As Jane and John were talking, Jane was mesmerized by how knowledgeable John seemed to be. He had a stethoscope and used all these big words, so she asked, “Are you a doctor?” John replied, well sure I am, I have read all the medical diagnoses on Google, and bought a stethoscope.” 😳
Yeah, that’s my same reaction when someone claims to be a graphic designer. It’s so frustrating, specially when you look at their portfolio. It’s so obvious to the train and educated designer, that this “graphic designer” has not been properly trained or educated. Nope, their typography is like no where to be found and color theory? What’s that? But because they have done a few pieces of design from photoshop or illustrator that they don’t legally own, they are now a graphic designer.
It’s insulting to say the lease, for those who have spent many years being properly educated (holding graphic design degrees) and trained over many of years. I bet these so called designers wouldn’t even know how to actually typeset!
Once heard the comment, “designers are a dime a dozen.” This is very true, everyone wants to be a designer. So, when it comes time to get your marketing material, website, logo or other project designed, make sure you do your research. Or you just might get what you pay for, or lack there of.
Here is some help information to use when you are looking for a designer that fits you:
1. Ask to view a portfolio (both online and in person) - a good steady designer, will have both. A digital portfolio can be altered to "look good," but what does the finished pieces look like in person is a true test.
2. Where were they educated? - not all designers are educated in a classroom, they learn through years of experience. Here is where a resume, and the hard portfolio will tell their education. Did they get better over the years, or did they just stay the same.
3. What type of projects are in their portfolio? Look for samples that are the same as your project.
4. How much experience does the designer have? This will let you know if you have a "beginner designer" or an "expert designer" you don't want to "over pay" a designer with little experience.
5. Ask for references. All good designers should have a variety of references. Contact several of them and see what they have to say about the designer.
6. What is your turnaround time? You will want to know when to expect a finish design. If you have a deadline, beside that you and the designer agree to it and you have it in writing.
7. Do you have a contract? Contracts are important, the idea is to protect ALL parties. Be sure to read over the contract and ask questions if you do not understand something. Use caution if the designer an not explain or answer your question about the contract.
8. Who owns the design once finished (and paid for?) Does the designer keep the copyright and just license reproduction rights to you or do you get the copyright? Make sure to get digital copies of the work the designer has done, in case you want to make changes in the future. You should ask for the design in several formats, especially vector.
9. Who handles the printing? There are tons of factors in ensuring that your design prints correctly. Make sure your designer has the right knowledge to correctly hand off the files to a printer.
10. Know all the details for the cost. Some designers will work based on project pricing, and others will work by hourly pricing. You will want to get a detailed quote or estimate that outlines all the details of the project you are working on.
Don't get left with a Google Dr. Designer!