll also want to explore what style you want to adopt. Think of your target audience and their demographics. What kind of colors will attract them? What style gives everyone an idea of the industry you’re in? Once you define these things, you’ll be ready to start looking for the right designer.

You Are Looking for A Partner

There are many businesses that are just looking for a quick design. When it comes to the growth of your company, it’s not the best strategy to follow. In fact, the person you should be looking for is a designer who will add significant value to your business.

That’s why it’s so important to respect the craft. They are professionals in what they do. They know industry trends and what attracts customers to buy your product or service. Their job is to collaborate with you. Once they know your vision, they can translate it into something powerful and effective.

Vision is key to this. Making sure that the two parties have aligned vision will make the end project that much better. Visions will change slightly as the project manifests itself. Finding the core mission and coming back to this (hint: write down the client’s mission if its not already stated in an existing piece of content) is important. Speaking this mission verbally during stakeholder meetings is an extra plus, showing both the client and end customers that you did your homework and your sticking with the vision regardless of how it might have been altered (swayed) during the project.

Find the Right Personality

It’s as simple as it sounds, but one of the most important things you can do. Find someone you enjoy talking to and that offers value to you. If all goes well, this might be someone you partner with for a long time.

You want someone that’s willing to work with you, collaborate and create something together. When you have a suggestion for the design, they’ll consider it without hesitation. If you have an idea but it might negatively affect your brand, they will tell you with candor. An organic, healthy relationship is everything.

Do Your Own Research

You want to be able to understand what’s going on and have an idea of what you want. Make sure to check out sources like Flickr, Pinterest, Dribbble, Behance and Google Images for ideas. It’s important to be on the same page as your designer.

Research during your hiring might be one of the most beneficial things you can do before hiring. During the inquiry phase it is best that you have screenshots or links of existing designs that either fit your direction or are competitors. Adding 5-15 designs that you fancy does one of two things: 1) it creates a vision and direction in the minds of the design team. 2) It also suggestion what your prefer styles are so that the design team can do their best to tweak their style to match your preferences.

Plan & Write a Creative Brief

Speak the language. A creative brief will look a lot like project planning. This will help you generate the goals and timeline for the project. These don’t have to be long or overly planned. Many times, if clients are used issuing RFP (request for proposals) they could be subjecting themselves to a larger budget and of course, expensive design agencies bids. Start small, giving only the following information:

Things to include:

•    Your vision and the history of your business

•    About your brand

•    Expectations and goals (the results you want)

•    The designs you need

•    The timeline of the project

•    Your target audience

•    Competition and similar companies/brands

•    Any extra materials they need (content and images etc.)

•    Your budget  

When you lay out all these things, you’ll be more than ready to hire your design contractor.

Develop a Strategy

Begin planning early with your design contractor on your business strategy. This can be for the next 2 years or even 10. When you plan ahead, your designer will know the steps needed to get you there. In any kind of project, communicating your vision and the big picture improves collaboration and intentional growth.

The strategy for any business in 2019 must have design at the c-level table and at many times, leading the discussions. Products, whether digital or not, all have core user-attributes that can be cumbersome to navigate if not designed first. There has been countless money and time spent creating products that must be redesigned down the road. The best approach is to design a product with user feedback (human-centered design techniques) and then create updates and feature “tweaks” during the lifetime of the product.

At Pixel Co., we have a team of designers ready to make your vision a reality. With affordable rates and a dedicated team, you can get the value you need to bring your business to the next level. We produce award-winning designs that focus on UI UX experiences that one remembers. If you work in Slack, Figma, Webflow, Adobe, and Invision and you love design theory and user experiences, give us a shout.

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