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!
DealBase.com 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, DealBase.com Director of Marketing.