Originally published March 20, 2017 at Lumin8 Strategy & Design Agency Inc.
No one puts their effort into being second best. You know you're great but more importantly, you need the world to know it too. You need to walk the walk and talk the talk but most of all, you need to look like you can do them both. You can hire a designer to realize your goal but hiring a great one means that you make the right choice the first time, gaining superior results while maximizing resources.
The Right Professional For The Job
Although artistic ability is paramount when selecting a graphic designer, it shouldn't be the only consideration. Here are six other attributes that are crucial when hiring the right professional for the job:
1. Eat. Breathe. Live.
An authentic designer's mind is never running your standard nine to five. They are in a constant state of creation and discovery and they wouldn't have it any other way. They live for challenges, relish change, and are driven to action. It's this passion for their calling that separates the designer you want from the one you become stranded with. A person who invests so much of themselves into what they love will never settle for second best and as a result, you won't have to either.
2. Talking It Out
Design is communication. Every logo, business card, or marketing campaign you develop needs to forge a lasting impression and achieving these results can be difficult without the right designer to collaboratively transform your essence into an effective visual identity. The ability to facilitate this process verbally and in written word in a coherent manner is not a skill that all designers possess, but one that's not impossible to find. Listening is just as important as speaking and a great designer does both with equal adeptness.
3. Purpose Before Ego
It pays to listen to your designer and heed their advice. They are, after all, the one with the skills and experience, but it all comes down to getting what you pay for. The key word in that sentence being "you". A designer that treats your project like their own personal art exhibit and ignores your feedback to preserve their "artistic integrity" is someone not acting in your best interest. A great graphic designer welcomes your input, offers direction where it's most valuable, and delivers the closest solution to your vision as possible.
4. The End Game
Being a skilled graphic designer isn't only about taking an idea and transforming it into something tangible. It's about strategizing for the future. How will the asset be used? Who is the target audience? What message must it convey? What sizes and formats will it need to conform to? Understanding the ultimate purpose of the work is what gives it its true value. Presenting a finished product that fits the underlying scope but is constrained by a lack of forethought is a waste of time, potential, and resources.
5. Technically Speaking
Simply owning a copy of Adobe Illustrator does not a graphic designer make. There is much more to great design than knowing how to use a program to make pretty pictures. A great graphic designer understands concepts such as spacial relationships, colour theory, typography, conversion optimization and how to employ them all effectively. A strong familiarity with current printing techniques, packaging processes, and promotional product guidelines bring additional value that cannot be replaced.
6. Taking Care Of Business
Contradictory to preconceptions, a keen mind for business and a professional manner are both invaluable traits in a graphic designer. Punctuality, communication, organization, and planning are frequently underestimated when entering a creative relationship but professionalism is never a downside in any situation. Don't be fooled into believing that proposals and contracts are unnecessary roadblocks in your path to success either. A great graphic designer knows that clarity and accountability are vital to everyone involved on both sides of the table.