With so much time spent engaging electronically, people are becoming increasingly visual—but far less attentive. As a small business owner, this must influence the way you communicate with your customers. Your message is no longer enough; it needs to be delivered in a dazzling and delightful manner. That’s where professional graphic design can help.
The right designer or design agency can take your idea and breathe critical visual life into it—producing effective, attention-grabbing marketing materials that do their job: to sell your product or service.
The problem is that countless individuals call themselves graphic designers with no more than a Photoshop license on their home computer.
So, how do you know if you’ve found the “right” graphic designer or graphic design team?
The right designer for your project will have exceptional skill, plenty of experience, and a track record for successful project delivery. To make sure your vendor meets these requirements, here’s an outline of questions you should ask before beginning an engagement:
- How long have you been doing graphic design?
- Do you have any formal training?
- Can I see a portfolio of your work?
- Do you have customer testimonials on your website or in print?
- Can I speak with a few clients about their experience working with you?
Watch out for minimal experience, a lack of work samples, and difficulty producing clients that will speak to prospects on the designer’s behalf. The best indicators of a quality service provider are a successful business and plenty of satisfied clients.
- Are you a freelancer or affiliated with an agency?
- What are your hours of operation?
- During the course of the project, when and how can I reach you with questions or comments?
- What turnaround time can I expect for each phase of the project?
- How many drafts can I see before the final?
Look for indications that the designer has a solid project management process in place. An experienced graphic designer understands the value of a project plan that includes well-defined deliverables and a realistic timeline. Additionally, you want to make sure your designer is accessible and committed to meeting deadlines.
- What software programs or other tools do you use?
- In what formats will I receive my designs?
- If I need another file format or size later on, will you be able to create it for me?
- Will you be archiving copies of my design? If so, how long do you store them?
It’s important to consider file storage. If a designer doesn’t archive your project for you, make sure you back up the files in your own storage system in case of emergency.
Billing & Payment
- What are your rates?
- Are your rates hourly, or project-based?
- Will I incur added charges if my project takes longer than expected?
- Do you require a deposit? If so, how much and is it refundable?
- How and when will I receive my invoice?
- When will my payment be due?
- What methods of payment do you accept?
- Can I pay online, or by credit card?
- What if I am not satisfied with the final result? Do you issue refunds?
Be wary of designers with no guarantee related to your satisfaction. You want someone who is flexible enough to work with you to produce something you love at a price you can afford.
Comprehension & Communication
- Do you understand my company, product, or service?
- Will you be easy for me to work with?
These are the most important questions to think about and answer for yourself. Your design team’s job is to take your abstract ideas and turn them into concrete visual material. Therefore, they should take the time to understand you and your business, and communication should easily flow between you.
Color & Code provides highly-skilled graphic designers with practical experience in a wide range of business verticals. Our entire team is held to the highest standards of quality and service—and our track record for customer satisfaction proves it. We encourage our clients to ask a lot of questions before engaging our services because it builds a trusting, productive relationship.
Whether you are considering Color & Code or another vendor to fill your graphic design needs, we encourage you to ask these questions and closely compare vendor answers before making a selection. As a guide, please download our free Vendor Evaluation Form to help you in your decision making.