How to interview a freelance graphic designer

Finding the right freelance graphic designer for your project can be easy if you know the right questions to ask and the skills to look for.
Feb 12, 2020 • 5 minute read
Qasim Zulfiqar @BluLitmus
Technical Co-pilot
Cover photo for How to interview a freelance graphic designer

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Learn how to find the perfect graphic designer for your project

You want your brand to have a unique and authentic style. It doesn't matter what industry your company works in. You need a visual aesthetic that translates well to consumers. Whether it's your company’s logo or social content, every aspect of your branding has to reflect the core ideology of your company.

Graphic design is quintessential to good branding. However, hiring a full-time graphic designer can be really costly.

Freelance graphic designers are a great way to work with talented graphic designers without breaking the bank. Thanks to the talent pool available, you can hire talented designers from all across the world. But, hiring freelancers can seem challenging if you've never done it before. It can be tough to figure out how to find the best designers and what questions to ask them to effectively find the pros.

Finding talented graphic designers

You need to put in a bit of research to find the right person for the task. Here's how you can increase the odds of hiring the best graphic designer for your project.

Previous work experience

The best way to judge good designers is by reviewing the work they've already done. Have a look at their portfolio to see their range of skills and talent. You can also see whether or not they've worked on similar projects, or in similar industries.

For graphic designers, portfolios are the biggest showcase of their talent. While working with freelancers, you are afforded the added luxury of being able to see the past work that the designer has done. This is a great way to evaluate the quality of the work done by the designer. It is also an effective measure to see their talent range.

Tools they're familiar with

Every single graphic design task has its own requirements. Based on the level of detail required, multiple tools can often be required for a single task. The tool a designer will use for your project will depend on the type of project you're getting done.

For example, if you're looking for a logo, you'll probably want to find a designer proficient in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. If you need motion graphics, you might look for a graphic designer who's skilled with After Effects. If you need web design, keep an eye out for graphic designers who've worked with programs like Sketch, Figma and Adobe XD.

Reliability

Reliability is, without a doubt, a crucial factor in hiring a graphic designer. Whenever you are working with anyone, regardless of their skill level, you need to be able to count on them to produce quality content on ime.

Budding businesses are often working on extremely tight deadlines. You need to find a graphic designer who can meet those deadlines. Have a look at their profile to see the percentage of projects they've completed on time.

Ease of communication

While working with freelance designers, most communications are going to be from a distance. It's really important to have a great level of communication between you and the designer.

You need to make sure your project brief is understood, and that the graphic designer comprehends all your requirements. You also want to make sure that, should you have a question, they respond promptly. When you start a chat with a graphic designer, try to gauge how well they communicate with you. Even if English isn't their first language, good graphic designers ask questions, thoroughly read your responses and clarify the project requirements.

Budget

The best part of hiring a freelance graphic designer is the cost savings versus hiring an agency or an in-house designer. While conducting the interview, make sure you effectively evaluate the financial expectations of the freelancer and ensure that it coincides with your budget.

Your project is likely to receive a number of bids, and you can sort them by price. But don't prioritize price over quality. Make sure you thoroughly review a graphic designer's previous work to make sure they're the right fit for your project.

Response to feedback

The first design you're handed may not be the final design you choose. You may go through a few rounds of revisions before you land on a finished product. It's important to gauge a designer's ability to constructively deal with the feedback and cater to the required revisions to create the best possible design.

Many freelance graphic designers offer unlimited free revisions until their client is satisfied. Make sure you specify this up front, and also try to gauge how open the designer is to feedback.

These are some of the important qualities to look for in a designer. Now, let's have a look at some of the questions you should ask candidates for your project.

Important questions

You may have conducted a number of job interviews in your career, or you might be entirely new to interviewing candidates. Either way, there are some specific questions it's good to ask a graphic designer to determine if they're the right fit for your project. Here are a few:

  • What are the most important metrics to measure your design’s success?
  • What design tools are you experienced with?
  • How do you stay on top of the latest design trends?
  • Do you cater to revisions?
  • Tell me about a time a client asked for changes to a design, and how you responded.
  • How do you manage your time working between several different projects?
  • What's been your most satisfying client experience?
  • Tell me more about the best design from your portfolio.

Reviews tell a story

We can't stress this enough: reviews are a great reflection of a freelance graphic designer's past work. They offer you an easy way to evaluate the impression that the designer made on past clients.

Now, this doesn't mean you should necessarily shy away from graphic designers who haven't received a lot of reviews. New freelancers join the platform every day, and passing over rookie graphic designers could mean you miss out on a rising talent. If a designer doesn't have a lot of reviews, though, make sure they have an extensive portfolio. And make sure you ask thorough interview questions to get a good feel for their temperament and reliability.

At the end of the day, hiring the designer and conducting the interview at its core is about evaluating the person. Their communication, past experiences and current attitude will be a great reflection of their ability to effectively deliver high-quality work. Make sure that you put in the time to hire the right person.

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