On Choosing a Designer

You have a project ready to begin, there’s a legal pad in your bag packed with notes and scribbles, your ideas have been brewing for months—now how do you find a designer and get started?

What Does a Designer Actually Do?

Good designers don’t simply make pretty pictures. At least, not right off the bat. A thoughtful designer first takes the time to get to all facets of the task. He commits to fully understanding you, your project, and your target audience. He meticulously reviews the brief to align his project goals with yours. This includes researching the subject matter and tasks at hand, learning as much as possible about all things related to the project.

Once all that juicy information is digested it’s time to move on to the second step: idea creating. Usually armed with nothing more than a sketchbook and pencil, the designer begins to brainstorm. Good and bad ideas, obvious and clever solutions—everything is written down. If all works according to plan, eventually a fantastic idea emerges.

All this research and brainstorming is done before the designer actually begins to create. The reason behind this pre-work work is that once he does start to design, the accumulated information informs every move to ensure that he makes intelligent decisions and is constantly in line with the project’s intentions.

So How Do I Choose the Right Designer?

Recognizing an effective designer is easier than you think. The first step is to relax and make sure you aren’t in a rush—you’re going to go on a little introspective journey as you attempt to find the right person for the job.

What do I mean by that? As you view a designer’s portfolio take special note to how you react to what you’re seeing and reading. Believe it or not, you’re more than capable of recognizing good and bad design. Every day we’re inundated with design in all forms—logos, packaging, advertisements, products, you name it—and we’ve gotten pretty good at knowing the good from the bad, the intelligent from the superficial.

In the end, you have to trust your gut. If a designer’s work interests you then it’s likely he’ll make work for you that will interest others. If the work looks like it’s professional and premium then the work he’ll create for you will make your project look professional and premium.

Good luck. You can email me if you have any questions.