Your marketing materials can make or break the first impression on your customers about your company. A design below par can even make that the last impression. This is why it is highly recommendable to involve an experienced professional in the process of designing and creating both the offline and online materials you will use in presenting your business to the world – be they brochures, business cards, banners, adds or business logos, etc.
If you hire a person who knows what they are doing, you are more likely to capture the interest of your potential customers. However, you should be able to gauge whether the person you have contacted for your graphic design needs will really be able to do the job well. Here are the five things that you should not miss doing in order to achieve that.
Request for samples of their previous work
Every professional designer should have a portfolio of the wok he or she has done in the past. You can use this portfolio to assess the quality of work of that particular designer and to see if they have a consistent design style. Do they pay attention to detail? Or does their work look sloppy and unfinished? Even if you like the previous work of the artist, note than not every design would work well with every type of business, so it is up to you to evaluate whether the style of the graphic designer would be suitable for your marketing materials.
Ask about professional affiliations
Your designer should follow the rules and not infringe any copyright or trademarks, as that could lead you into big trouble. By that we mean not only embarrassment and bad reputation, but costly lawsuits as well. Some professional organizations like the American Institute of Graphic Arts, for instance, require from their members to abide by certain ethical rules.
Versatility is the spice of life
The professional designer you engage for your campaign should be able to incorporate the graphic design concept throughout different platforms and media. This includes printed and digital media: prints optimized for different formats, web pages and video, among others. The portfolio of your chosen designer should contain different types of designs. For instance, if you want your design to have the ability to be displayed properly on different web browsers, the designer should have at least some knowledge of web coding protocols.
Don’t be afraid to take a risk, but only a moderate one
Even if you are not too certain about a particular design offered by your designer, it often pays to take the risk and go for it. Professionals often request from their clients to consider designs that are more forward-looking and can live longer and still appear “fresh”. A design that might seem a bit bizarre to you may outlive a lot of other designs that may appear more familiar. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, but do that in moderation and don’t take too wild risks.
Read the contract carefully
First of all, you should always sign a written contract with the artist you choose to do your graphic design. Never rely on spoken promises alone, as without a contract you cannot be guaranteed of anything. Furthermore, read the contract carefully to know about the legal rights to the artwork you are provided with. In the most common scenario, the graphic designers retain the rights of ownership to the design and the clients are granted with limited reproduction rights.
Also, do not forget to save all the elements or files of the design for future use, once the new website, business cards or brochure is done. This allows you to maintain an archive of your branded materials, including trademarked designs, which is an inseparable part of your brand’s identity.
The work of your graphic designer is crucial for your brand development and popularization. Thus, you should be extremely vigilant when choosing the professional to deal with. It is best to work in collaboration with your designer and give your input and feedback throughout the design process in order to achieve the best end results.