Finding a great graphic designer, part 2: Goal Setting

by Kelly Hobkirk

Setting a list of 3-4 goals before hiring a graphic designer can help you find the right person or firm for the job. If you are new to setting goals, this may be challenging, but goal setting is so powerful because the goals drive the project strategy.

What do you intend to achieve with this project? The question surprisingly gives some clients pause. The answers range all the way from detailed bullet lists of goals in creative briefs to, ‘I have no idea, but I know we need it.’

Communication is key
If you want a big change in the perception of your business, or a boost in sales, or you have some other big goal, find a designer who speaks your language, both verbally and aesthetically. You can usually tell if you’re on the same page within 15-20 minutes of talking. Branding is a personal process, as is graphic design, so great communication with your graphic designer is critical to getting what you want.

Align your budget and goals
If your budget doesn’t align with your goals, ask about options or adjust your goals to a more modest start with increasing ambition as your efforts start paying off. Some graphic designers can get pretty darn creative with solutions to meet your budget.

If you find yourself theorizing about the least amount of business you can take on to survive (to deal with a low budget), try instead thinking about your ideal client capacity.

How do you set goals for your project?
Depending on your business size, a brand audit is a good place to start. A brand audit will show weaknesses and enlighten areas to improve. If you run a small business, a brand audit shouldn’t take very long. If you’re just getting started, do a reverse brand audit by thinking about all of the places you think people will interact with your brand.

Think about every single point of contact you have or will have with customers and prospects. This may be a little hard to do by yourself because you may take your brand touch points for granted, which is easy to do.

Listen for the red flags
Some designers actually view a logo as a secondary element to a website. If you get that vibe while talking to them, find another. Your logo is one of the primary things you want people to remember on your site. It should never be an afterthought. If it is thrown in as a side order, move on. Your logo is the most important visual element of your brand.

Example graphic design goals:

• Design a new logo that you totally love
• Get an identity design that you can be proud of
• Develop a brand that speaks to you and your audience
• Develop a clear brand that motivates employees
• Design packaging that is strong at every touch point

Ask your prospective graphic designer the following goal-oriented questions:
• What is your specialty?
• Where can I see examples of your logo design, corporate identity design, and websites?
• Can you help me do a brand audit?
• Can you provide both individual and package pricing?

Try to get a feel for how the designer listens to you, and how responsive they are to your questions. If you have worked with a graphic designer in the past, think about some areas where you would like a better relationship with a new designer. Ask about those when you are interviewing designers.

This is your opportunity to find a graphic designer who can deliver exactly what you want. Make the most of it.

Read on:
Finding a great graphic designer, an introduction
Finding a great graphic designer, part 1: Budgeting

Posted by Kelly Hobkirk • March 8, 2010 • Tags: ,,,,