How to identify a good designer

When looking for a designer, it is so important to make sure that you find a good designer who has the interest of your business at the forefront. But, like all industries, it can sometimes be tough to find a diamond in the rough – especially if you don’t know what to look for! So, below are a few things to keep in mind when searching for a designer who will actually add value to your business.

A good designer will:


1) Ask questions!
If it is the first time dealing with your company, a good graphic designer will ask a lot of questions and get to know your company and brand identity. They will take the time to get to know you and understand your goals and target market/audience. Another good indication that you’re working with a good designer, is if they ask for detailed briefs about each new project. Questions about your goals for the project, the target market, the key message you want to portray to your audience, key objectives, and questions about what a successful outcome would look like; all show that your designer is keeping the interest of your business in the forefront of their mind.

2) Listen
A lot of designers might try to tell you what you need straight up, but this can mean that they’re not actually interested or invested into delivering you a product that you truely want and are willing to spend money on. A good designer will listen to you before they start to suggest some solutions.

3) Not be swayed by trends
In a world that is very aware of ‘keeping-up-with-the-trends’, I understand that this statement may cause a few raised eye-brows… Bare with me. As a designer I know how important it is to keep up with the trends and to know what is happening in the world around us (aesthetically and technically), but I am a believer that things need to be timeless to actually stand out and make a real lasting impact. Design decisions should not be made because it ‘fits-in’ with the current trend… the way trends come in and out, it may not be ‘IN’, a month down the track! Design decisions should be made to suit the product and/or service, they should align with the visual brand and identity of the company, and should be based off the message being communicated – not made simply because of the current ‘trend’.

Design decisions should be made to suit the product and/or service, they should align with the visual brand and identity of the company…

4) Be a good communicator
Since it’s a designer’s job to clearly communicate your brand message to your audience, it is imperative that your designer is a good communicator with you. A good indication of a designer who is a good communicator is if they:

  • have the ability to actively listen to you and your needs, and ask questions,
  • are able to provide quotes which meet your needs, and which clearly highlight what is included and involved,
  • are able to clearly explain things to you in a way that isn’t in the ‘design-lingo’,
  • clarify what they have heard and confirm their understanding,
  • provide clear and succinct summaries.

The communication that you have with your designer is equally as important as how they communicate with you. At the end of the day, you both need be on the same page and have the same understanding of the message you’re delivering. Therefore, it is also important for you to communicate appropriately and be as clear and open as possible with your designer.

5) Understand context
For a design to succeed and be adopted by the target market, it needs to be relevant to the context. It needs to easily integrate into the life of the intended audience. A good designer will make an effort to understand the context in which their design will be seen, used and interacted with, and it is their job to adapt their strategic design solutions to the correct medium for the target market.

6) Bounce ideas
When it comes to design, it’s often a team effort to thank for the big ideas. Designers bounce ideas off each other (or other creatives) all the time, and it is the mindset of a great designer that is always striving to do better and achieve better results. Don’t be offended if a designer comes back to you with an idea which is different to what you originally had. It may not be that your idea was ‘bad’, but it could simply be a collaboration of minds to create something awesome! This also comes into the ‘pushing boundaries’ mindset of a great designer…

7) Pushes the boundaries
While each job has limitations – adhering to what is socially acceptable, sticking to the brief, and falling within the practical implementations, distribution and manufacturing limits – a great designer will always desire to push boundaries and do better than what has already been done. They are observers and often seek out ‘less-than-obvious’ solutions. A great designer is creative and isn’t bound by ‘rules’ but uses them more as guidelines to improve on what already exists.

8) Care about the impact
A great designer cares about the impact that a design has on the audience it was intended for. A great designer is interested in the success of the product which they created for you and will likely follow up about it, analyse, and look into how it could be improved next time. They also care about the impact that they have on the world. They will consider the environmental impact and search out sustainable printing methods (using sustainable inks and papers), production, and other systems of implementation.

Good designers can have a huge impact on your business. Think of them as an external extension of your company who is trying to achieve results and improve sales of your services or products. They care about the service that they provide, and they are opportunists and observers. They soak up what is going on in the world so that they can create opportunities, change, and experiences, making a positive impact on you, your company, and your audience.

In my work, these are all the things that I strive to offer my clients. So, if you’d like to have a chat, get in contact below and we’ll get you to the next step!

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