5 Tips to Help You Find an Amazing Designer

Photo by andymangold

Thinking about launching a site or a revamp of your existing one? If you don’t quite have the skill to produce a look for yourself or want something more unique than a generic template, you’re going to need a designer. Below are some tips to help you find the perfect person for the job.

Know the distinct difference between designers and developers

Developers and designers can almost be compared to architects and interior designers. One’s job is to handle the functionality of a site, the other’s is to make sure everything looks nice. Very few web professionals have extensive experience in both fields, so be skeptical when someone claims to be highly skilled in development and design.

Seek out designers with diverse portfolios

This is one of the easiest ways to gauge if the potential designer is up to snuff to design your site. Don’t look for a designer that only puts out designs that all look the same. Even if that design is the look you’re searching for, the possibility that the designer will be able to skillfully deviate from the style is slim. Look for designers that have a plethora of designs in their portfolio for you to sift through. Chances are designers like this will be able to produce exactly what you want with much more skill and flexibility.

Look for a flat fee for an entire project as opposed to pay-per-page

You obviously want to keep things as cheap as you can, and this is a great tip to stay within the lines of your budget. Pay-per-page developers often end up costing much more than a flat rate project fee. A one-time project fee will also remove some of the guesswork in budgeting and remove some stress.

Check out reviews or get personal recommendations whenever possible

Ask around! Keep an eye out for websites that match the look you want and email the people who hired the designer or designers. Ask about pricing, customer service and the timeline of the project. Also check out online reviews of designers. Finally, many of the biggest freelancing development sites have review sections for your potential web professionals, so be sure to check those out if that is an option.

Look for comprehensive and straightforward proposals

As with any contract work, be sure your designer gives you a comprehensive and straightforward proposal before agreeing to work with him or her. As mentioned above, make sure you are paying for the whole project at once rather than paying per page. Also be sure to have a detailed timeline prepared so you have an idea of the designer’s progress throughout the designing process. In addition, don’t pay for anything you can get for free. Some bells and whistles like “premium search engine placement” you can get for free with Google.

Ready to get searching? Check out these great sites and job boards featuring some fantastic web designers:

The Smashing Magazine job board

Freelance Switch

37 Signals

Do you have any helpful advice for people looking for talented designers? Share them in the comments!