How to choose the right graphic designer

February 21, 2019 | | Design |

“The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design.”

 -Massimo Vignelli


A decade ago, before I became a graphic designer, I hired one to create my business logo. Like most businesses, I knew I needed a professional graphic designer but had no experience in identifying the right person for the job.

I was referred to one and I made a blunder of only relying on his portfolio. I think that is where businesses make a mistake. It is so easy for an individual to create a portfolio of work that isn’t theirs.

If a graphic designer is passionate about his or her work, the portfolio will have a rationale for choosing a specific design and show a clear overview of the design process.  Most of all, he or she should have testimonies from previous clients.

Well, the designer I hired asked me two questions. A design brief and the budget. After 4 days he sent me 2 samples without a rationale.

The samples looked good but did not represent my brand. I decided to meet the designer again so that I can debrief him. He decided to waste my time by trying to sell his idea to me but I was adamant. I decided to ask questions like, “What went through your mind when you designed this?”, “Do you feel your design represents my brand?”. He kept nodding in agreement without showing or explaining his design process.

Since there was no contract I decided to cancel the whole thing. I was frustrated and worried about finding another designer.

I know for sure most SMEs are going through the same struggle. So how do you avoid it? Well, there are a few things to consider when hiring a professional graphic designer. These are the most important ones in my opinion.

Detailed Portfolio

By looking at their portfolio you can easily identify their strengths and weaknesses. If they have taken the initiative of explaining the design process of each project, that shows professionalism. If your business is in the technology industry and all their logos are focused on food or entertainment, they might not be the best option. You could take a risk by hiring them but make sure they provide a rationale.

Client Testimonials

The fact that they have this shows that their clients were satisfied enough to be on the record. I would recommend contacting some of them in order for you to understand his or her work work ethics.


The chances of being conned or having your time and money wasted are high if you are not keen. Regardless of your budget and timeline, you need to make sure that you are on the graphic designer’s toes throughout the process. Also, have a well-written contract. This will safeguard your business.

For a more detailed guide on hiring graphic designers, you can check this article by Toptal.

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