Hire a Logo Designer Checklist: 7 Critical Things You Need to Look For
Hiring a logo designer can be a complicated process. There are lots of options and sifting through each of them to find a good fit for your business can get overwhelming really fast.
Below are 7 categories you’ll want to check off your list, plus questions you should ask for each category, so you can start narrowing down your options to hire a logo designer who’s right for the job.
1. Bona Fides
Has the designer been a professional for 5 or more years?
There’s no formal accreditation for graphic design the way there is for architecture, law, or medicine. This is why it’s important that your logo designer has been working professionally for a handful of years. These experienced designers cost more than hiring junior designers, but the increased professionalism that comes with time will provide you with a significantly better branding experience.
Did the designer attend a well-known design school?
Like any other type of education, there is a wide range of educational quality. Those considered the best in the nation include (in no particular order): Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Art Center College of Design, Ringling College of Art and Design, and The Cooper Union. There are certainly other excellent design schools out there, but these are the “ivy league” design schools and most of their graduates can be trusted to produce high quality work.
Has the designer won any awards for his/her designs?
Not having won any awards doesn’t mean your designer isn’t talented, but having won a few awards is the closest thing to professional bona fides available in the graphic design world.
2. Work Quality
Does the designer’s portfolio stand out from other graphic designers?
There should be something in a designer’s portfolio that really grabs your attention—that’s part of what good design does. If nothing strikes you, keep looking.
Does the designer’s work look trendy?
Great logo design shouldn’t go out of style quickly. If the designs they create look trendy, you can be sure that the work you’ve hired them to produce will look dated sooner than you’d like.
Will you remember the designer’s work in a week?
The best logos and branding are memorable. If you can’t recall a designer’s work a week later, then it just isn’t having enough of an impact.
Does the designer specialize in the type of design you’re looking for?
If you’re looking for a logo designer, don’t hire a web designer. If you need UX/UI design, don’t hire a packaging specialist. The designer you hire should have a portfolio full of the kind of work you need done.
Does the designer offer several different types of design services?
The field of design has lots of categories (Industrial design, UX/UI, Web Design, Identity Design, Packaging Design, Environmental Graphics, etc.). Some designers may be great at creating work for a few of those categories, but be wary of designers who say they “do it all.” Nobody does everything well.
If you were the business owner of one of the logos in the designer’s portfolio, would you feel proud to have it represent your business?
Many logo designers establish a style of work; it’s up to you to decide if that style makes sense for your audience.
Does the designer’s portfolio include clients in your industry, or similar?
Much of the design process involves researching and understanding an industry, audience, and a business?s needs. If your designer has already spent time working with clients in your industry, that early research phase should be much more efficient, making that designer a more appropriate choice for you.
During your initial conversation, did the designer do most of the talking?
To be a good designer is to be a good listener first. Logo designers have to take in a lot of information to be able to design effectively they can’t do that if they’re doing all of the talking.
When you described your business’s needs, did the designer ask you a lot of questions?
Your designer should try to learn everything he can about your business and your audience, which means he should have a lot of questions.
6. Communication Skills
When you contacted the designer, did you get a return email or phone call within 24 hours?
If you didn’t, you might want to keep looking. Designers who aren’t responsive when it comes to new business opportunities aren’t likely to be responsive during your design job.
Is the designer up-front about his/her work process?
Good logo designers have a process. They should be able to describe it to you clearly.
Did the designer describe his/her work process in vague marketing speak?
If a logo designer descends into vague terms or “move-the-needle” jargon, he or she probably doesn’t have a real process.
Has the designer provided you with a detailed estimate for how much your requested work should cost you?
Professional designers are just that: professionals. You should know exactly what you’re paying for and how much it’s expected to cost.
Has the designer provided you with a concrete timeline for when your work will be completed?
Fundamentally, designers are selling you their time, which means they have to be good at keeping track of time spent. Logo designers who are good at keeping track of their time have a record they can use to estimate future projects. Designers who don’t have this record may be guessing at how long your design job will take (and you may be surprised in a not-so-fun way when you get the bill).
7. Social Proof
Did someone you trust refer you to the designer?
Design is still a very traditional business and most designers win jobs through referrals and word of mouth.
Does the designer have testimonials from previous clients?
The single most important thing a designer must have is a great portfolio. A close second is having testimonials from happy clients. If other clients were happy working with a graphic designer, chances are you will be too.