You’ve finally made up your mind and decided that the best thing for the evolution of your business is hiring a designer or a design team. No matter who you choose, it is a decision that requires some time to think and to consider certain aspects before jumping in.
Let’s talk about some considerations that can have a positive effect on your experience when trying to hire a designer. We've met many kinds of clients over the years, and we've had the opportunity to analyze the most common mistakes that people make when they are trying to find the best designer for their needs. Before moving on, it's important to make one thing clear: hiring a design team or a designer shouldn't be a transaction. We think that you should opt for a collaboration, a partnership with someone interested in growing your business, and developing well-suited strategies to meet and exceed your expectations.
This article aims to help you hire the most competent designer or design team for your business. Touching upon topics like budget, pitfalls, what kind of experience you want, and tips for hiring a specialist, all with the purpose of helping you make the best decision for your business goals.
Things to consider when making your decision
When trying to decide whether to hire a design team or not, people tend to consider the idea of designing their website by themselves. Sure, many talented people do a good job on their own, but the majority of business owners simply don't have the time needed to learn, research, and design a website that will resonate with their target audience. More importantly, building a website by yourself might be cost-free, but it doesn't account for a full branding and marketing strategy. Without a good strategy, chances are that your website won't accurately represent your business and its identity or spark the interest of a great number of prospects. Apart from being able to design aesthetically pleasing websites and assets, good web designers should also have other specialties they're able to integrate into the design.
Having an appealing and authentic brand influences the way potential or already existing customers perceive your business. Visual impact and usability are crucial when it comes to customer experience. This is also true when it comes to your competitors. In a fast-paced world, design matters more than anything. Having a good designer or design team to back you up and reflect the identity and values of your business can be key to your success.
Ultimately, it depends on your needs. If your goal is to build a successful marketing strategy, then going for an experienced designer with BX skills is the right choice. If you only want an online business card where people can find your phone number and email, then you can reach out to a graphic designer. Keep in mind that competition is fierce nowadays, and most businesses succeed by making consistently memorable statements across platforms. We've reached a point where something that's not on the internet is not considered trustworthy and legitimate by a large portion of consumers.
What are your options?
The first thing to consider is choosing between hiring a designer or a design team. This depends on what type of collaboration you are interested in. So, what is the difference between hiring a solo designer and a design team? Let's break things down!
Working with a designer means working with only one person, so it might make you think that it would be easier to manage. In reality, a professional design team has multiple processes in place to keep track of the deadlines and milestones of your project. A design team is not made up only of designers, it also has project managers and creative directors. Their job is to spare you from worrying about the evolution of the project. Overall, even if it might seem like collaborating with a solo designer is easier, you might find yourself, as a client, having to manage tasks that could have been efficiently covered by the members of a design team. On the other hand, an advantage of choosing to work with a designer might be budget related as it will be cheaper. Additionally, hiring a designer comes with more flexibility but keep in mind that a well-organized design team can be just as responsive and adaptable.
Another thing to note is that only one person means only one set of ideas. Working with a team might be a little more time-consuming, but it means that multiple people work at the same time to achieve your desired goal. Hiring a design team equals hiring a group of experts specialized in different fields. Different tasks such as marketing, economics, research, or design strategies won't weigh on the shoulders of only one person, allowing each member of the team to fully concentrate on what needs to be done. This way, you can be sure a team of people met and brainstormed ideas to achieve the best results when it comes to the growth and development of your business.
No matter what your choice is, the best thing to do is making sure that you find the right fit for you and your needs. We made a shortlist of things you need to look for if you are trying to make the best out of your collaboration. It includes checking the portfolios, availability, communication methods, design processes, and research strategies of your possible partners.
Our advice on how to start the search process is to look for web designers that have previous experience working with the specific need you have. Word of mouth can be your friend, ask around or reach out to other business owners that are in your niche. Then, you can contact those designers or design teams and discuss your goals.
Sometimes, when looking for designers with previous experience in your niche, you might stumble across the problem of choosing between people with the same qualifications and experiences. It means that you might find yourself in a situation where all of your possible partners have similar portfolios, and it will be hard for you to know which one is the right fit. We think that design is about freedom of expression, so we kindly encourage you to look for designs that you like, regardless of whether they are in your niche or not and contact the designers that created them. Determining whether they're able to understand your business goals and brand identity is crucial. Having previous experience doesn't always guarantee the best results. Not everybody shares the same values, so what might be right for someone else's organization, might not work for yours at all.
This is pretty simple; look for designers that are available in the same timeframe and time zone as you. Availability means that partners should have the time to offer you consultancy, research your needs, and be interested in understanding the core elements of your business identity. You don't want a long-term partnership in which your design partner is rarely available to answer your questions or advise you.
Do you want an online partnership or face-to-face meetings? Working with a design team that is available online means sparing yourself trips to their office, and it also facilitates asynchronous communication and eases the quality assurance process. Choosing to work with a design team face-to-face offers different options. You'll have to hire someone from your city or its surroundings and consider commuting times. The main benefit to in-person communication is the opportunity to closely know your partners, having instant feedback channels, and keeping work out of your home. Though, in today's world, working online has become a comfortable and efficient way to get things done. There's certainly a benefit to being able to turn on your laptop from anywhere you may be and manage your business.
