Hiring a graphic designer? 8 important questions answered

by | Aug 6, 2022 | Graphic Design

1. Design studio or larger agency?

If you’re considering hiring a graphic designer, you may choose to work with a small graphic design studio, a larger agency, or a freelancer. The main difference between a small studio, an agency, and a person working on a freelance basis, is price and service structure.

Boutique graphic design studios and freelancers tend to outsource to key specialists, where as an agency will cater to all services in-house. Agencies tend to chase clients with big marketing budgets to cover the cost of large overheads, among other reasons. They are usually more than double the price of a graphic design studio.

This doesn’t always mean better quality. The best way to find the right partnership is to look for relevant work experience in a portfolio. Referrals are always a good way to get the ball rolling too, so ask around!


2. Billing rates

Pricing varies widely in this industry. While you might find that some freelancers with less experience charge lower rates, they tend to work at a slower pace and require some hand holding. That’s more of your time spent.

Other more experienced graphic designers will charge at a higher hourly rate, but are faster and need less direction. Freelancers usually charge between $80 and $100 per hour, graphic design studio rates are usually between $100 and $250 per hour and agency rates usually start at $250 per hour.

It’s understandable that you may think hiring at the lower end is ok, but it may end up costing you more in the long term.


3. The design brief

Creating a well written design brief for a graphic designer is not always easy. In fact depending on your own professional background you may have some or no experience with this. An experienced graphic designer should be able to interpret a brief provided by a client with a marketing background.

They should also be able to offer a templated brief to extract key information from their client, should the client be inexperienced with this process.

Good listening skills on the graphic designer’s behalf are important too.


4. Author’s corrections

Author’s corrections should be looked at when reviewing a quotation for the first time. If you are unfamiliar with the graphic designer and their processes, look out for the fine print. How many revisions does the total cost of the job include? There may be an hourly allowance for revisions or an allowance for “rounds” of changes. Both of these methods are acceptable.

If there is nothing mentioned at all in the quotation we suggest you clarify this with the graphic designer before proceeding. This could effect the final cost for the project significantly.

Handy hint: When providing content for a project it is important to provide copy which is as close to the finished product as possible. This will save a lot of time and money with the revisions process.


5. What if I don’t like the initial design?

This is a popular question. Particularly when it is the start of a new relationship. We believe that if a good brief has been established before commencement of a project there should be a clear way forward.

In a situation where the client is unhappy with the concept designs presented, there should be a discussion and feedback provided, with a second round of changes commenced.

There may be a time limit placed on these changes, but there should be a flexibility for this by the graphic designer in the event that something goes wrong.


6. Quality over quantity

Sometimes you may hear of graphic designers who produce many versions of a piece of work such as a logo, brochure design, book cover etc. We believe that spending more time developing two to three strong concepts rather than less time on many concepts produces better quality results.


7. Remain open to advice

You may have a strong sense of what you would like to create and you just need a graphic designer to bring it to life. We believe the best results are achieved by collaboration.

A graphic designer has generally been there done that.

We suggest remaining open to new suggestions, even if it means a reconsideration of some of your original ideas.


8. Ownership of artwork

Once an invoice has been payed in full, the client is entitled to all the ‘working files’. Working files are all the files created and collected in order to re-print or edit the artwork. This includes InDesign files, Illustrator files and Photoshop files stored in the one folder. If you need to hand the files to another graphic design professional you must request the working files.

Updating Adobe PDF files is not recommended in the situation where you think you may be able to make the changes yourself. This can cause great confusion when determining what versions are most recent, particularly when there is a break in work on a particular project.

Experienced graphic designers have systems in place for keeping track of this for you.

By Christie Davis

I hope I have offered you some clarity around hiring a graphic designer.

For further information, please