Tag: portfolio

10 tips to trusting a designer?

Hiring a designer to develop a website, logo or something else that requires creativity can be a daunting task. This isn’t childsplay, this is your business and you are giving the designer you hire a lot of responsibility & trust in adding value to your company you have spent a long time developing. Trusting a designer can be hard, like any time you first meet someone, you tend not trust them straight away, trust takes time to build.

In this post I give 10 tips to help you build strong relationships with your designer and in turn, build mutual trust.


Good design takes time


Mona Lisa was not painted in a week and Rome certainly was not built in a day and the creative process hasn’t really changed in those several hundred years passed. A designer needs time to create something truly special, for instance, a simple image for a blog can take anything from 15 minutes to an hour depending upon several factors : –

Creative block or creative flow – ideas don’t always flow, it isn’t like other work where you have the facts and it is just about putting the problems together to create a solution, thinking creatively can flow easily but it can also be hard.

A good image will need to be developed from either several sources or a drawing done by the designer you are hiring, both require time. Time to find the perfect images or time to draw the perfect image in illustrator.

Drawing,Photshop, illustrator, indesign, printing. Whatever the process for creating the design it will take time and you must understand that most good designers do not use stock imagery or will at least manipulate the stock images.

Look at their portfolio

[image] http://www.artshosting.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/portfolio-bg.jpg[/image]

Now looking at a designer’s online portfolio is all well and good but can you trust that their work is 100% their own or is it sourced from several locations pretending to be their own work? I have seen design tweeters reporting their work has been stolen by others pretending it is their own! Very naughty.

Back up what you say

Ideally you will want some testimonials but even these can come into question whether they are genuine or not. Give someone five dollars and they can record a video testimonial on fiver.com. This is wrong to do as it is giving a false image of your company and you are manipulating your potential customers.

Meet Face to Face

Now this may proof difficult if you are in the USA and your designer is in the Europe but technology has moved on and Skype can allow for face to face conversations to anyone , anywhere in the world!

Use your intuition and see whether you blend well with the designer you are thinking of hiring. A good relationship, as well as working relationship is important as the designer will want to do a good a job as possible for you if you have mutual beliefs and design principles.

What can they do for you?

Can they offer you several items of design rather than just one? Logos, business cards, website & corporate documentation? That could save you some money upfront and also increase the designer’s focus on your business rather than sharing it amongst other design projects they have on at that time.

Are their services cheap? Ask yourself why


You get what you pay for is true!

When a designer does something for free or very little compensation their heart just isn’t in it. What is the benefit to them other than some extra work in their portfolio? A design contract has to benefit you both so if you are expecting a bespoke website, with unique images, incredible layouts and interactivity then expect to pay for it otherwise you will find you relationship will not be as strong as you would like.

Agree requirements upfront

With any creative project it is never 100% complete and more and more features can be added, particularly with web designs. Agree up front what you need the designer to do for you and in what kind of time frame you expect them to turn it around, it may be that your requirements are not possible for that particular design agency or it may be that they can do it more quickly, either way, make sure you both understand what is needed.

Sign a contract

Contracts scare people! You feel like you are selling your soul to the devil but the truth is that it is a golden shield to protect you against getting less than what was agreed in your initial meeting. Your designer will have to abide by the law that was laid down in the contract so ensure you have a contract drawn up, it is in the best interests of both of you

Give space but keep tabs

For a designer to be able to focus they need some space.

They understand you are anxious for the design work to progress quickly but the best designers will want to make sure they are doing the best job possible to a high standard and that takes time.

Although it takes time just keep a small eye on what they are doing, you don’t want them to put your work to the back of their to do list when their client list builds, make sure they are doing the work required but keep things friendly and amicable otherwise you’ll have a frustrated and probably angry designer. Believe me, you won’t like them when they’re angry!

Are they compassionate?

[image] http://www.jawilsondesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/compassion.jpg[/image]

This may seem like quite an odd thing to ask but with compassion also comes empathy and with empathy comes an understanding of how important what they are doing for you is and not just creating a wage for themselves. You can discover whether the person you are dealing with has compassion by looking at their Linkedin profile, discovering their likes and interests or maybe they publicly talk about charities and causes they support on their website/blog.


