How to Hire a Great Graphic Designer (Updated 2021 Guide)

We live in a world where we are bombarded with images and videos. Be it print or digital, they are literally everywhere. It can be quite overwhelming when you stop to think about it. (stop thinking about it, you’re going to overwhelm yourself!) 

Speaking specifically to advertising, most Americans are exposed to 4k -10k ads every single day!

That’s not even taking to account how much organic content and branding we come into contact with each day. 

Creating your branding and advertising, so they break through all the noise, and communicate your message clearly, can be a daunting task.

That is why businesses NEED a GREAT designer at their fingertips.

Yes, that means hiring someone who can do more than use a clone stamp tool, apply textures, or add text to your graphics. And that probably means someone other than yourself!

In this article, you’ll find out exactly how to hire a graphic designer for your business.

What You'll Discover:

  • The different types of graphic design
  • How to prepare the scope of work and your brand guide
  • The right questions to ask in an interview
  • Ideal skill sets designers must have
  • How to prepare your budget
  • & More
  • What are the Main Types of Graphic Design?

    The type of graphic design you are looking for is an important first step to understand since the term “graphic designer” is just an umbrella term for many design styles. 

    For example, a designer that specializes in advertising might not be good for a project focused on packaging design. So, if you’re able to determine which type of design you need, you can narrow your requirements and ultimately make a better hiring decision.  

    Below are a few types of design that are commonly practiced by designers today.

    Brand Identity

    • What is brand identity?
      Every business has its own story to tell. It’s the job of the brand identity designer to convey this story at first glance.


    • What is the goal of brand identity design?
      This design style combines two elements – design and strategy. In the design aspect, you’ll find elements like logo, typography, and color scheme. Under the strategy portion, you’ll find the REASON why the designer chose the look and feel that they did.


    • Why is brand identity important?
      People are going to think something about your business no matter what. It is the brand identity that tells them the RIGHT story. It controls the conversation so to speak. A good branding designer will possess the right mixture of creativity with both advertising and psychology knowledge. 

    UI Design

    • What is UI design?
      UI design, or user interface design focuses on creating designs that combine aesthetic appeal with functionality for desktop, mobile, and web applications.


    • What is the goal of user interface design?
      The designers in this practice will provide the look and feel of the asset so that the UI developers can turn those  into a fully functioning product.


    • Why is UI design important?
      UI design is important because it has to do with the look and feel of your application. Without a good-looking app, your time, effort, and money, could all go to waste. 


    Publication Design

    • What is publication design?
      Publication design has to do with the overall layout of Books, newspapers, newsletters, magazines, and other publications.


    • What is the goal of publication design?
      Those who practice publication design are responsible for putting together images and text in a visually appealing way.
    • Why is publication design important?
      Without good design for your publication you could run the risk of loosing readers. 

    Packaging Design

    • What is packaging design?
      This design type is focused on how a product is represented in the marketplace.


    • What is the goal of packaging design?
      The goal of great packaging is to grab attention and make an impact on potential buyers while maintaining maximum efficiency in terms of logistics.


    • Why is packaging important?
      Packaging design is arguably one of the most important elements in presenting your product. It needs to be both functional, eye catching, and present your branding & messaging clearly. It is ultimately a billboard for your product, and it lives inside your customers home. A billboard in their home – that is powerful if done right. 

    Motion Graphic Design

    • What is motion graphic design?
      As the name suggests, this design type is all about graphics… in motion. These assets include animations and videos that can be used online, on TV, or in films.


    • What is the goal of motion graphic design?
      Depending on your goal, the goal of your motion graphics could change. If your goal is to sell products then your motion graphic ad would reflect that. However, in a general sense, the goal of motion graphics is to tell a story in an engaging way.
    • Why is motion graphic design important?
      As consumer come into contact with more and more content each day, motion graphics can be a way to break through the noise, and prove that you are ahead of the competition. 
    Play Video

    Environmental Design

    • What is environmental design?
      Environmental design is a multidisciplinary skill set that utilizes different practices such as graphic design, interior, landscape, and industrial design. Wall murals, signage, office spaces, and retail store interiors are just some examples where this design type is used.


    • What is the goal of environmental design?
      The goal of this design style is to create an “atmosphere” around your brand or company. It has to do with the overall experience someone has when they come into contact with your business.
    • Why is environmental design important?
      If you’ve ever been somewhere that just “felt” a certain way, then you know the importance of environmental design. 

    Preparing the Scope of the Project and Your Brand Guide

    Have you ever said something along the lines of “I don’t know what I want but I know what I like when I see it?” Well… most of the time that’s just not good enough. 

    When creating the scope of a project, there are two words that you need to remember: be and specific

    DON’T WORRY. This doesn’t mean that you have to be creative. You just need to be able to describe thoroughly what you would like to see in the design.

    A good designer will be able to provide clarity and improve your vision for the project.

    Don’t be afraid to have brainstorming sessions with your designer either. He or She should be able to have open discussions with the intent of landing on a design that you love, that works, and that makes use of their expert knowledge. 

