Hiring a freelance graphic designer can be a daunting experience. There are a lot of freelance designers out there, but how do you know that a designer will be a good fit for your project? Here’s some questions to ask a freelance graphic designer before you hire them:

Does their design style suit your project? 
Graphic designers are not one-size-fits-all. Some designers are know for their distinctive styles, while other designers can do a variety of styles. Are they better suited to feminine, masculine or neutral styles? Minimalist or maximalist? Colourful or neutral? Some designers are really good at adapting existing branding, while others are better at working from scratch. Do you have a very specific idea in mind that you are looking a designer to bring it to life? Or are you happy to hand the creative reigns over to your designer? Do you want a designer that will give lots of different design options to choose from or would you prefer someone that just gets the job done?

Does their skillset align with your particular project?
Graphic designers are usually not experienced with every type of graphic design as there are so many different subsets of design. For example, there’s logos and branding, books and book covers, magazines, reports, catalogues, web design and development, icon design, image editing, social media design, textile design, illustration, and packaging just to name just a few! Some designers are all-rounders that can do a variety of different types of design, while others focus on particular specialities. Likewise, some graphic designers can take a project from concept to completion, while other designers only do one part of the design process.

How long have they been a designer for? And how long have they been freelancing?
Are they still studying? A new graduate? Or have they been working as a designer for years? This will give you an idea of how skilled they are. Although there is work for designers at all levels, knowing how much experience a designer has will help you gauge how qualified they are to handle your particular project. Do you need someone that can work autonomously or are there other people on the team that can oversee their work?  As a general guide, a designer with less than 1-2 years of experience is a junior level designer, they are usually the cheapest option and they can create fantastic work but they will likely work slower and usually need to work under the guidance of a more experienced designer. A mid-weight designer can have anywhere from 3-10 years of experience, and generally offers a good balance between skills and experience for a variety of projects, but they may require guidance. A designer with 10+ years of experience generally works at a senior level so is able to drive projects and work autonomously. This is a very general guide only as a talented designer with 5 years of experience may already be at the senior level, likewise, a designer with 20 years of experience that has worked exclusively at agencies may not have all the necessary skills to freelance at the senior level.

What parts of the design process will they do? What parts will you to do?
Will you be supplying copy that has been thoroughly proof-read and checked for errors? Designers don’t usually write or check copy. What about images? Will you supply those or will the designer source licensed stock photos? Do you know how to supply a brief? Can they help you if you’re unsure? Will your designer take care of the printing or will you be doing that? Do you have a professional printer that you trust? Can give you the designer print-specs? Do you have a printing budget? You don’t want to give your designer free rein to design something amazing only to discover you don’t have the budget to print it!

Will they be doing all the work themselves?
Typically freelancers work by themselves, but they may also have other designers that work with them (for example a senior designer may employ a junior designer to do some of the easier parts of the project), or they may outsource some (or even all) of the work to other freelancers. This can be a great way to utilise the skills and experience of a team of designers without having to do the project management yourself, but you have a right to know who is working on your project.

What’s their availability like?
Does their availability align with your project timeline? If a project brief is delayed can they reschedule you or will they have moved on to other projects? Are they available during business hours or do they have a day job and only freelance on the side? Do they have strict office hours or can they work overtime to meet deadlines if necessary?

Are they planning on freelancing long term?
Is freelancing their primary job or are they freelancing temporarily while they look for full time work? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it might mean you get to work with a great designer that isn’t usually available for freelancing, but it also means that they might not be around for long, so if you’re looking for someone you can work with long term, they might not be the best fit.

Are they operating as a registered business?
If in Australia, do they have an ABN? Are they registered for GST? Can they legally invoice you as a business? Please check your legal obligations.

What happens if they get sick or have an emergency?
Do they have a contingency plan if they get half way through a project and suddenly have to stop working on it? If they have to take a day off will they do extra work in the evenings to make up for the lost time? What if they get sick or have a family emergency? Do they have other freelancers that can take over for them or will it be up to you to find a replacement?

Flik Graphic Design