Six Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Brand Designer
So you're ready to get started on hiring a brand designer. YASSSSSS! So exciting! But you're investing a lot of money into this person, and want it to be a great experience. Plus, this is your BRAND. The face of your business - how the world sees you! You don't want to mess this up - but how do you know if the person you're hiring is a good fit?
Girl, I got you.
I've compiled a list of six important questions to ask your brand designer - and even made a free printable list of them for you to download! You can print it out and take notes on it when you're chatting with your potential new brand designer.
QUESTION ONE: Do you illustrate brand elements yourself? I want to make sure that I'm getting a custom design.
OK guys. I'm gonna share a little dirty secret with you, and one that really grinds my gears. Have you seen the "cheap logos" around? Like, websites where you can get a logo for $10? Or the Etsy shops that sell logos for $30-40?
Most of these places, if not all of them, don't actually design the brand elements themselves. Those logo elements? They're most likely from a "logo element bundle" that someone got for like, $10. They take an emblem, overlay your business name in a font, and send you on your merry way. The problem with this? The logo elements aren't custom and there's hundreds of people out there with the same exact logo or elements as you. If you're okay with that, you're better off buying one of the logo element bundles yourself and doing your own logo!
A good brand designer is an artist. He or she starts their logos on paper, sketching out different concepts and ideas. They then digitize it, spending hours perfecting every swash or curve. This is a lot of creative work, and someone who does this level of work isn't selling their product for $10.
Each of the logos I create includes custom illustrations, custom elements, even hand-lettering. When you work with me or a designer like me, you know you're getting something special that only YOUR biz will have.
QUESTION TWO: What would I need to provide?
A good designer will get to know you and your business. There's a good chance that they'll have some "homework" for you to do, so they can learn more about what you're looking for. For example, I ask new brand design clients to fill out a design questionnaire, so I have a clear picture about their likes and dislikes before I start the design process.
It's worth taking the time to do the "homework" that your brand designer asks you to do. It helps ensure that the brand design you get is the one you've been dreaming of!
QUESTION THREE: What's your turnaround time?
This is definitely an important question to ask. If you want to launch in four weeks and your brand designer is on an eight-week turnaround - not good!
Your brand designer should be able to give you an accurate timeline of when they'll be able to get the first draft to you. This helps you figure out your launch date for your brand redesign, and it's just good business practice to be transparent in things like timelines.
QUESTION FOUR: How many revisions do I get? What's the turnaround time for each revision round?
Chances are, your brand designer will have a set limit on revision rounds included in their price, with revisions beyond that costing extra.
Why do designers do this? To be honest, it's to protect ourselves and our time. If a client wants thirty revisions on a logo, they probably don't even know what they're looking for in the first place. A designer needs to be able to account for their time, and limiting the revision rounds allows for this.
My design contract calls for two rounds of revisions included in the price. In the first presentation to the client, I present a range of logo options and brand elements. They pick their favorite, and get two rounds of revisions on that in the price. Anything beyond that and my contract calls for my hourly rate. To be honest, I'm usually pretty generous with revision rounds, but having the two rounds set in the contract helps protect my time.
QUESTION FIVE: What files do I get when we're done?
When you're done with the project, your designer should be providing you with a range of file formats. (Another reason to avoid the $10 logo places - I've heard stories about people getting one blurry jpeg and the designer never responding again).
You'll want what's called vector file formats, so your logo can be resized without getting pixellated or blurry - like, if you want to make a big sign or billboard with your logo on it.
You'll also want raster file formats - jpegs and pngs with and without transparency. These are good to use on the web or in social media.
QUESTION SIX: Can I work with you to get my materials printed? Do you recommend vendors for me to use?
Most designers will work with you on helping you out with the printing of your materials. I'd caution against getting the files from them and just finding a printer on your own. Places like Vistaprint can offer iffy quality, and you don't want crap business cards with your beautiful new brand design.
I made the decision to pass along trade pricing for printed materials to my clients. Why? Because I want my clients to have the absolute best business cards and printed materials that they can budget for.
If a client has a $300 budget to print their business cards, I'd rather they get really nice letterpress ones for that money, instead of spending $150 on less-nice digitally printed ones so I can mark them up to get the other $150.
I decided to make my money on the design side instead of marking up the printing costs. I recommend the best print substrate and methods to my clients, based on their brand and budget. For example, if you need well-priced biz cards but don't need them super fancy, I'll recommend Moo and help you set up the files, etc. If you want duplexed letterpress cards with edge-painting, I'll check with my list of vendors, get price quotes, and guide you through the process to make sure it's easy. That's what you're paying me for: expertise and killer customer service.
If you want the free printable checklist of these questions, get it here.