Monday, November 8, 2010

How to pick out a graphic designer

Hi All,

Hope you all a great weekend. Mine was full of family time as we helped Dad recoup from his procedure and celebrated Mom's birthday!

I wanted to thank everyone for their very sweet comments and emails about my professional site  being up and running!

I've gotten a couple of questions from readers asking me how to find a graphic designer for their blog so I figured it was time for a blog post.

1. Check out all of your favorite sites! They can be online stores, blogs or business sites. Jot down some notes and figure out what you like about them. Do you love the layout, color, fonts used, easy to navigate. Start piecing together all your favorites. It can be a search bar from one and a header from another. If you love everything about one particular site then contact the site and find out who did their design.

Sunday Suppers:

2. Once you have narrowed down a handful of your favorite sites and acquired emails for all of the designers go ahead and email them and describe the scope of your project. Make sure you spell it all out. If it's for a blog do you want to stick with blogger or move to wordpress? If you want a store website with shopping cart capability let them know. If you are working on budget let them know a price range for what yo want to spend. Your dream designer may be out of budget, but they could refer you to something they know with a similar design aesthetic or sometimes they have interns that take on their own clients as well.

Darling Studio:

3. After you contact your favorite designers you should have emails coming in with price quotes. Now before you fork over your cash make sure you ask for referrals. Working on a website is a long process you want to make sure you will get along with your designer. It's good to get someone's point of view that has worked with the same person. Some web designers already have write ups from former clients that they quickly send you. If you don't want to ask the designer then try and email sites that were designed by the designer and ask them for a brief recap on their experience well. If they had a negative experience ask them to explain. Their negatives might not be a negative to you.

Shop Ten 25:

4. Now that you have researched sites, emailed designers, acquired quotes and gotten referrals you are probably ready to make your final choice. Most designers work with contracts. Make sure you read the contract! You need to know what your rights are in case things some how end up badly. You also want to make sure you let your designer know all the little extras you want. Do you want an ad button, special buttons for facebook, twitter, etc. All of things add time and will therefore raise your quote. You also want to finalize your deadline. Make sure you let your designer know when you need the project finished. Make them put this in the contract! In the contract it will also state how many proofs/changes you will have. This is really important. Some designer leave it open ended and you can work until you get it right. Others give you only 3 proofs and that's it. Also discuss with them what a proof is. Are they going to give you a drawn up sketch or show you a mock-up on powerpoint?

Katie Fine Design:

5. Payment. Never pay in full. You will normally have to pay a deposit to start your project. Sometimes it's simply a set fee like $125 to get started. Other times it's 25% or 50% of your total. You will normally have to pay the remainder right before you go live. Also find out if your graphic designer will be programming the site or if they will sending it to a programmer they work with. Perhaps if you have friend that can help you with coding you will only hire the designer for the design and do the programming on your own to save costs.

Once your deposit is paid it is now time to enjoy the process. You have finally found someone that has your design style and understands your vision. Now it's the fun time. The only thing I can stress is that you need to be really clear & detailed with what you want. You may say you want green on site and in your mind you are thinking olive green, but your designer may be thinking emerald green yet you both just keep describing at as green. Then the time comes for you to see a proof and you are disappointed that the green is wrong and your designer doesn't get it, because they did what you said. I also found it helpful to cut & paste things I wanted like font, colors, etc and place them in a photoshop ( powerpoint & word would work too) and use arrows to point things out and clearly explained what I wanted.

Hope these tips help you out if you are going through this process. If you want recommendations I know/have worked with people in a number of price ranges that I love.

*Images are screenshots of sites I referred to for inspiration during my design process.

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Blogger LifestyleBohemia said...

This is such a helpful post - thank you so much for sharing this advice!

November 8, 2010 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

Fabulous tips! I just finished working with a designer on my site, really happy with the final result!

November 8, 2010 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Debbie@Vintage Scout Interiors said...

What a timely post- we're looking to revamp our site! Thanks and any other thoughts are greatly appreciated!

November 8, 2010 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Cristin said...

Great advice!!!


November 8, 2010 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Wallpaper said...

This is great info thanks!!

November 8, 2010 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I don't do web design, but I am a graphic designer and I will say this post is very well thought out and great advice! I hope you all have great experiences finding designers. There are some really talented people out there!

November 8, 2010 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger christine {bijouandboheme} said...

Great advice- thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely keep this post in the files for future use.

November 8, 2010 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger diane@onlinefabricstore said...

Just FYI the link you put in this post to your professional site comes up with "link appears to be broken"

November 8, 2010 at 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Miranda @ Haute Headquarters said...

This is very helpful. (Also, thanks for introducing me to some new blogs/online shops via your screenshots!)

November 8, 2010 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Lissa @ After Adornment said...

Great tips! I am catullay going through this process now. I am still trying to figure out what I like!

November 8, 2010 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Angela Vaughn said...

This is terrific advice! As a graphic designer myself, the biggest issue clients run into is not thinking the whole project through on what they they would like to have or their main purpose of their site. I have had projects done before deadlines and they come back asking for 5 more pages, buttons, advertisements to be incorporated in, a new logo, etc. With all things in design we must think through it all, come up with a plan, and go forward. Great post!

November 8, 2010 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I really love your site, and all of her other work. great post!

November 8, 2010 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger MyLittleHappyPlace said...

This was a great way to put your hard-earned wealth of knowledge to the page. Your new site looks fab, I know in the end, all the heartache was worth it, right?! ;)

alison g.

November 8, 2010 at 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm love this post! THANK YOU for picking Shop Ten 25 as one of your favs. I have been a fan of your blog for a while now and was so excited to see my site!
I hope your design business is doing well, if it's anything like your blog you'll be rocking in now time!

November 9, 2010 at 2:08 AM  
Blogger Jazzie Casas said...

You have to first consider that different banks has different policies and their rates varies a lot from time to time that's why it's better to undergo some Bank reviews to see which bank fits you.

November 9, 2010 at 3:48 AM  
Blogger pve design said...

Terrific, you have done your home-work! Thanks for sharing.
Next week, my web designer will be signing her book -
on small businesses and effective websites. Love to have you join me! I think many people are afraid to get a site up because it has to be perfect. A friend said to me, "Get it up, even if it is ugly!" I think that is wise advice! My graphic designer is 'family" and that was important to me.

November 10, 2010 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger Alaina @ Live Creating Yourself said...

As a designer, I can say you really hit the nail on the head! I always ask my clients to send as much inspiration as possible. Ads, websites, pictures, fonts - anything that can make the whole process easier and quicker.

So glad your site is up! It's beautiful.


November 10, 2010 at 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Bailey@ peppermintbliss said...

How...tactful of you. :)

November 10, 2010 at 11:52 AM  

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