Your Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Graphic Designer - The Questions You Should Be Asking

Photo by Stevie Rotella Photography

Photo by Stevie Rotella Photography

Boss, we totally get it - hiring a designer to represent your business can be a daunting task! We work with some amazing creative partners to provide stellar graphic design services to our clientele - and today we’re sharing our guide to hiring a graphic designer!

Whether you’re looking for a brand designer or simply a designer to tackle your latest event flier or signage for your place of business, here’s some general questions you should be asking:

1. What is your niche specialty within graphic design? Are you an illustrator or do you work exclusively digitally?

Graphic designers have different unique skill sets depending on how they studied and learned their craft. While some may be more classically artsy and able to hand draw elements to later be digitized, others work solely in their digital program of choice - and it’s very important to note this when looking for your designer. Just like we say when hiring photographers, always pick by their style!

2. What is the investment?

Making sure that the designer of choice is within your price range is key, but also keep in mind that design services aren’t cheap, so if you’re looking for cheap, be prepared to do it yourself! A lot of unnecessary trouble can be avoided if you make sure that the designer is within your price range.

3. What is the process?

Gathering really firm parameters around what can be expected and what the steps to the process are is really wise - again, avoiding unnecessary conflict with the designer later down the road. Most designers will send you a “welcome packet” or at the very least, outline a detailed process in their contract and consultation meeting so nothing slips through the cracks.

4. How many revisions do I get?

This is KEY information, boss! Graphic design takes many, many hours and it’s important to be mindful of this when hiring a professional who knows their stuff! Most professional designers only allow up to so many revisions within the quoted investment, otherwise any additional revisions will add up at their hourly rate. Being respectful of the artist and taking the initiative to clarify how many revisions you will receive early on will set very clear expectations from the get-go.

5. What is the timeline?

To avoid any miscommunication, always specify if you have a deadline you’re trying to meet instead of assuming the designer can meet your request. Ask them how long the typical timeline is for X project or your specific scope of work. Pro Tip: Things ALWAYS turn out better if you don’t rush the process. :)

In addition to the very vital top 5 questions we’ve detailed above, here’s some random facts that you may want to keep in mind:

1. Original file delivery is not customary

Professional working designers customarily do NOT provide original, editable files to their clients and this shouldn’t be expected as you embark on this new relationship. If for whatever reason you need original files, these may be purchased for an additional fee.

2. Copyrighting and trademarking may incur fees

If you intend on legally trademarking your logo or other brand identity mark, the designer may charge an additional fee for this as well, considering you would then be the legal owner of the files. The designer always owns the original design unless stated otherwise.

3. You must seek permission before altering

Because the designer owns the work and it is assumed copyrighted to their business by default, it is a no-no to alter the work without asking permission first. We commonly get approached by clients who purchased a logo design from a friend or previous designer and want us to “improve” upon the design, which is fine, but we require that they present us with written approval from the designer before we begin work. This could otherwise lead to a legal battle that isn’t fun for anyone and is overall disrespectful to the original artist, so we work to make sure all the pieces are put in place.

We hope this handy guide is a helpful resource for you along your design journey! If you have any additional questions or thoughts, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. While you’re here, check out our guides on branding, photography and content marketing.

Guide to Hiring a Graphic Designer

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