Guest Post by Lisa Guillot :: You have a design problem: You need a logo, a website, or an update to your brand. The solution? Find a fantastic graphic designer to partner with for years to come. Easy, right? The Internet is teaming with graphic designers! Not so. Before you sign on the dotted line, here are 3 questions to ask in your initial phone call with your graphic design team.
Note: I said phone call, not email. You need to talk to the designer to get a feel for her personality. Pretend it’s a first date. Ask these questions and consider if you want a second one:
What is your design process?
Graphic design is a process, not an art form.
I went to a technical art school in San Francisco in the late ’90’s. The goal of my design program was to get a job in commercial art. I am not an artist, I am a designer. Unlike art, design doesn’t happen in a white walled room with a brush and a few cans of paint. Design happens with tangible objectives that relate to a specific client and problem. Design problems are solved using a step-by-step process. Your graphic designer should have a project process in place and be able to tell you what it is.
Can you provide me 2-3 references?
All of my hair stylists have been recommended to me by someone. I don’t get my hair cut at Super Cuts. The thought alone frightens me. I want to look good and feel good about my hair. You should feel good about your graphic designer and she should make you look good. In graphic design, you get what you pay for. Low-cost designers equal more headaches, hand holding and ultimately hiding under a hat. High-cost designers make for better quality, better looks, and people will say, “Where did you get that fantastic logo!?”
Ask your graphic designer for references to get a feel for her personality and client service. You want to be proud of your brand voice and flaunt it around town. Design costs money. Make sure to get good recommendations.
Are you going to be doing my design?
Some design studios send their business development team to get work, and some send the designers. Some send someone who can speak English. My point: Who you are talking to may not be doing the work. Be clear that you want to talk directly to the creatives. You want to be involved in your brand development so make sure that your graphic designer is available for phone calls, general questions, Skyping, and meeting.
At the end of your conversation you should feel comfortable with the designer as a person and a professional. You should want to meet her for a cup of coffee to brainstorm your ideas and let the creativity unfold. Like dating, finding the perfect graphic designer is a leap of faith, but hopefully with a few key ‘first date’ questions to vet the playing field, you will be better equipped to sign on the dotted line.
Step Brightly is a boutique graphic design and web design and studio located in Oak Park, Illinois with clients from coast to coast. Lisa Guillot, the owner and Creative Director, insists on doing fabulous design for fabulous people in a variety of industries ranging from lifestyle brands to professional services. In print and online Step Brightly creates expressive and tangible results. Find Lisa at @stepbrightly.