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Tips for Hiring Freelance Designers

Kaila Garrison
Product Marketing Manager


Design is a key element of content marketing. Whether you are creating infographics (like this What Works in B2B vs B2C infographic), animations, white papers or any other piece of content, having a great design helps content reach more people and be more memorable. 



For marketers without a large (or any) design staff at their disposal, the occasional need for freelance design help will arise. Lucky for you, there is no shortage of talented designers available for freelance work in the world. But finding the right one and making the project successful can be tricky.



To help, here are a few tips to help you find a freelance designer and make your content marketing project a success.



1) Ask for recommendations



Send out a tweet or Facebook post asking for designer recommendations. Ask around the office to get names of design professionals who have an excellent track record of quality work, timeliness and value.



2) Have a budget



Have a desired cost in mind before reaching out to a freelancer, as it is one of the first questions you may receive.



3) Anticipate



The more time you have before your project is due, the more flexibility you’ll have to find the right designer and to negotiate a price. Keep in mind that last-minute projects usually will come with a fast-turnaround surcharge from a designer.



4) Know what kind of designer you are looking for



Are you looking for an elegant design or maybe something a little more edgy? Do you want to be hip or more traditional? Many designers can work across a variety of styles, but most will also have a dominant vibe to their work. Look at a designer’s portfolio, and if you see plenty of examples of what you are looking for, you are on the right track.



5) Stretch your budget



Plan ahead and know other ways in which this design may be used. If you create an infographic for the Web, ask for a print-ready version as well if you think you may want to use a physical version as collateral at a conference or a meeting. Usually designers will be happy to provide multiple variations of the finished product, but they may charge you more if you make these requests weeks or months after the project is complete.



6) Have design elements ready



Have your company’s vector logo, design/branding guides, example work or anything else handy. The more work you can do up front, the less project management the designer will be doing on her/his end.



7) Ask if you can have the original file



Most designers are happy to provide the original working file (usually in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign format). Sometimes, however, a designer will only provide an uneditable flat version. Ask up front if she/he will share the original file with you when the project is complete; it is always good to have this file in case you need to make a small edit or change the company logo in the future.



8) Ask for updates during the process



Don’t be afraid to ask for design updates while the designer is working. Even if you think you and the designer are on the same page, sometimes the idea can be lost in translation, and neither you nor the designer will want to spend time completely redoing the graphic if it turns out to be way off base.



9) Determine work parameters



Will you be paying by the hour or by the project or just a flat fee? How many rounds of revisions are built in to a flat fee agreement, and what is the hourly rate of any additional work? When hiring at an hourly rate, keep in mind that a designer who works for $75/hour but works twice as fast as one who works for $45/hour is a better value.


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