Top Six Questions to Ask a Freelance Graphic Designer

March 21, 2018

Finding a designer who is the right fit for your company can be a challenge. There are some questions you should ask yourself in order to determine what kind of designer you are looking for, but once you’ve narrowed it down and are beginning to interview potential candidates, here are the top six questions you should always ask to help determine whether they are right for your project.

1. How would you describe your design style?

There are as many design styles out there as there are designers, so it’s crucial that you hire one that is able to understand and bring to life the vision that you have for your brand. For example, if you favor a modern aesthetic with clean lines and bright colors, you probably don’t want to hire a designer who specializes in more flowery, vintage designs. Asking the designer to describe their style to you in a few words can help you most easily determine whether it’s worth proceeding with the rest of your questions.

2. Can you provide a portfolio of your work?

If you like what you’re hearing so far, ask to see some examples of their work. A good designer will have an online portfolio showcasing their best stuff and can provide you a link to check it out. If you want to see more examples of a certain kind of project, don’t be afraid to ask. The designer likely only puts a selection of their work up online and can send you additional samples of, say, business card designs on request. Reviewing their portfolio is the best way to find out if they have what you’re looking for.

3. How would your other clients describe working with you?

You’ve determined you like their style, but that’s just half of the equation. They could have excellent design skills but be awful at communicating or sticking to a timeline. Particularly if you’re hiring for a big project like a website, you should make sure they are someone you would enjoy working closely with for an extended period of time. A great way to find this out is to ask for testimonials from their other clients. If they are unable to provide any, this might be a warning sign that they either have less experience than they claim, or that they may not be the easiest of people to get along with. Ask for references if you feel unsure.

4. What’s is your expected turnaround time?

If you’re satisfied with the testimonials or references you’ve received, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and find out what you’ll be in for if you choose this designer. You may get a range of answers to this one, and the correct one is the one that meets your expectations and delivery goals. Many designers will tell you this is dependent on how quickly you can give them feedback on their designs, so know that you can have a part in speeding the process along by being punctual in your responses.

5. What is your design process for a project like this?

Next you’ll want to know how the designer goes about a job like yours. This is a great way to learn more about their communication style as well as how much experience they likely have with the kind of project you need help with. Make sure that their first step is a deep dive to really understand your company and your goals for the project. It is crucial for the designer to be on the same page as you in this regard, especially for branding and identity development. A thoughtful answer to this question that meshes with your own goals can seal the deal and put your final doubts to rest.

6. How much? What’s included in the price?

Finally, you’ll need to know whether the designer falls within your budget. A good freelance designer can cost anywhere from $50-$150/hour. If you feel you have a good rapport with the candidate and they seem trustworthy and dependable, it’s worth it to be at the top of your budget to avoid any kind of vexing situation down the road. It’s possible that they may need more information from you before being able to give you a final price over the phone, especially for more complex projects like web design, however they should be able to tell you exactly what would be included in the price. This information should also be sent your way in contract form so that there is no confusion or disappointment on either side.

While asking these top six questions can’t guarantee that you find the perfect designer, they will definitely help you weed out most of the candidates you’re considering and leave you with only the best options. From there, trust your gut and choose the one you feel the most confident in and the most excited to begin working with. Every project is different, and you should have your own list of specific questions, but these top six questions should never go unasked!