One more thing…

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about what to look for in hiring a graphic designer, but I think I forgot something.  Your best designers will have a passion for the field and do design work even when they’re not getting paid for it.  That said, I’d like to show you some Word Cup 2014 printable signs I’ve been working on.  You can also check out more fun freebies here.


Brazil World Cup 2014 Sign | Que Bonito E


USA World Cup 2014 Printable Sign | I Believe That We Will Win

So, how do I hire a Designer?

1. Look at the designer’s portfolio.  Make sure you see examples of what you’d like to hire your designer for.  If you are looking to have a logo made, and you only see business card designs, this designer may not be a good fit for you.

  • Also evaluate the content & the site in general.  If the website doesn’t look nice, your design probably won’t either.  When you’re looking at examples of the designer’s work, ask yourself if you would buy from or trust a company with the logos, cards, websites, etc you see represented on the designer’s portfolio.

2. Send an informative inquiry.  You may see several designers whose portfolios you like.  Get in contact with them with a short note about your project, but be as descriptive as you can (ex. I’m looking for someone to design a logo for a childcare business.  I’d like it to have a baby in the logo & I want the main colors to be pink and blue).

3. Discuss your payment plan. Most likely, you will pay a retainer fee.  After this you’ll get your first designs within a few days.  Then you give feedback and get your changes. Rinse, repeat until you’re happy with the project, pay and receive the source files.

  • Ask for an estimate based on the designer’s experience with this type of project.  A lot of designers work on an hourly rate, so you’ll need to ask how many hours they estimate the project will take.  Some designers offer a flat rate but may limit changes. Here is a sample of my flat rate pricing for design work.  While each project is different, these will give you an idea of about what you can expect to pay from a freelancer.  Agencies will cost significantly more.

Why do I need a designer?

I know photoshop.  Why do I need to hire a graphic designer?

  1. Good designers have relevant experience that will make your branding look professional.
  2. A good designer will be able to work in the correct programs to make sure you have the types of files you need.
  3. Having a designer do it right the first time means you will save money in the long run. A complete set of the files you need in the correct formats means you will save time and money later should you need to make any changes.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a new client hire me to fix something their last designer did wrong.  Some common mistakes are saving a logo in a raster instead of vector format.  It’s extremely important to have an editable vector file of your logo so that you can make changes and increase the size without losing quality.

When you do it yourself or hire someone who is not a professional, you run the risk of having to spend the same amount of money again to have it done right.

See my next post on How to Hire a Designer for more information.

How it Works: Raster vs. Vector Formats

What is a raster or rasterized graphic?

A rasterized graphic is an image made up of pixels (little squares).  All of the squares are a set size and in a set place in the image, so If you make it larger it will be pixelated and not look good.

When would I need a rasterized graphic?

You would use a raster graphic when you need a smaller file size.  You generally would not get a raster graphic only from a designer.  You should get mostly vectorized graphics.

What is a vector or vectorized graphic?

A vectorized graphic is created with paths or vectors, therefore, the image can be as large or as small as you need it and still look good.

When would I need a vector graphic?

You would use vector graphics for your logo, business cards, and anything else that you might want to use again in the future.  A good designer would normally give you a .png (preview file & raster), a PDF for printing, and either an illustrator (AI) or photoshop (PSD) document so that you can make changes in the future (all vectorized, with the exception of photoshop).

A quick note about photoshop:  While shapes, paths & fonts are scalable in photoshop, anything done with the brush tool will not be.

Common raster formats: 

  • TIFF
  • GIF
  • BMP
  • PNG

Common vector formats:

  • PDF
  • AI
  • EPS
  • CDR
  • SVG
  • PPT

Raster Vs. Vector Infographic

Giving Good Feedback

Help your designer help you by giving good feedback

  • Be specific

    – If you don’t like the colors the designer presented, name some colors you’d like to see.
    – If you like a certain font, but don’t know the name of it, send it to your designer who should know or try a font identification website such as What The Font.

  • Don’t use generic adjectives when communicating what you want.

    – Words like creative & phrases like “Make it pop” all have different connotations to different people and will probably lead to more confusion.  Instead, try to focus on what you do or don’t like and communicate that.
    – After I’ve spoken with clients, I use a simple google form to help them communicate their ideas and style


    Design Style Survey – Click to Enlarge

  • Find examples of things you like

    – Do an image search and send your designer a few things you like if you’re having trouble communicating changes or wants.  Note that your designer should never copy another design completely.

  • Look at the design draft and begin making a list of what you’d like changed

    – Make sure you cover everything in one message or email.  This insures the designer will get back to you with your changes in a timely manner.  If the design is two sided, separate the feedback for back and front.- Try using bullet points or a list of changes instead of writing out the changes paragraph style.

How it works: Logo, business cards, web design & branding

A good designer will start by asking you questions about your business & preferences.

  1. Who is your target market (age, demographics, etc)?
  2. What colors would you like to incorporate in your branding scheme?
  3. What sort of fonts do you like?
  4. What sort of marketing are you looking to do (business cards, flyers, website)?
  5. Do you have an idea of what you’d like your logo and branding to look like or do you want a few options?
  6. What styles of logos or other designs do you like?

After you and your designer talk about these things, they will send you an initial design.

Your designer will adjust the design based on your feedback.  (How to Give Good Feedback to a Designer).

After you are happy with the initial design you requested, your designer will base further designs and marketing off of this and hopefully help you come up with a branding package you’ll love.