Whether you need a logo designed for a new business or a logo redesign and new brand identity for an existing company, hiring the right logo designer is key. Hiring a freelancer requires the same process you would use if you were hiring a new internal employee—you want to find the most qualified individual for the job.
In order to achieve this goal, you need to know what to ask a potential designer to help you find the best match for your needs. Remember, not all logo designers, regardless of their experience, will be a good match for your particular project.
To help you identify and hire the best freelance logo designer to work with directly for your next project, here are 11 questions to ask them, all designed to help you find the best available talent.
1. What experience do you have in my industry?
Looking at a logo designer’s portfolio is a great way to gauge their skill level. Look for samples of work in similar industries or examples that feature the style you’re looking for before making a final decision.
“I always like to judge talent based on logo designs in the same, or at the very least, similar industries. The logo look and feel for a financial company is going to be drastically different than one for an organic snack food company, for example,” says Valerie Wang, President of Makai HR.
“I’ve found that the best logo designers I have worked with in the past all had a particular industry and design vibe they excelled at.”
There is a lot of talent available, so don’t be afraid to start your search by identifying freelancers with experience designing logos in your particular industry.
2. Do you have any references I can contact?
“Nothing is more assuring than speaking to a past client and hearing that they were extremely satisfied working with the logo designer you are considering hiring,” says Bethanie Christopher, Owner of Lifesaver Education.
“Seeing their work and being impressed with the final design is one thing, but the end result is a byproduct of good communication and an overall pleasant working relationship, so I like to always ask for references prior to making a final decision.”
You will often find that most freelance designers will gladly provide references—if they are reluctant to do so, in my eyes, that’s a red flag.
3. How much will you charge based on my requirements?
It’s important to fully understand how a freelancer charges for projects—whether it’s a flat fee or by the hour. You also need to get a quote based on your specific requirements. Is it a brand new logo? A redesign? Do you also need brand identity work, such as letter head and business card design?
“You have to be fully transparent with a potential logo designer, as they can only answer this question provided you give them complete details regarding your requirements for the project,” advises Michael Washburn, President of High Purity Northwest Inc.
“If you are vague or not complete during the initial price discussions it can result in extra charges. Not only will a thorough description in the beginning help you lock in a price, but it will also give the designer all of the information they need to deliver the best possible final product.”
4. What information about my company do you need in order to get started?
Not every business is the same, so it’s very important you find out what information about your business and brand will help the designer create a logo with the impact you envision.
“I always ask them what information related to my business will help them fully understand what we do and what message we want our logo to convey,” states John Morgan, Owner of Stillwater Dwellings.
“If the designer says he or she doesn’t need any information run away—that’s a clear and obvious sign they don’t truly care about the project. When you find a freelance logo designer that puts in the effort to learn as much about what it is that your business does, you know you have a potential match.”
5. What is included in your price and are there any additional costs?
Aside from the price itself, you need to ask what is included and if there are any additional costs. “I like to ask for a list of all deliverables after receiving the price quote. If there are extras, like brand identity items, then I make sure that is included,” says Oralie Chapman of Makeup Creations. “Additionally, I like to confirm that the price includes the final artwork files in all file types, as well as 100 percent ownership of the copyright.”
While some jobs may require just a logo, many projects will require more involved branding packages, containing things like business card and letterhead design. You might also require social media branding assets along with your logo, so be sure to fully understand what you are receiving and what additional costs, if any, may arise. Oftentimes you will receive a specified number of revisions, with additional rounds costing extra.
6. What is your estimated timeline for my particular project?
This is a simple question that can prevent so much confusion, yet so many people fail to dive into the specifics when it comes to a concrete timeline estimate. Being vague or assuming based on pure speculation will do nothing more than set you up for disappointment.
“During the initial communication, a freelancer may state that their turnaround time for concepts is two days,” says Kristina Friebe of Big Haul Junk Removal.
“But, they may have been referencing turn-time for a very basic logo with no additional brand collateral, when in fact you need a very detailed logo as well as a complete brand identity package designed. Make sure you provide complete details regarding your needs and then ask for a timeline for your specific project.”
