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What you need to do before hiring a graphic designer

Save time and money on graphic design with a bit of organisation

I’ll let you in on a little secret – the best design work comes about because the client was prepared with a little knowledge and clarity. While I, like every great designer will give you 110%, a great outcome requires the client to do a bit of homework too.

These are my top seven things that the best clients have all figured out before we start:

1. A Deadline

Most good designers are booked out weeks or even months in advance and I am no different. There is often a big-time gap between the date of your first enquiry and the decision to go ahead and in-demand designers get booked up fast. Make sure your designer knows if there is a date you need your project by. Even if you don’t have a set date, make sure you have at least a guideline of when your job will be started, so you don’t get frustrated by an unexpectedly long wait.

2. A Budget

Good design is worth the investment, and your designer is doing more than just making your logo, website or marketing look beautiful. They are making sure it is fit for purpose, functional, and user-friendly. Time is often spent researching and planning before the design work is even started.

Download price guides from your favourite designers to give you an idea of what different projects are worth. Remember that things like complexity, scope creep, excessive changes, and any alterations to the original brief will all add extra costs that can’t be quoted.

If you have a set budget, talk to your chosen designer – they may be able to tweak their packages to suit.

3. Identify your target market

If I don’t know who your logo, website, or other design project is supposed to appeal to, it will end up being a fairly generic design that won’t show your brand personality and you’ll come across as bland. It may also not be fit for purpose – eg if it is a brochure for the elderly and the type is really small, they will have difficulty reading it and may discard it for something easier.

4. Determine your point of difference

If you want your brand and marketing to stand out, you’ll need to know what makes your business stand out. Why will your target market choose you over all the other businesses offering the same product or service?

Start with figuring out your brand values, philosophy, personality, and your unique selling points. Then your designer can make all your branding, website, and marketing collateral reflect these and help you will build a loyal customer base who loves and trusts your brand.

5. Share your inspiration

If you already have something in a style/look that you love and want to use again, or you’ve seen something that inspires you please share before the project is started. Your designer can give you their expert opinion on whether that fits with your desired outcomes, target market, and brand personality. Sharing this information after you receive your first proof wastes time and therefore your money because the original brief has changed.

6. Desired outcome or call to action (CTA)

What do you want people to do when they visit your website, read your brochure, or see your poster? Do you want them to book a call, purchase tickets, download information, sign up for your newsletter or purchase a product?

For printed collateral where are you going to distribute it and how? For digital collateral, what is your plan for sharing it?

7. Get your content ready

Your content is any existing branding and style guide, your final and proofed copy (that’s the words), and high-resolution photos. If you need help with any of this talk to your designer well before your start date. Most designers won’t start work on a project unless they have the content because there is essentially nothing to work with.

It’s also likely you will have to complete a client intake questionnaire with details of your business, contact information, target market, and brand personality.

Whether this is your first time or 100th time hiring a designer ask them what they need and what you need to do, as well as your desired outcomes before the project begins – communication and being organised are key to you getting a great design solution.

Want to work with an experienced graphic designer who can help guide you with all the above? Get in touch so I can get started designing visual marketing solutions that work for you.