TIP 23: How to Choose a Designer

After reading the last post have you concluded that you’ve violated most of my top design mistakes? Maybe its time to hire a designer. Whether you plan to spend $100 or $10,000 choosing the right designer/web developer for your needs is a critical step.

I suggest considering the following:

The fee for design services can vary widely. Know how much you can comfortably spend before you start shopping for a designer.

Do you know anyone who has worked with the designer? Does he/she have a blog or regularly updated website that indicates something about their communication ability and knowledge and growth in the industry? Consider emailing some previous clients from their portfolio and asking a few simple questions about their relationship with your prospective hire.

Does the designer do most or all designs for a single type of product or style? If so it had better be consistent with your taste and goals. Are there indications that the designer is well established and has been around for a while? Is there a large portfolio or just a few examples of sites. Don’t settle for a designer that cant show you at least a dozen examples of his/her work.

Does the person your interested in working with respond quickly and completely to your questions? Are they just telling you what you want to hear, or are they being honest and forthright about their abilities.

Market Value
How do the rates of your prospective developer compare with others who do similar work? If they charge more why? Is it because they have a highly sought after specialty or just because they are particular good at marketing themselves?

Is the work of your designer consistently strong, or are some elements obviously rushed or slapped together?

Technical Ability
Does the source of websites your developer has worked on look clean and consistent? If you don’t know any html/CSS I highly recommend asking an acquaintance to take a quick look at some code in the designers portfolio.

Workflow organization
Is there a clear and organized method to the design process? Regardless of how your designer charges for their time, you should be able to recognize that they are experienced with a collaborative work flow. They should have organized forms indicating terms and conditions and should communicate clearly what you can expect from them and for how much.

Do you like the designer, do they like you? As trite as it seems, being freindly with your designer is important – the collaborative process of being creative often requires a lot of back and forth.

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