3 Crucial Steps to take before Choosing a Graphic or Web Designer

Once in high school I made paper dice and wrote”A” through “F” and “true” and “false” on their sides, to take an entire test.  I remember scoring a C+.  Slightly better odds than a rebellious sophomore deserves.  And yet people seem to take a similar approach when making important business decisions, such as choosing and working with a designer.

So, you’re thinking, “I need a web presence, and a web site, but I don’t know where to start”.  So, you make a pair of paper dice.  On one side, perhaps the name a nephew who just got out of art school. On another, your sister’s former roommate’s dog sitter’s brother. Throw away the dice.  If you don’t have a reliable referral, obviously the best place to start is the internet.  Subsequently, doing your due diligence, you check references, etc.  (maybe fodder for another blog) and narrow it down to a few impressive portfolios and price ranges.  Once poised to make a decision, there are 3 cruical steps you should to make before hiring that designer.  Addressing the following steps prior will not only make the process easier, but it will yield the best performance and work out of your designer resulting in a win-win situation.  Here are a few of my tips for a smooth ride:

1. Do your homework. You can’t start a business or even get a business loan without a clear business plan, why approach any facet of the business differently? When building a house, the paint is only as good as the drywall, which is as only good as the framing, which is only as good as the contractor.  Just the same, a designer is only as good as the research, ideas, and content you give him.  Garbage in garbage out.  If uncertain, hire a consultant and trust their direction.  Just because you have an opinion on art, politics, or whats wrong with the kitchen sink doesn’t make you an authority (artist, politician, or plumber).  Right?  .  So prepare, do your homework, and be ready to delagate.

2. Have your vision defined, but open to refining.  You can’t do it all. Tap your resources and delegate!  Trust your instincts, but also trust your hired talent to do their job.  Especially if you made the first and second crucial steps.  Your happiness is not a designer’s ultimate goal, it’s your success.  Coming to the table with disorganized thoughts, abstract ideas, and a lack of content will only cost you more money and delays with the project.  Additionally you could create a tension and discourse with the people involved.  You can control the energy of the project right off the bat by being organized

3. Accept what you need, not what you want, as a measure of good course.  Assuming you’ve followed through, organized and presented everything your (excellent) designer needs, trust the final product and service your designer produces. Designers work a creative process in a business climate, so refrain from scrutinizing their process, or even asking about it.  No one has to reveal their processes anyway.  Note your initial impression, but live with it before discussing revisions.  A designers name is on their work.  Nine times out of ten, they will not hand over junk.  Be VERY wary of accepting opinions of friends, family, and other non-professionals.  Design by committee is a bad idea 90% of the time.  The true measure will be in your numbers… not whether you “love” that shade of red.  Art is NOT subjective, only tastes are.  Your tastes may NOT represent your own demographic!

Essentially, a good designer can play nice with good writers, programmers, marketing firms, and sensible clients.  Good sense and trust will go a long way if you make the right decisions and follow these simple steps when amassing a team of professionals.