Whenever you meet someone for the firs time you can usually judge whether the person is trustworthy & if they have a good work ethic and whether you can develop a good working relationship with them. Their personality should come across when you spend a coffee hour with them discussing your needs & wants. A few questions you might want to ask yourself when having a informal conversation with the person you a considering hiring are : –

Is the designer approachable? Open to ideas? Can they listen to constructive criticism? Open in conversation & friendly?


Now you have a basic defence to ensuring that you do not get sub standard design work or get shafted from a designer that you choose to work with. If you have any other ideas of how to develop good working relationships with designers please feel free to comment below, your views are welcome.

Fiver , a blessing or a curse for professional designers?

Before I started my profession as a graphic / web designer I had come across a website called fiverr.com . On this site people give you things for $5.00…not even £5.00! I knew of this site but never told my boss about it, why would I want to tell him? It was like a chicken that lays golden eggs, if i told him would it put my job in danger? After a while I decided to tell him when he asked me how to increase his twitter following quickly..he didn’t care about who followed him so the niche market didn’t really matter…all that mattered was…he won a bet with his friend! In the end telling him about this website made my boss very happy so I guess that’s a designers job at the end of a day, to make others lives more enjoyable.In this blog post I plan to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of fiver from a designers point of view.

sunshine, sunrays

The good

Okay lets start from the good, sunshine and rainbows..I am a relatively young designer in terms of career, after studying for over 10 years in varying industries I eventually managed to find a position that allowed me to show my abilities that I have gained over so many years study. I managed to do some free work for family & friends, creating websites, logos & advertisements to increase my portfolio.

Improve portfolio

Unpaid work is good to some degree but to get $5.00 rather than nothing for your effort will make it a bit more worth your time than a free project for a friend plus working with friends and family is never a good idea as you might end up destroying your relationship with them if things don’t go according to plan.

Keep the creativity flowing

Fiver gives you a platform to allow you to get your designer tastes buds flowing, increase your portfolio to give you more cv power when applying for jobs and making sure that your imagination doesn’t dry up if your jobs are becoming less creative and more technical.

Oil your freelance wheels

As a freelancer, if work is pretty quiet , its a good way to bring in a few extra pennys into your account because although it says $5.00 you can sell things for more than that value. I have often seen extra items priced over $20.00 which is a little more reasonable seeing how long it takes to create a good logo design.

Other Services you may need

There are all kinds of professionals on this site, from seo specialists, website analysts, performers, musicians, photographers & more! They may have skills you need but you can’t afford the mainstream professionals. Good for those starting up a small business on a budget.

 The Bad

The thunderclouds have gathered, the rain has started and fiver starts to show its ugly side..

Not everyone is a professional

The first problem with hiring someone on fiver is that although a lot of people will be professional on the website some will just be trying their luck to try and earn a few extra pounds. There is a little risk that you are not going to be happy with the finished but  am a strong believer that you do “get what you pay for”..

Minimal Risk

For a designer, someone selling their services for $5.00 that you may charge $500.00 for is really undermining the industry you work for. It is devaluing important creative skills that not everyone has and with the client only risking 5 dollars they arent too worried about loosing the price of a burger on a logo.

The Ugly

Whether we western designers like to admit it or not, Asian Cultures can charge a lot less than us and more often than not, do just as good a job. The value of 5 dollars in developing countries is a lot higher than in the west so we do have to compete with other nations but the advantage we have over these competing talented folk is that we are local, so if problems do occurt, it is easier to contact us and rectify any issues…but, I guess this argument is really just clutching at straws..we creatives best emigrate to these hotter climates :-).

Is Fiver giving designers a high five?

When we think of fiver, we think cheap cheap services and products! Bargain basement and with bargains usually comes lack of quality..will you find a pair of Armani sunglasses in a high street pound shop? I think not.

Higher level clients with money will still look for agencies and talented freelancers. What fiver does is give the starting designer a platform to showcase their skills and work the way up the ladder into an agency or create a greater awareness of their freelance portfolio.

It is also good for start up businesses that really can’t afford really flash services so all in all , i think fiverr.com is a great website especially in this economic climate.