The Way We Work
November 4, 2009 by Guest Blogger

We needed some design help for a couple projects that we knew would be short and simple for someone familiar with Photoshop and had a graphical eye, and turned to oDesk for help. Through our experiences, we wanted to give buyers some advice on how to find a graphic designer to help improve a website, create a logo, or even develop a Twitter background, and pinpoint the one that can deliver the results that you're looking for when it comes to graphic design for the web.

* Communicate your needs.
What exactly do you want? Be as specific as possible: Provide dimensions of the final product, desired file types and sizes, and give some creative direction. Sometimes even sketches or Powerpoint mockups can help. After all, a picture's worth a thousand words!
* Provide examples of websites or graphics that you like.
Even if you don't have a vision of the final product, provide 3-5 examples of websites or logos that have design elements that you like or really don't like. A brief sentence about why you like or don't like something (maybe the fonts are fine but you hate the colors) will help the provider get a better sense of what direction to take the job. It's even better if you can identify 1-2 websites with designs that you want the provider to emulate in style.

* Review the provider's profile carefully.
Look for a work history of completed projects with similar themes or deliverables to your project. If you'll be incorporating text into your graphics, make sure providers are from an English-speaking country or have passed the U.S. English language tests with high marks. Review the combination of the provider's minimum number of hours worked, their total positive feedbacks AND read the reviews. Sometimes you can learn a lot from what is suggested about a provider in their feedback than what is in print.

* Comb the provider's portfolio.
To make sure you're working with a pro, see if the graphics used incorporate good optimization practices, so that the images can load quickly without compromising the sharpness of the image. Usually this will take the form of smaller images to help make the page load quickly. Make sure the images aren't of degraded quality (ex. fuzzy, or grainy imagery), which can happen if a picture is over-optimized. Look at the variety of artwork across the portfolio. Note if the provider uses a variety of standard techniques such as gradients, shading, stock imagery, and incorporation of different fonts.

Those are just a few suggestions on how to find a graphic designer on oDesk to help with your projects. We hope you have as much success with your provider as we had with ours!

liz-headshot-small is a hotel deals review site, evaluating over 5000 sources to find the best hotel deals and discounts. This article was written by Liz Kao, Director of Marketing.

  • Monika

    Please checkout on some excellent outsourcing tips

  • Pingback: Halloween Costumes for Children » Buyer Voice: How To Hire a Graphic Designer

  • Pingback: Unique Couples Halloween Costumes » Blog Archive » Buyer Voice: How To Hire a Graphic Designer

  • Gareth Rowson

    A good designer will always ask their client to send through examples of styles they like, it's as much to save them time as it is for the client. I think most learn this the hard way by spending their allocated budget time producing a design that is soon taken back to the drawing board if the designer is not familiar with the clients tastes.

    Another trick is for the designer to offer to take the risk of producing the job for free. That is, if the client is unsatisfied with the project and wants to drop it, they shouldn't have to pay for anything. I'm a firm believer in this approach, it gives the client a win win confidence, and in my experience is not of great risk to an experienced designer and soon sorts the good from the bad.

    Even the big agencies with all their skills and experience can fail to gel with a clients needs and wants, so the beauty of trailing freelancers with essentially the same experience means as Heather mentions, when you find the right one you stick with them. It works both ways of course, it means I am delighted with the relationship and variety of projects I produce for them, and we choose each other to that end.

    As for speed, clients should be tough on their designers, if you want a logo turned around the next day and they say they can't do it, or they fail to, find someone else, it's of no loss to the designer, if they can't fit you in they don't need you, and it saves wasted time during the trailing phase as you can discover early on their skills and speed by pushing them. I am yet to have a client give me to little time for a project, sometimes the budget is less than I might like, but it just means I have to work harder and faster to make the budget suit me.

    Ardently Active, Devoted and Diligent, that's what you need in a freelance graphic designer.

  • Heather Villa

    All of those are great tips, but sometimes you really can't tell how creative they are until you give a designer a job. The other problem I've run into is lack of communication and slow turn around. These are things that don't come to light until you're actually working with them. After going thought a few with these issue, I finally stumbled upon a wonderful graphic designer to work with on a regular basis.

  • Pingback: Buyer Voice: How to Hire a Graphic Designer | Freelancing and … | PhotoShopped