Hiring a new designer can be a little un-nerving. You’ve never worked with them before and you may be a little nervous, unsure of what to expect, or not really clear on what you’re exactly receiving at the end of it all. By asking the right questions, and expressing your concerns from the start, you will not only build a stronger relationship with your designer, but also ensure there's not confusion or disappointment.
Just like hiring an employee, business coach, photographer, decorator etc., you should have some questions ready to make sure you’re a good fit, and that you’re receiving everything you expect to.
Each designer is unique and will offer their own packages, services and deliverables. Just because one designer includes something doesn’t mean every designer will. By asking questions up front, you can ensure that you’re receiving everything you need and avoiding disappointment.
Questions you need to be asking your designer:
What’s included in my package?
This may be included in their services page, media kit or proposal sent to you after inquiring. Ask for the list of every single thing you will be receiving. Is there something that you really need/want but isn’t included? Open that communication with the designer and express that. There’s a good chance they’ll be able to do it for you, although some extra costs may be included. It will likely be much easier for you to get that designer to complete the project for you, instead of having to find a new designer and bring them up to speed. If there’s something you really want but isn’t included, and the design can’t do it for you, ask for recommendations of who to go to. They likely have a list of people they’ve worked with in the past and can help you connect with each other.
Is there a timeline or process you use? When can I expect the project to finish?
This will vary for every designer. Some designers only take on one client at a time and their turnaround time between revisions will be quick. Likely if you’re their only client, the turnaround time for the entire project will also be very quick. Other designers take on a few clients a time, which may slow down turn around time slightly, but often times won’t effect your project. When you book a project, the designer sets due dates and sticks to them as much as possible.
If you need the design before a specific date than knowing the turnaround time is very important. It’s also very important to note that as the client you are responsible for providing feedback as quickly as possible as well. The faster you’re able to make changes or approve items, the quicker your project can be completed. Some designers outline their process and timeline on their website or welcome package. If it’s available, ask to see it.
Do I get revisions? What happens if I'm still not happy?
Has the designer specified the number of revisions they are including in your package? I normally provide up to three revisions for each item, but I also know of some designers that only offer one or two. Normally if you exceed the number included, the designer will charge you their normal hourly rate. However, there’s a lot of research, planning and preparation that goes into large projects (especially logo design). If you’re not happy with the design after three rounds of revisions, it’s usually a sign that something went wrong in the research or mood board phase. Perhaps there were some images that didn’t fully represent what you wanted, or maybe there was some miscommunication between the designer and yourself. If that’s the case, the designer will likely re-visit these phases to ensure you’re both on the same page, and come up with a plan to move forward.
What files do I get when the project it over?
Some designers will provide the exact document in it’s native format to their clients. This ensures that you can re-use the template, and make any changes yourself (granted you have the same program they used). However, some designers don’t include these documents or will include them for an extra cost.
Will you need that native file? Be sure to mention it to your designer to ensure that it’s included in your package. If you are receiving editable files, specific whether the text will be outlined or editable. When sending files to print, the text often times gets outlined to ensure it prints exactly as designed.
Most of these questions should be answered prior to booking, and in most cases they’re already on your designers website. Check their FAQ, process, services or about page. If you still have some lingering questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and clarify anything that’s missing. You will be investing not only your hard earned money, but your time into this project as well. You need to make sure your expectations are in-line with the designers.