7 Tips For Choosing The Best Designer For Your Business

9 July 2020


For many small businesses and startups, hiring a brand and/or website designer will be their first experience of outsourcing to a third-party to help them, so it can naturally be a very intimidating process.

We’ve put together some tips below that will help you get the information you need and ask the right questions in order to feel confident choosing a designer for your business’ specific needs.

1. Decide Exactly What You Need Help With

While the first thing that comes to mind might be ‘I need a website’ or ‘I need a logo’ – there’s a lot more to those requirements than you’ll initially realise.

Firstly, if you want to ensure that your business is modern, future-proof and memorable, you’ll need much more than ‘just a logo’. What you really need is a brand identity, including things such as brand fonts, a colour palette, primary logo, logo variations, submarks, icons and much more.

So if you do want to create a cohesive, professional looking brand, you’ll need to be looking for a ‘Brand Designer’, not just someone who can chuck up a logo for you in a few hours for five pounds… (Yes I’m looking at you Fiverrr!). Realising this is the first and most important step in finding the right designer for you.

Similarly, if you say ‘I need a website’, you need to be asking yourself the following questions before you can even begin your search for the right person for the job:

Would I like my website to be on a certain platform?

If you decide that a website designer is right for you and your business, you should absolutely consider what platform you want your website to be designed on (e.g WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly etc.). If you have no idea which you prefer, move onto step 2 (checking out the designer’s portfolio!) and see if you like their work, and ask them to suggest a platform based on that. Many designers, like ourselves, specialise in one platform so its vital you make sure your designer can accommodate your desired one.

Would I like a completely custom website?

Websites can be made in two ways: from scratch with a fully custom design and development for your business, or by using a template a simply customising it for your needs. While custom websites are often much more expensive as they require a designer and a developer (or a clever-clogs who can do both – hello!) they’ll give you a tailor-made experience the you simple wont get from a one-size-fits-all template. If you are however a small business needing a fairly basic website, blog or eCommerce site, templates can offer a cost-effective starting point.

Will I need a designer or a developer?

As mentioned above, if you’re looking for a completely custom made website, you’ll need a developer to do this as it will require writing parts of the website from scratch via code. For lots of small business though you’ll likely only need a website designer – experts in taking templates and customising them to your needs, with a sprinkling of coding knowledge just for safe measure. Website Designers will be cheaper than developers and you’ll get your finished website in a much shorter time-span.

Would I like someone to update & maintain my website for me?

Once you’ve decided you want a designer who specialises in WordPress, for example, make sure you check what sort of packages they offer and whats included in their website/design fees. Some may offer maintenance and care plans, so that you can pay a monthly fee and never have to worry about editing or updating the site yourself. Others may include videos and guides at the end of the project to give you the tools you need to make edits yourself and not need to rely on the designer. Some may even offer both care plans alongside guides and tutorials, as we do, so that you have the peace of mind if anything you edit breaks the site you can call on the designer to come and rescue it!

2. Have a Good Look at Their Website & Social Media

Many may disagree but I truly believe it couldn’t be more important that you not only like the designer you’re going to be working with, but that they share your values; this is someone that;s going to be delving into your brand and goals at the end of the day!

Make sure you nose at their website and it’s ‘about’ page, alongside all of their social media channels. What do they say about themselves and their values? What have they been posting on social media? Try to imagine yourself working together – would it be a good fit? Would you get along if you met this person face-to-face? If yes, go for it!

3. Check Out Their Portfolio

No matter how many glowing recommendations the designer has, no matter how amazing their website is, always, and i repeat, ALWAYS have a look at their portfolio. Just because someone has the skills you require, does not mean that their style is compatible with you or your business.

A quick look through a few designers portfolios will tell you that each and every one has their own style. As you browse through their portfolio take a good look at the types of business they’ve worked with; are they all large corporations or small and boutique? Highly professional or fun and edgy? Ask yourself if your business would fit in with their style.

If you can’t find their portfolio or it’s very limited, don’t be put off, just ask them to send you some example of previous work so you can get a good feel for if you enjoy their work.

4. Read All of Their Testimonials

Designers that have a portfolio on their site will most likely have a few testimonials to go alongside their work. Have a read and get a good feel for what people have said and them and what they’re like to work with (even better if they mention what style they were going for etc.)

If testimonials are hard to find, you can always reach out to their previous clients and ask them directly how their experience with the designer was and whether they’d recommend them.

5. Find Out How Their Timeline & Process Works

By reading through what their design process entails, the details and files they’ll need from you and what timeline they work to is a fantastic way to find out if you’ll be happy working with this designer.

For the spontaneous among us who like to go with their intuition, you may like to work with someone who provides one, definitive brand and logo concept after an in-depth one-on-one ‘getting to know you’ process. (Yes there are designer that work like this and it’s pretty awesome!)

If you’re like me and enjoy a little more structure in your life (or have been called a perfectionist at times…), you may find it more enjoyable working with someone who has a nicely laid out step-by-step process, providing plenty of opportunity for you to give feedback and suggest revisions to the designs.

6. Ask What Files Are Provided

This is vital if you plan to be doing more with your branding and logos than just adding them to your social media and website. The majority of designers will provide you with web-optimised files, but you should always check that they’ll be offering files that are optimised for print as well.

You never know when you might need to create a poster or signage for your business, and without vector versions of your logos and sub-marks you’ll be stuck with blurry, amateur-looking work that won’t help business at all!

7. Ask About Their Availability

There’s nothing worse than spending weeks of time researching designers, finally finding one that aligns with your brand and values, whose work you love, getting round to contacting them and finding out they’re fully booked for the next 6 months when your business launches in 1 month!

If you’re working to a strict deadline, its imperative you check the designer’s availability before you get overly attached to the idea of working together! Many designer can become booked up months in advance, so make sure you’re planning who you’re going to hire long before you want to start the project.

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