Emma Miller graphic design | 3 Tips to hiring a designer
Graphic design, packaging design, hand lettering and branding tauranga new zealand
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Feb 16 2016

3 Tips to hiring a designer

Today I’m talking to you about what you’re getting when hiring a graphic designer… from a graphic designers perspective.


I think every designer has had that moment where they give a quote for a job only to have them balk at the price then run to the hills with arms flailing, muttering that they could go to one of the many websites where designers from around the world bid on your job and you get a logo for $5.


So my answer to the proverbial question of “why should I pay a designer so much money?”. Yeah, that dreaded question that every designer gets asked and every client is thinking.


I’ll explain why it is worth hiring a high level graphic designer, because when your not a designer I understand that it is a pretty big mystery as to what we actually do.


When you hire a graphic designer, not just your third cousin that knows how to use photoshop and was good at art in school, but an actual, university level qualified graphic designer, you are paying for a customised one of a kind solution to a problem that you need an answer to so that you can earn more money. And here is the big thing… it’s a problem you can’t fix alone, or you wouldn’t be hiring a designer.


Now I’m not just talking out of my rear. I didn’t just do a 3 week course on the internet, buy a computer, get some hipster clothes and start calling myself a ‘graphic artist’. I studied for years, in a gruelling course in one of the worlds top university degree programs for graphic design (and have the student loan to prove it). I have learnt through years of education, experience and damn hard work, how to approach problems for a creative, one of a kind solution. I know the rules of design and when it’s ok to break them. I also know the rules that should never be broken, yes, there are design rules that shouldn’t be broken and if you do, the work looks sloppy… end of story.  I know how to make a solution that is unique to YOU, not something I came up with previously that can have a slight alteration and *BAM* you have a logo. I can take packaging that looks mediocre and turn it into a classy product that will sell. I can liaise with printers and producers and make your life so much easier because I can speak the lingo. I know what works and what doesn’t.


I know how to help you make your business look professional, trustworthy and uniquely you, so that you can build trust with your clients and bring in more revenue.


When you pay me or another ‘qualified’ designer, you are getting a very particular skill set that goes far beyond knowing how to use design programs. You are essentially purchasing a one of a kind section of your designers brain, a creative solution that will make a vital difference to your business. You are hiring someone who knows a process that is imbedded into how they think. A process that is impossible to teach to someone who does not have a natural bent towards design.


You would never hire a photographer for your wedding purely based on them being cheap and owning a camera and then expect amazing images, the same goes for a graphic designer, you get what you pay for.


If you value your business, your brand and your products, I beg you, TAKE YOUR DESIGN SERIOUSLY. A shoddy design will waste your money! I can say with absolute certainty, if you hire a designer based on lowest cost, not talent and process, your end product will not be your best solution, you will lose potential sales, you will not look as competent or trustworthy as your competitors and in the end you will either give up or need to pay another designer to produce something that will work for you.


Do not pay for designs that will need to be constantly pushed up hill, your design needs to do the work for you. When people see your business, or products you want them to be drawn to it, to communicate your brand effectively, even if they have no idea what it is, you want them to walk up to it and think ‘wow, that looks good’.


Now, if you’ve stuck this far into this article, here are 3 sure fire tips for hiring a designer and making the whole process run smoothly.


  1. Communication! Don’t just hire someone who looks good, make sure you chat, email, Skype, whatever, just COMMUNICATE and see if they get your vision. For example I love working with people in all aspects of the health, development, art, surf or wine industry because I ‘get it’, they are my passions so I know who your audience is, I will enjoy working on your content and I will create what you need and want. Now if you want work that will connect with rap enthusiasts, I’m not your girl, I don’t get it and it would be an uphill battle for both of us.


  1. Make sure both you and your designer have a similar style, when people say they can alter their style to suit anything, I call bullshit. Make sure you look for an aesthetic you love when hiring, it will save you so much heart ache. Look for someone who’s portfolio work you love.


  1. Know your copy; so much time is wasted at both ends if you haven’t figured out the copy. You can save so much money by not needing 274 alterations because you are making up your text fill as you go along. If you don’t know where to start with copy, I can recommend some incredible editors and copy writers.


To finish, I truly beg you, in a hands clasped, ugly crying face style of begging, to realise that any graphic designer worth paying, works damn hard, we will stay up at night obsessing over how to make your design perfect, it will consume us and we won’t give you something unless it is right for you. You will be hiring a person who picks clients who are a good fit, not just a source of cash.


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