7. What is your process in terms of concepts and revisions?
This is a very important point, as you want to fully understand how a particular freelance designer works in terms of how many initial concepts they provide you with, how many rounds of revisions they allocate for in their initial quote, and how much additional revisions will cost, if needed. The answers to all of these questions should be outlined in a logo design brief, which keeps the project on track.
“The number of initial concepts you should look for depends on your needs,” suggests Michael Tario, Founder of Tario & Associates. “If you have a very clear picture of what you want, then less should suffice, but if you want to fully explore the possibilities it will benefit you greatly to see a larger number of ideas in the early stages of the design process.”
Revision rounds are also something to consider. “Some designers will offer unlimited revision rounds, which is a sign that they are fully confident in their ability to deliver a logo that will far exceed your expectations. On the other hand, some want to eliminate unnecessary wasted time so they limit the revision rounds. In this situation you need to find out how much extra rounds, if needed, will cost,” adds Tario.
8. Will you be working on my project personally?
Does the designer work entirely on his or her own—or do they have assistants and a team working for them? This is something that you need to know, as well as what their response time is for typical day-to-day communication and questions.
“Communication plays such a key role in the successful design of a logo, so if you connect with a particular designer you need to make sure it’s he or she that will actually be doing the work. If not, there may be a disconnect in terms of communication,” explains Xavier Morales of Secure Your Trademark. “Personally, I like to work directly with the individual doing the work as I find that direct communication and connection plays a major role in bringing my vision to life.”
Knowing the average response time is also important, as it will help keep the project on track. “If you know that your designer is quick to respond, then you know it will benefit the project’s timeline if you reply to their questions and provide feedback on concepts and revisions in a timely manner. If you know they reply to messages at the end of the day or in the mornings, then you know you have some time to spare,” adds Morales.
Remember, communication is a two-way street. It’s important that you are proactive as well and try to respond to messages as quickly as possible. When communication is prioritized on both sides it results in a pleasant experience.
9. What design software do you use and what file formats are part of the final deliverables?
There are several options available when it comes to logo design software. It’s a good idea to ask a potential designer what particular software he or she uses and what file types are part of the final deliverables, especially if you have an inhouse designer that will be working with the files.
“There are several amazing options when it comes to graphic design software, with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign being the most well-known,” says Cody Peterson, Owner of City Seamless Patio Covers. “In addition to the software used, you want to find out what file formats will be delivered as part of the final package. If you have an inhouse designer you want to make sure that he or she will be able to work on the files in the future.”
If you know you need specific file types, simply tell the designer in the beginning.
10. What do you look for when deciding whether or not to work with a potential client?
The client-designer relationship is very important, from communication to compatibility, so it never hurts to find out what they look for in a client. I like to ask not only what qualities they like, but also what qualities they tend to avoid.
“This question will give you a very strong indication of whether or not you will be able to easily work together,” says Matthew Willens of Willens Personal Injury Law. “This has nothing to do with what type of designer they are—it is just a simple way to make sure there aren’t any potential conflicts, varying communication styles or possible objections that could become a problem down the road.”
When both the client and designer are on the same page across the board it makes the entire process more enjoyable. “Another reason I ask this question is because I am always thinking long-term when it comes to hiring a logo designer. Yes, I want the best logo for my immediate need, but I also want to create a strong relationship in the event we have future needs,” adds Willens.
11. What about my project or brand excites you?
It’s always a good call to work with people who share your passion for your project.
“I prefer to work with people who feel inspired and lit up by working with me. As someone who runs a remote team across numerous industries, it’s important the people on my team are on board with the vision and mission of the business,” says entrepreneur coach Bri Seeley, who helps people start, grow and scale their businesses for maximum impact and profitability.
She explains: “This is especially true in working with a graphic designer, since their job is to communicate the essence of the brand through visual medium. I need to know the designer understands me and my brand, connects with the heart and soul of what I’ve created and can communicate the feel of it in a powerful way.”
If your designer is excited about your project, chances are it’s going to be a home run.
As you can see, the best qualifying questions don’t have to be difficult or complex. They are simply designed to help you—quickly and efficiently—eliminate designers that are not a good fit and highlight those that are worth exploring establishing a relationship with.
By no means are these the only questions you should focus on, as every situation will have some project-specifics that will need to be addressed, but these are a great foundation to use as you start the hiring process.
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