Find the RIGHT Designer for Your Next Big Thing

There have been umpteen posts about how to find the most brilliantly perfect designer for your next project. I read so many of them when we were trying to catch hold of a designer who just fit in to our requirements. And needless to say it was after a ton of sorting, searching and spending a hell lot of time that we found a match!

So many people and startups go through the same route when they’re trying to catch a great designer for their great product/startup/website/advertisement etc. Here’s are some simple steps which would atleast shorten your quest for the right designer. I say right, because theirs really no best person for the role.

This is how you search: Recommendations from connections, check out the quality of work, find their specialty  figure out the budget fit, contact for the availability.

Lets say we need to get the right designer to build us a website for our super awesome social network for pets (Forget PG’s support though then). So lets begin our search.

1. Get to the right connections

I’ve always found Linkedin to be the best place to start searching for people. Yes, start searching for people and not companies. Here’s a sample query that should narrow down the results for us. This should make for a good starting point. Feel free to play with the awesome sliders on the left till you feel you’re just there.

Also check out the designer’s specialty. This is important as an illustrator can always create our website too, but she’s just not the right person for it!

Linkedin Filter to narrow search in finding the right designer

That’s 5 minutes and we have a list!

1-b. Reverse search

This is a super simple trick. Think about where designers go to list themselves and whats hep among them. Find them there! Some places we found very useful..

find the right designer on freelance switch - Framebench   Find the right designer - Krop - Framebench   Framebench | find the right designer - smashing jobs   Find the right designer for you on hunie - Framebench

Spend no more than 20 minutes and gather the list.

2. Check out the work quality (This might get slightly tedious)

Open up browser tabs for the people in your list now. Now comes the part where we’ll quickly check to further narrow our list of people by their quality of work. Most people usually have their portfolios in their profiles, so click and start checking out their work. Close the tab the second you feel their work doesn’t speak to you.

You can always search for designers with their names on Behance, Dribbble, Coroflot and Carbonmade. 90% of the designers would have their portfolio on one of these sites.

Time spent(avg): 2mins X 40 people = 1 hour 20 mins.

3. Budgeting

How to know how much a designer will charge: go to some freelancing sites (Freelancer, Elance, Odesk, 3Desk) and check out bids. Hike it up a bit as they’ll be working full time and you’ll know the average rates. Better and more exclusive designers will charge more. Designers don’t like to undercut and don’t encourage others to do that too. In the long run I feel it benefits all.

Then how to find out a designers rate? This will be tricky.

  • You could try asking the freelancer directly. But that would take some emails, proposals etc etc and we want to do this quickly!
  • We’ll take an informed guess. We’ll read up some stuff on HackerNews, and try out a calculator to get an idea of how much we’d be shelling.

Time spent: 15 minutes

4. Availability

So we’ve narrowed down to 7-8 designers of our choice now. Things look great and everything’s set. Lets check on the projects they’re working on to figure out their time availability. This is important because you want them to be available for any communication which you would want to do. Check out Framebench for this!

Ask for proposal from the designer through a simple mail outlining your requirements. You could speed up things by suggesting some tools like Bidsketch for easy proposal creation. Define a proper quote and only then go ahead.

5. Sign a contract

We’ve finally found the chosen one for our social network and there’s so much excitement!! Lets just quickly get the contract signed to avoid ambiguity later and get started.

Hoping for a great start. :)