    Aside from the scope, your brand guide is also important to have ready when choosing candidates. 

    Why is a brand guide important you ask? Well, a brand guide will give potential designers an understanding of your company’s brand identity, values, purpose, and more. 

    It is important that they understand your target customer, your messaging, and all the ins and outs of what you represent so that they can create designs that align with your company. 

    Having all of this information readily available will make the design process much more effective and greatly reduce the back and forth between you and the designer.

    A good designer will be flexible and creative enough to convey the message you want to get across while using their expertise in their specific design style. 

    If you don’t have a brand guide yet and you’re looking to create one with the designer you’re looking to hire, be sure to provide the following information:

    Basic Elements of a Brand Identity

    • Mission and vision of your company

    • The target audience of your business

    • Customer profiles or personas 

    • The personality of your brand

    • The Values of your company

    Ultimately, the scope of a project and a brand guide will give you a clear vision of what kind of designer (or designers) you need. 

    Shortlist designers that have works that are relevant to the goals of the project and most importantly, to the audience of your business. 

    When looking for candidates be sure to not only look at their skills, experiences, and portfolio but also their characteristics. We’ll get into this in the next section.

    What are the Character Traits of Great Graphic Designers?

    So you’ve reviewed and shortlisted applications. Now it’s time to learn more about your candidates. After all, aside from the impressive skills and experiences they have, their attitude towards work is still a very important factor. 

    Graphic designer interview questions you can ask:

    1. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a designer? 

    2. Tell me about a project you are most proud of and the process you went through to achieve it.

    3. When you’re working on a project, how do you keep yourself inspired? 

    4. Where do you get your design inspirations from?

    5. How do you handle tight deadlines? 

    6. How quickly are you to communicate with your clients? 

    7. Tell me about your work ethic.

    8. What are your favorite types of designs to create?

    What are the Ideal Skills of a Graphic Designer?

    Just like any job, there are essential skills that a graphic designer must-have whether that designer is a freelancer, works in-house, or works with a design company assigned to your project. 

    Look out for the following technical and non-technical skills when you’re screening applications.

    The technical skills of graphic designers include the following:

    • Well adept in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and/or InDesign

    • Basic knowledge of HTML

    • Knowledge of typography 

    • Knows the design principles

    • Able to ideate original concepts 

    • Knowledgeable in branding 

    • Knowledgeable in printing – digital and offset

    The non-technical skills of graphic designers are:

    • Creativity

    • Pro-activeness

    • Effective communication

    • Able to strategize 

    • Able to provide solutions to challenges

    • Self-starter

    How Much Does a Graphic Designer Cost?

    As we mentioned before, the term “graphic designer” is really a catch all for loads of design specialties. However, in an effort to provide a ballpark estimate on how much graphic designers cost in 2020, we looked at the latest studies from companies like these which found that the average hourly rate for a graphic designer ranges from $65 – $150 / hour

    Your budget will be based on a few factors – the scope of your project, the level of experience of the designer, and the competitive rates in the market at the time. 

    Without a doubt, more experienced designers will charge higher rates. But, always remember that you can’t compromise the quality of your design just to save a few dollars. In the long run, it is usually more expensive to hire an amateur as they say. 

    Really, you have four options when hiring designers:

    1. Hire a freelance designer

    2. Hire an in house designer

    3. Work with a design agency

    4. Work with an unlimited design company

    Wondering which is right for you? Don’t worry, we got ya covered. Here are the pros and cons of both. 

    The Pros and Cons of Hiring Freelance Designers


    • Competitive rates
    • Access to a large talent pool
    • You pick the person for the job


    • Time intensive hiring process
    • Higher likelihood of flakiness or being unresponsive
    • Usually, the work is not guaranteed 
    • Could become pricey

    The Pros and Cons of Hiring an In-house Designer


    • Quick access
    • The high volume of work 
    • Guaranteed rates based on what you negotiate


    • Most expensive option
    • Small talent pool

    The Pros and Cons of Working with Graphic Design Agencies


    • Higher likelihood of them standing behind their product
    • Usually highly communicative & willing to work with you
    • Vetted designers
    • Time savings 


    • Higher costs
    • Small talent pools

    The Pros and Cons of Working with an Unlimited Design Company


    • Very cost-effective
    • The high volume of work
    • Stand behind their product
    • Highly communicative
    • Access to a large talent pool
    • Vetted designers
    • Flat monthly rate 


    • The designers are remote

    Great Graphic Designers at a Flat Rate

    Hiring a great graphic artist takes time, resources, and careful consideration as they are a vital part of your company’s success. 

    After years in the design world, we noticed the problems that business owners and agencies face when looking to get great designs and hire the perfect designer for the job. 

    Solving those problems is what led us to the formation of No Limit Creatives. By offering unlimited design at one low flat monthly rate we cut out nearly every problem that business owners face when looking for design & designers. 

    If you are looking for graphic design or motion graphics we hope that you would give us the chance to earn your business. 


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