Your logo and website are often the first interactions customers have with your business, so it’s important to make a good impression. The surefire way to get memorable designs that feel true to your business is to hire a professional designer. But not just any designer will do: You’re looking for someone whose work is a good fit for your vision. Before you sign a contract with a designer or design team, get answers to these important questions.
3 questions to ask a logo designer before hiring them
1. Can you tell me about your logo design process?
Why you should ask: Communication will be a very important ingredient in your working relationship with the designer or design team. Knowing exactly what time frame and type of process you’ll be getting into will help you feel more confident in what to expect.
2. How long have you been in business?
Why you should ask: Typically, the designer’s time in business and number of previous clients can be a strong indicator of skill. More experienced designers may charge more money for their work. But don’t let the price tag scare you into hiring a newbie. Instead, look for a provider whose work appeals to you. Keep in mind, the most important thing is to find a designer who understands your logo goals and can make them a reality.
3. Will I get working files of the logo? What programs do you use?
Why you should ask: A graphic designer with less experience might use PowerPoint or Word. If this is the case, your logo design will difficult to recreate across your business cards, website, social media accounts and other formats. You’d likely have to pay another designer to remake the logo using different software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. To combat this possibility, ask for your final logo design in vector format (a file ending with .ai or .eps) and raster format (file ending with .psd) as well as .jpgs and .pngs for your ease of use.
3 questions to ask a website designer before hiring them
People spend a lot of time online, but they also spend a lot of time jumping from site to site trying to find what they need. When hiring a designer, it’s about what you need in order to communicate with your site visitors so they can find what they need (and keep coming back for more). Don’t hire a website designer until you know they understand your needs by asking these questions:
1. What services do you offer?
Why you should ask: Some designers may offer digital marketing and SEO optimization along with the website design, but you won’t know until you ask. If their package includes things you already have, it may be worth working out a smaller package. If you don’t think you need to worry about marketing or SEO, communicate with your designer on these points. You may discover there are some actions you can take that would help boost your business online.
2. What if I don’t love my website?
Why you should ask: When partnering with a designer, communication is important. Different website design teams have different policies regarding how many initial changes are included in the primary fee, and when new charges will be added for additional tweaks. Know what you are getting into ahead of time.
“Be prepared for opinions on both sides. It’s always good to have a plan and outline to help the client understand why the design is good rather than just showing them and seeing what happens,” says Eric Hagen, a Deluxe designer.
3. Will I own the end product?
Why you should ask: It’s your time and money going into the website, so you want to make sure that when all is said and done, you have control over any desired future alterations.
6 extra (important) questions for logo and website designers
No matter your individual needs, hopefully you feel ready and confident to have conversations with potential designers. But before you close your tabs and hop on the phone with one, consider these questions for both your logo and website:
1. How much will this cost me, and what’s included in that price?
Why you should ask: Make sure you know what you’re paying for before you get too involved.
2. Do you feel you understand my business’s identity?
Why you should ask: A logo and a website represent a business’s identity in different ways, and it’s a designer’s job to understand the business and the needs attached to it.
3. Can I see your portfolio?
Why you should ask: There’s no better way to see a designer’s talent than to review past projects. It is important that the designer’s style fits the creative direction you are looking for. Even if the prices are great and the turnaround time fits your schedule, you need to see artwork that resonates with you. If you don’t see a logo or website you like from their samples, don’t hire them.
4. Can I call if I need something?
Why you should ask: See if the designer’s website has a “contact us” page with an actual telephone number and mailing address. Then test it out: Pick up the phone and call to make sure someone answers. If they don’t answer the phone before the sale, they probably won’t be there for you after you hand over money.
5. Will I be included throughout the process?
Why you should ask: Regardless of your desired level of involvement, it’s valuable to know if you’re expected to be present throughout the process. If you’re included in most of the process, you’ll know what’s going on and be able to see the progress so you can make suggestions before things get too far off track. A good designer will send proofs and get feedback from you.
6. Who will work on my project: a design team or one designer?
Why you should ask: There are plus sides to both of these, but knowing who you’ll be reaching out to with questions is vital. Avoid being part of this common horror story: Many businesses hire freelancers to design for them. After time had passed, the businesses tried to contact the freelance designers for updates, to ask for their files or to make changes, but they couldn’t track them down. The freelancers had simply vanished. Or, in some cases, the freelancers did not have the design files because their computers had crashed.
The point is to make sure you trust the most important parts of your brand — your logo and website — to a firm or designer that has been in the design business for a long time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more they know about you, the more they can understand your business and tailor their designs to it. And the happier you’ll be.