If you’re in the market for a new graphic design firm, or you’re looking for a graphic designer for the first time, you may not know much about the industry, what you can expect from a graphic designer or what you should be looking for. Here are five questions you should ask yourself or your graphic designer.
Ask about the designer’s portfolio
Can I see your portfolio? A graphic designer’s portfolio can tell you a lot about a designer, and should contain work from both current and past clients. As you are looking through the portfolio, ask the designer why s/he included each work. Is each piece both creative and unique? What does each piece tell you about the client? More importantly, is the client still using the work?
What can you tell me about these clients? Ask the graphic designer about the clients represented in the portfolio. Did the graphic designer take the time to really get to know the client and his/her needs? Make notes if you need to and follow up with the client if possible for the client’s perspective.
How does my work fit into your schedule? Whether you’re looking at an independent graphic designer or a full-service graphic design firm with multiple staff members, you have a right to know how your work fits into the provider’s schedule. With an independent graphic designer, you can be reasonably certain that the designer will produce the work you’re paying for. In a larger design firm, make sure you know who will be assigned to work on your account. Look at that graphic designer’s portfolio. Don’t automatically assume that the work in the firm’s portfolio is reflective of the work you’ll get from the designer assigned to your account. Ask questions about responsiveness and turn-around times. With a larger firm, you may want to have time commitments built into your contract.
Will I like working with this graphic designer? Creative relationships can be complicated, but they should never be difficult. The graphic designer should always maintain the client’s needs as his or her first priority. If the design work becomes the graphic designer’s highest priority, but the resulting work doesn’t meet the customer’s real or perceived needs, the relationship between the graphic designer and the client will become strained. Periodically, you should meet with your graphic designer to revisit the needs of your business. This will help the graphic designer stay focused on your priorities, and also help him or her recognize emerging needs.
How much does this cost Keeping costs under control is a high priority for business owners. Ask your graphic designer about his or her current pricing, but also ask about things that can make pricing quotes change. Ask about how often the graphic designer adjusts his or her rate card, and ask how much advance notice the designer gives his or her clients about rate increases. Ask about cost over-runs. How does the graphic designer handle cost-overruns, and how does the designer handle cost increases that result from changes in your instructions?
If you would like to know more about how to “interview” a graphic designer, or would like a graphic design consultation, contact our creative director Dave Ramsell, or give Dave a call at (330) 243—0651.
Photo Credit: photologue_np, via Flickr