Design and research strategies
Another thing to do would be to ask about a potential partner's strategies. For a design to be effective and have a positive impact on the development of your business, designers need to do market and design research. Additionally, you have to make sure that the design team cares and knows about any mandatory guidelines. Those include accessibility, cookie compliance, data privacy, and User Experience (UX) best practices. Apart from the fact that these processes play a great role in marketing your business and reaching out to as many consumers as possible, they are also proof of professionalism and expertise in your partners.
Moreover, you should be interested in the research process of a potential partner. A design without research is not much more than a visually pleasing thing to look at. A good design team will encourage you to discover your business identity, your core values, and goals. They will help you identify your target audience, and make sure that the design aligns with their specific needs. Having a partnership with a design team should be an enriching experience that works toward exploring and establishing the identity of your business.
What are your goals?
Your goals are another important part of determining what designer or design team is best for you. To make the most out of the experience of working with a design partner, you should do a little soul-searching on the values, identity, and development stage of your business. One great way to do that is by taking your time and writing down everything that crosses your mind that could be relevant to the process. With this in mind, here’s a list that can help you determine the scope of your partnership. Here are some questions to guide you:
- Do you want a new website, logo, or an upgrade on existing ones?
- What is your niche and what are the attributes of an ideal consumer?
- What are some words that accurately describe the vision of your business?
- What do you believe in as a founder?
- Where do you see your business in the future?
- What are some things that you've seen and would like to incorporate into your design?
- What would you like to achieve with this project? (optimizing your designs to appeal to your ideal consumer, creating a safe space for your consumers, promoting certain ideas, having easier ways for your consumers to contact you, accurately portraying your business identity, etc.)
- What are some must-haves for your design?
What is your budget?
The first thing that you need to determine is whether your budget is flexible or not.
If you don't have a flexible budget and you are looking for a design partner, a good thing to do is to fix a certain amount that you can afford and look for designers that have compatible rates.
If your budget is flexible and you are looking for the best designer you can get, then you can evaluate a wide range of teams and people.
A good way to determine your budget is by doing a little research on prices before negotiating a price with a potential partner.
After determining your budget, you can finally see what you can get. To avoid any pitfalls, it's best to compare your expectations to your budget and communicate your budget to the designer. If your budget doesn't allow you to check everything that's on your list, reevaluate your goals and cross out things that may be unnecessarily increasing the price. We advise you to avoid trading quality over quality.
A thing that you should keep in mind is that a cheaper design may be better for your budget in the short term, but you might find yourself paying more in the long run, whether it is in money or in time. Quality comes with effort and hours of work. It requires a lot of work and expertise to build a good design strategy that helps you in the long run. It is your choice, but keep in mind that hiring a design partner should be more than a transaction, it should result in expansion, improvement, and success.
Pitfalls to avoid
Some responsibilities are in your hands if you want to transform the experience into an enriching one. No matter how good a design team is, you must do your part in the process. It is not much, but it will ensure a healthy and pleasing collaboration. Best results come when people work together in order to achieve the same goal.
Not being involved in the process
Many people see working with a design team as a transaction, a necessity that needs to be covered rather than a long-term partnership.
To reach your goals, you need to be involved in the process. Designers are not masterminds who can read your thoughts and act accordingly. They need to get feedback from you, know your opinions, and your do's and don'ts.
Being a part of the process can be an interesting experience that will help you discover the identity and values of your business. By choosing to be involved, you will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your business, and how your consumers and competitors view your company.
Not being open about your needs and not asking the right questions
As we mentioned earlier, designers can't read your mind. It is in your best interest to clearly state what you want to achieve. A design team can only help you discover and explore your goals, but it can't transform them into reality without your help.
Share your likes and dislikes with your design team. Let them know what colors you like, what styles you find interesting, and what you don't want to be a part of your design. Tell them what you would want to achieve and ask them if it's realistic or not. You can ask questions about the length of the project, about the method of payment, about their research and methods, or even about their values as a group.
Not having a healthy budget
What does a “healthy budget” even mean and how can you know if your budget is healthy or not?
First thing is to do your own price research, then ask your potential partners about their rates. Be open about your budget and ask what you can get. Decide if you'll be paying by project, by the hour, or by milestones.
Another aspect of managing your budget is having realistic expectations. Don't underestimate or overestimate the quality of a design without asking the designer first. They will most likely have more answers than you can find on your own.
Try to be realistic with your expectations. Don't set your expectations too high with a low budget, and don't set your expectations too low with a large budget. It's best to discuss the budget in detail with a potential partner and make things clear from the beginning. Don't throw yourself and your business in any collaboration without having clearly determined conditions and expectations.
To conclude, hiring the best designer or design team for you and your business is a tricky task. It requires a lot of thinking and research. But once you've done that and made sure that you found the best fit for you, things become easy. You will only have to harvest the benefits of choosing to work with a design team that understands your vision and goals.
To summarize, communication is crucial. From our own experience, we can tell you that things can only go great when both parts are open to communication.