I have been designing for brands and businesses for over 17 years.
I am a design maven.
I teach graphic & web design, and coach my clients when my company is hired to work on a project. We develop marketing materials that produce consistent messages via design and varied mediums. When I do work for clients, they become lifers.
We love working with the brands we help to develop. The soul centered entrepreneurs we work with prefer to be educated on the design process. It allows our company the opportunity to develop a standard of expectation. That’s not the norm when dealing with every branding agency (as I have been told several times). So I decided to jot down a few things that you can do as a potential brand identity client to make sure you hire a great designer or brand identity company out of the gate.
I know when hiring someone to develop the brand identity portion of their brand, my clients are excited (and should be).
So if they don’t go with us, I caution clients to keep their expectations realistic (especially based on the prices they are being charged) and slow down enough to think of the conversation with a potential designer as an interview.
Ask yourself some questions first so you know how to frame the conversation based on the most important outcome you want for your brand.
- Are you hoping this can be a long term relationship that you’re building with this designer?
- Do you just need one project done and is that going to be all you need at that time? If that is the case, you should ask yourself question 3.
- How will you going to maintain a brand continuity across your projects by using various designers to do piece work for you?
The questions above can help you frame the narrative when speaking to the graphic designers you are interested in hiring. This designer does not have to be a specialist in your industry or field. Their portfolio does not have to contain the exact design you ‘want’ to see. But you should enjoy their designs overall.
[su_pullquote]Don’t assume they aren’t capable of fulfilling all of your project deliverables because you didn’t see that ‘look’ you were going for in their portfolio.[/su_pullquote]
Do you like their portfolio? This is more of a question about style and not content.
- Do you like the way they place images, flow text?
- Are they a conservative designer? Contemporary designer? Can they create something flashy?
The portfolio is more of an opportunity to showcase a varied skill set. It’s not about finding YOUR particular request already present in the portfolio. Companies that hire creatives and clients that hire designers often get this wrong. This generally happens when a company puts someone in charge of hiring a designer that has no design background. They don’t typically know what to look for in the designer’s portfolio.
Your potential designer may not have the type of project there that you have in mind but they are more than likely willing to create it. Designers love a challenge.
Is their portfolio small or non-existent? Not having a portfolio is no reason to dismiss the opportunity to hire a quality designer. There may be reasons they do not have a portfolio. Ask. Their web presence should be enough to show you their design aesthetic. Barring that, marketing pieces you have seen in print from the designer should also give you an idea of whether or not you are impressed by their work.
So the next time you decide to get some work done, ask yourself these questions so you are able to develop a visually cohesive brand with a designer or design company you can develop a relationship with. After all, we are all in the relationship building business. Why not build a quality team for your brand that you can trust and work with time and time again?