Finding the right designer for your small business can be a daunting task. Maybe you’ve never worked with a professional designer before or maybe you have, and the experience made you reconsider working with one ever again. It seems that everyone these days has the tools to create a visual identity, but not everyone has the skills to use them and use them with purpose. Hiring a designer should be considered an investment in your business, so that means doing research and making sure they are the right fit. The right fit means they care about your small business and its success. They see themselves as part of your team and take your needs and concerns seriously. Here are a few things to consider when you are trying to choose a designer that’s not only a good fit for your team, but also one that has the skills and experience to deliver the results you are looking for:
Do they ask questions and really listen to your answers?
It’s all about communication. The clearer understanding a designer has of business’ objectives and the intended audience, the better. If they aren’t asking any questions or doing everything they can to understand the who, what, where and why of your small business and who they’re trying to engage with, then they aren’t creating the most impactful design decisions for your business.
Do they do their research and have reasoning for the design decisions they make, or do they make decisions based solely on what they “like”?
Unless the designer is part of the intended audience, their personal likes and dislikes shouldn’t be reasoning for decisions they make. And even if they do fall into the target demographic, decisions built on “likes” and “dislikes” are shaky, at best. For the same reason that there is no way to please everyone, design can be very subjective (one person loves blue, another hates it) but that’s where research and making decisions based on reasoning and data, rather than personal preference makes for smarter design.
Do all the pieces in their portfolio look the same?
Good design is invisible design, which means that design isn’t like a painting or illustration where you see the style and signature “look” of the artist. A designers job is to make sure that the message and identity of the client, not themselves, is coming through loud and clear. The voices they project for each client should be unique.
Are they well versed in historical and current visual vernacular of design, popular culture and current events as well as those of your intended audience?
One of the greatest things I learned from Ji Lee, one of my professors in college, was this: Good design doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Meaning, you can’t have good design if you don’t know what’s going on in the world around you. Good design is informed design. If the purpose of a brands identity is to engage with an intended audience, then a designer needs to be conscious of the current needs and desires of that audience, and where they have been in the past, in order to create a brand identity that resonates with that audience.
Do they share the same values as your small business?
It’s a given that a person works their hardest at the things they are passionate about. Finding a designer that cares about the values of your business will ensure that they are doing it for more than just a paycheck. They want to spread those values as much as you do. At Wild Daughters, we crave working with clients with whom we share the same values. Not only do we want these businesses to succeed, but it makes our jobs more fulfilling (and easier!) knowing that we connect on a deeper level than the standard client/service provider relationship.