May 19, 2022
If you’re a photographer looking to hire a designer to make a logo or website, the process might seem simple. Find someone with affordable prices and designs that look amazing. Right? Not exactly. Like photography, the market is oversaturated with designers that produce good work. But not all of them will be the right fit.
So how do you find the best designer for you?
Why not hire a cheap designer if their work looks just as good as an expensive designer?
There’s a lot more to graphic design than putting lines and colors in the right place just like there’s more to photography than pointing a camera at something.
Here are 5 things you should look for in a designer to make sure your money is well spent.
We are all naturally price shoppers. And why not? If you can save money then you totally should, right? Well, the reality is…you get what you pay for. Cliche, but true. If a designer is charging a higher than normal price, there is a good reason for that. Yes, there are always exceptions. Sometimes you’ll get assholes that charge a high price for garbage; sometimes you’ll have experts with imposter syndrome charging too little. Both are rare.
Usually, if a designer charges a high price…it’s because they are just REALLY good. They will give you more than flashy designs. They will design a brand that attracts your ideal clients. When you hire them, they will likely get on a call with you and walk you through their process. A cheap designer will likely send you a questionnaire and then create designs that look good but have no function.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have the money to hire a good designer, you’ll have to decide whether or not hiring a cheap designer will be a waste of money in the long run. Maybe you still haven’t worked out the direction of your photography brand. In that case, hiring a cheap designer might be the way to go, that way you can just get your business going. But if you have a vision for your photography brand, a good designer can help you clarify and execute that brand, subsequently saving you money down the road.
This goes without saying, but it’s important: don’t forget to look at their past work. It doesn’t matter how well they convince you on the phone, how exciting their website is…if their past work is crappy, or if it doesn’t fit your brand, then you shouldn’t hire them.
Make sure your designer doesn’t let you fall into the trend trap. The trend trap is when your brand’s look imitates what’s currently popular with other photographers. You might see their websites or their Instagram profiles and think, I need designs like this! You don’t. You need to be yourself, not a copy. A good designer will not let you be a copy.
The sign of a quality designer is someone who will take what’s unique about you and put that into your brand and website. This will help you avoid the trend trap and stand out in an overcrowded market.
Designers often do not work closely with the general public. They work behind the scenes and communication, for a lot of them, is interesting…. Many designers, when hired, will send a questionnaire for you to fill out, and then create designs based on your answers. This is a bad sign. It doesn’t mean a designer who sends questionnaires is a bad designer, but the questionnaire days are slowly disappearing and that’s because communication is key to building brands and websites that work.
Good designers know this and put healthy communication into practice. And healthy communication requires a healthy personality. Good designers dig by asking questions that push back on your limiting beliefs. By the end of their questions, you should have insights that make you think in a slightly different way.
Questionnaires limit the designer’s ability to fully get to know you and your photography business, and they limit your ability to express yourself. The disconnections that might be hindering you from reaching an audience can’t be discovered and resolved through a questionnaire; there has to be ongoing communication. If the designer you’re looking to hire wants to simply send you a questionnaire…that might be a red flag.
You need a designer with a great personality because you need a designer that can communicate. How else are you going to create a brand and website that converts ideal clients? A designer who doesn’t want to communicate is a gamble; you don’t know who you are dealing with, and therefore, what kind of work they are going to provide.
With all this talk about designers who just make pretty stuff vs designers who make things that really work, you might be wondering: how does a designer “make designs that work”?
The answer is brand strategy. For a design to convey a certain message or emotion, the designer must first discover the ideal client through brand strategy. Without brand strategy, their designs might be like premium salmon cooked for someone who hates fish. Same thing with a website. The way to find out the needs and wants of an ideal client is through the guided brainstorming that comes with brand strategy.
This process will not only discover and define your ideal client but will also define the guidelines that your brand can implement in order to speak to them. This includes voice, tone, messaging, the client journey, the client experience, market positioning, and many other valuable insights.
Not every designer will include all of these features in their process, but if they include any of them…you might have found yourself a winner.
The last thing you want to look for is a designer’s process. Most have it listed on their website, others might explain it on a phone call. But for you, being able to see what’s going to happen through the design journey is crucial. Seeing that map helps you decide if the designer has the other 4 qualities mentioned previously.
Their process should be one that guides you and doesn’t just give you whatever you want. That doesn’t mean the designer doesn’t want you to be happy with your brand and website, they do, but they want to use their skills to help you grow. They are going to challenge you and push back on a lot of the things you think you have figured out. You want this. A designer with a process that pushes you to improve is a designer you don’t want to ignore.
With a process that works out issues beforehand, the designs will come quicker and the revisions will be smaller if there are any at all.
Hopefully, this helps you find the best designer for your photography brand and website.
Follow on Instagram for more content: @wild.eyed.creative.co