Finding the right graphic designer to enhance your brand

Choosing the right graphic designers is important because they are the ones you rely on to make your brand image visual. Here we discuss how to...

Choosing the right graphic designers is important because they are the ones you rely on to make your brand image visual.

But you also need to keep in mind that graphic designers are only about visual image and that is just one part of your overall brand image. 

Strong brands are all about consistency. Everything about your business needs to be in line with your brand promise - the products you sell, how they are packaged and delivered, how you and your people behave and, yes, how your graphics look to customers. If you are unswerving with your consistency you will convey great reliability which is paramount in having a strong brand.

Thus, you really need to be able to provide a designer with a brand document, known as your Brand Identity, that sets out a clear idea of how you want to be perceived. 

It’s your job to get clarity and agreement within your business about who you are and what you stand for, not the designer’s.

To make sure a prospective designer understands your brief, have them give it back to you in their terms. It’s essential that they ask you a lot of questions reflected in your Brand Identity document; not just practical things about how visuals will be used, but questions about you, your competitors, the market you’re in, the challenges you face and the brands you align with. In turn, ask them about the work they do, the work they enjoy and their own aspirations.

It’s also a good idea to approach several designers for quotes but remember to be consistent with what you want them to do so that you can fairly compare their pricing. Ask for a quote to design your logo plus the application for business cards and letterhead. You might also want to include the cost of designing your website and any packaging. Just ensure that they breakdown each of these components, again for even-handed comparison. The quote should also include timeframes and who will be working on your job. 

Be clear about what you want and what you realistically should expect. You don’t want a designer with preconceived ideas about what they think your brand should be and, most importantly, you don’t want one whose work, however good, doesn’t reflect you. You want someone to challenge you but not argue with you.

By the same token, you can’t expect to tell them how to do their job. If something doesn’t work for you then say so and explain why it doesn’t work -  that’s your right.  But don’t suggest specific changes, because that’s almost certainly not your skillset. You want to channel their creativity, not restrict it

You certainly want someone you can work with but in some cases it’s worth thinking about the designer’s own image, particularly if they and their work are well known. What would clients and friends think of your choice? Are they a bit too edgy for your image or would engaging them send the right message internally and externally about where you are taking the brand? Do their other clients fit with you? Do they have others in the same industry as you, and is that an issue?

Is their work recognisable? Sometimes that can be a good thing, more often it’s not. The risk is that your job becomes more about their work rather than your brand.

You might want a small company where you’re pretty sure you’ll always be working with the boss not the office junior. On the other hand do you need a bit of size for security?

Sometimes you might need more than one designer. Some designers are great with logos but don’t understand packaging. Some are brilliantly creative but a bit slow, while others can do the basics on demand. Some are better than others at working with other creatives on bigger jobs.

Most importantly ask to see a spread of work from a range of clients and assess not just how good it looks but whether it realises creatively what they were asked to achieve. And check that the designers who did the work are still in the design firm.

Categories: Branding