Posted 04.16.2011

How to find the right Designer (Part 2)

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post: How to find the right designer / developer, Know what you’re looking for. Today’s lesson: the first thing that you should do is look at their portfolio. A designer knows (or at least they should) that they live and die by their portfolio. If they’re applying for a full time job, the first thing an employer will ask for is their portfolio. There’s no reason why you, looking for a freelancer, should be any different.

When you’re looking at their portfolio, a few things to keep in mind:


There are 31 flavors out there. Different styles that appeal to you personally, appeal to your audience, communicate your brand, and different styles that certain designers are more comforatable with. When you look at their portfolio, is there stuff similar to what you’re trying to do? If not, I’d encourage you to consider other options.

Type of projects

Look to see what types of projects the designer does. Logos? Brochures? Letterhead? Business cards? Banners? Websites? These are all different mediums, presented in different formats, serving different purposes, communicating different things. There are certain understandings and limitations with each item. You might find a designer and you absolutely love their brochures. I issue a word of caution if you haven’t seen any of their logos or web sites. You can still that use that designer to design your brochure, but there’s nothing that says one designer has to do it all.

Ask Questions

Don’t take a designers portfolio at face value. Ask lots and lots of questions.

  • What was your role in this project? (that’s right, sometimes it’s a team effort and the designer’s role may have been limited.)
  • What were some of the guidelines and limitations you given on this project?
  • What are you most pleased about?
  • What was the hardest part of this project?
  • What were you trying to communicate with this project?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What did you learn from this project? (that’s rihgt, every project should teach a good designer something.)

I know. It’s a lot to think about. But you’re intrusting someone with your brand, the visual representation of your company, and (sometimes) people’s first impression of who you are.