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How to Select Graphic Design Studio:
Seven "Must Have" Traits

Discover the Secret to Selecting the Right Studio for Your Project

When looking for a graphic design studio to turn an abstract idea into something tangible, you want to work with someone who listens to you and who understands you and your business. Selecting the right graphic design studio for your project may seem simple, but with so many different styles and levels of talent, education and experience, be sure to do your research. Choose someone who is not only talented but who is also professional and can complete your project without surprises.

Here's how to select a graphic designer who will meet or exceed your expectations.

  1. Graphic design education and professional design skills: Having a formal education in graphic design gives the professional designer an edge over others, because he or she has learned the foundational principles of design and how those principles translate into an attractive, effective printed or web-based design. In addition, the graphic designer you select should have the appropriate skill set and relevant experience with projects like yours (including software skills, InDesign experience, HTML coding, newsletter integration, etc.) to ensure an accurate estimate up front.

  2. A strong portfolio that resonates with the viewer: Most graphic designers offer an online portfolio of their work, so prospective clients can get a sense of their style. When viewing graphic designers' portfolios, consider the work of firms whose style is similar to what you want. Are you looking for a clean, crisp professional design, something light-hearted and whimsical or a design that’s a little on the kitschy side? Do you want a bright, bold design that draws you to it or something a little softer and more understated?

  3. Exceptional business skills: Excellent business skills separate a good graphic design studio from a great one. Of course, you want someone who listens to your ideas and has the ability to translate them into a tangible design, but just as importantly, you need a graphic designer who understands basic business necessities including deadlines, budget restrictions and return on investment.

  4. Timeliness and responsiveness: You have key deadlines to meet. To ensure that your work flow doesn’t get interrupted, you need a graphic design studio that completes projects on time and that is responsive to your needs. Ask for time estimates for the major stages of your project, as well as regular status updates. Find out anticipated response times for quote requests, phone calls and e-mails. In other words, can you depend on your designer to keep your project on track?

  5. Solid references: Anyone can give you the answers you want to hear. To be sure that you choose the right graphic design studio, check their references. Talk to past clients to see if projects were completed on time, within budget and to the client’s satisfaction. Ask if they’d use the graphic designer again and make sure to ask why or why not.

  6. Professionalism: A professional graphic designer will explain his or her process to you (what to expect, steps in the process, etc.), answer any questions you have up front and will provide you with a written agreement that specifies what services have been included in the quote. During this stage, the graphic designer should tell you what rights they are selling to you regarding the design as well as how many revisions are included in the originally quoted price.

  7. Personable demeanor: Whether your project is a one-time deal or a long-term one, you want to work with a graphic designer who is personable — good listener, easy to talk to, gets what you’re saying, etc.

If you consider these seven "must have" traits when selecting a designer for your next print or online project, you will ensure a positive experience for everyone involved and, ideally, you’ll find a graphic designer with whom you want to partner on future projects.

Return to Resources, learn about our graphic design services or contact us to discuss your next print or online project and ensure it goes smoothly.