Question: What is one tip for recruiting a great graphic designer who really understands my brand?
Test Their Aesthetics
"There is no better way to decide if a graphic designer fits your brand than to have them test their skills on your product. It is crucial to see an example of what they could eventually do and if it aligns with your aesthetics. Find the problem areas and ask them to show you how they would improve them."
Have Them Build a Single Asset First
"We have done this, and the technique we employed was to ask the designer to freelance build one asset for us and get it really nailed down. This gives you an understanding of the designer's skills and at the same time the designer gets a sense of your brand."
Use Design Contests
"We've found that the best way to find the best designer is to run design contests on sites like 99designs with a large budget. This way you can view the work from a large variety of designers and pick the one that is most responsive, most talented and most in-tune with your brand. Relying on referrals or hiring without seeing how they design your work is flying blind."
Get a Referral
"An understanding of a brand takes time and dedication. You will need to train your designer to understand what you want from them. However, asking your colleagues who are in similar businesses for referrals will help you narrow down the search. Look for a portfolio that resonates with you to ensure compatibility."
Look to Your Customers
"The best employees are former customers. If you can find a customer who loves your product that is also a designer, this can be a win-win for your business. I've found my last two designers from my customer lists. I email all my customers and see if there is someone looking for a job, and to email us if they are. There are a few amazing potential employees that will understand your product."
Hire Them to Freelance
"Give the designer a small project to take ownership over, from start to finish. You will not only get an understanding of their approach to design, but you’ll also gain insight into their work ethic, values and whether they really understand the heart and soul of your brand."
See What Questions They Ask
"The only way to understand a brand is to ask questions. If they aren't asking questions, they are just making assumptions. Who are your customers? What are their demographics? What other brands do they like? Why do they come to you? The more thoughtful their questions, and the more relevant to your niche and unique selling proposition, the better the fit."
Look for Similar Work Experience
"You've got an idea in your head about what you want your brand to look like. Find a designer who's done similar work, or who has designed for your industry or desired target customer. You have to judge a designer off the work they've already done. He or she is more likely to get the personality of your brand and express your ideas without too much coaching."
Conduct a Design Audit
"Before hiring, consider asking the recruit to conduct a design audit of your materials. Design audits can take many forms but should include discussion around the look, feel, form and function of your product. The last section of the audit should include recommendations for how to improve your overall design, which will be an indication of what the candidate will do for your brand."