Posted on 13 Comments

How to Choose a Professional Graphic Designer

Please welcome guest blogger, Melinda Martin, whom some of you know as Musings of a Minister’s Wife. Some of you know her as The Helpy Helper. Some of you don’t know her, but we should work on that.


In our fantastic Inspired Bloggers Network Facebook group, I often see posts concerning graphic design.  I am going to give you some pointers for how to choose a professional graphic designer.




As a self-taught graphic designer, I look back at how much I’ve grown in the last three years and stand amazed.  When I started out, all I had was my natural artistic talent, my ability to self-teach, and my desire to learn.  I think I have made every mistake that a self-taught graphic designer can make.  However, there were times during my growing that I thought I was doing it right, only to find out that I had it all wrong. We have all had those face-palm moments.  “It ain’t a mistake if you learn from it,” is the motto of many self-teachers.  And it’s how we learn the best.  Hands on, full on, and all in, which is also how are mistakes are.  (Go big or go home, lol.)

The Right Tool for the Job

Yes, there was a time when I used Microsoft Word to create a printable.  Then I graduated to Adobe Photoshop, thinking that was the right tool.  Finally, I found Adobe InDesign.  Your graphic designer should have an understanding of when to use Word, when to use Photoshop, when to use Illustrator, and when to use InDesign, which is specifically for desktop publishing.  If I were hiring an assistant (or another designer to do work for my own projects), I would not hire someone who does not work in the Adobe suite.  Picmonkey and Canva are not software options for professional graphic designers.  If your work ever needs to go to a publisher, they are going to expect to see it using industry standard design software.  If it’s not up to spec, then they will need to recreate the file, which will end up raising your costs.

I do invest $50 a month into using the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.  This ensures that I have access to all of the industry standard design software and that they are up to date, allowing me to easily transfer my design files to another professional designer if needed.

Portfolio Diversity

I often check up on other designers’ portfolios.  One thing that is a turn off for me is if every project in their portfolio looks the same.  A graphic designer should be an artist first.  An artist is able to tap into the feel of the project.  It’s for this reason that I don’t submit for work to sites that have the artists compete, especially for book cover design projects.  Sites like that usually don’t allow you to really get to know the client’s personality and vision.  When I do cover designs, I at least do a quick reading of the client’s book, browse their site, and have some direct conversation with the client about any preconceived ideas and figure out what they definitely like/don’t like.  I use Behance to showcase my own portfolio and love it.

Stock Photography

A professional graphic designer will have their own stock photography account and will download the images required for your project through their account.  All images used for your project should be legally obtained, have commercial-use rights, and should be used exclusively for your project.

Business is Business

I don’t take every project that comes my way.  I also don’t keep every project that I initially accept.  If the client does not value my opinion and my design experience, then that’s not a client that I want to work with.  It’s okay to part ways.  If you are not feeling a connection with your graphic designer, then be up front about it.  She may know of other designers who may be able to capture your vision or who may work better with your personality type.  It doesn’t have to be personal.

Project Wrap-Up

If the client works with Dropbox (my personal preference—free and easy) or Google Drive, then I will share a folder with that client and move all of her files over for her to have access to.  This includes the original design file (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator), any stock photo that I downloaded for use with their project, as well as various exports of her final image.  Since I work with bloggers, I know how they need to incorporate whole or partial elements of their design into other projects.  Make sure that your designer delivers you a high-resolution image of your final product on a transparent background.  This is essential and is required for any print project.

I also try to put together a cheat sheet (or email) that contains the names of the fonts and color codes that I used.

A Note About Fonts

While free commercial-fonts are great, they are very overused, which is the downfall of using free.  (Also, just because a font says it is free, doesn’t mean it is free for commercial use.) I invest into my business by purchasing commercial-use fonts.  Included in these fonts are characters that are only accessible through Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, or other similar software (not Photoshop).  I can’t share the font file with my client, and if the client purchases the same font, she may not be able to get it to do all the tricks if she doesn’t use the higher end software.

Always Learning

I’m sure there are still a few things that I am doing the hard way, maybe even the wrong way.  But I continue to invest my time and my money into my education and my business.  I can be both teacher and student.

Are you a graphic designer?  Please leave a comment below with a link to your portfolio.  I believe in networking and supporting each other.

Do you have any additional advice on how to choose a professional graphic designer?

13 thoughts on “How to Choose a Professional Graphic Designer

  1. I am just starting my graphics design business and found these tips extremely helpful and a great recommendation for tools to use!

    I agree with providing clients with the color palette, and I also like to include the images I made in separate files. I LOVE the Dropbox client folder idea! For one client. I created an umbrella and hat image and sent them as separated files so that she could use them individually or together.

    I also found that with graphic design, “packages” do not attract as many clients. Some may only need a header image, while others need a header, water mark, social media icons and more. This is why it is so very important to get to know who you are designing for so that you can meet their needs!

    1. I also like the “share screenshot” function in Dropbox. It lets you quickly and easily share progress of the design to get feedback without having to share the actual image. Love your site!

  2. Great article, especially your advice about diversity. One of the points of graphic design is to help you stand out from the crowd, and that’s not going to happen if everything they do looks the same! Taking a good and hard look at a portfolio can certainly help you avoid that. A good graphic designer should, as you say, work with the client and their tastes to really create a mutually acceptable product.

  3. Graphic design has become one of the professions that I admire the most. It is hard to create something original and beautiful. I think highly of those who think outside the box and come up with something people have never seen before. You are right, finding someone who has a diverse profile and is willing to learn is very important to help your business stand out.

  4. Choosing a perfect graphic designer is not an easy task at all. The article has shown me how to choose a graphic designer for designing related work. Thanks for sharing your informative article.

  5. Great tips! I have had so many people design their art files in MS Word, and you’re right – they have to be recreated in one of the Adobe Creative products (which I also subscribe to). While $50/month for the suite is expensive, the tools you get for that are extensive. I, too, use Dropbox. I pay the annual fee to get the seemingly endless amount of storage. Not only do I fileshare, but I also backup websites to my account.

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  6. I just start my graphics design business and found these tips really helpful. Choose a best graphic designer is not easy work. But your informative article help me easy to select best designer.

  7. I like that you mention how it’s important to choose a graphic designer who understands how and when to use the different programs depending on the project. This would probably be a good way to make sure they’re able to provide you with the best product that matches what you’re looking for. Checking their website for examples and information or talking to them in person would probably help you learn more about how the graphic designer works as well as the opportunity to make sure they are able to provide you with the services and product that you want.

  8. Thanks for sharing the useful post about the graphic designer. When we need to choose the good graphic designer, it is not an easy work. It will help me a lot. Thanks again

  9. I like that you mentioned finding a designer that is proficient in Word, Adobe, Photoshop, and others. If you are looking to invest in this help they should offer a variety of options. It can make a difference when building a website for your business.

  10. I totally agree with you in that it is important to hire a graphic designer that knows when to use photoshop or word. It is important to remember that taking the time to do some research can help you find a professional that can provide the graphic designs you need. A friend of mine was talking about how he needed to find a company that can provide quality graphic designs, so I’m glad I found your post.

  11. I read your full content then realize it’s a very reliable and informative.This information very helpful to Choose a Professional Graphic Designer.

  12. Here another one way to choose a graphic designer. Today lot’s of graphic designer companies are stand for providing you best services which is related with graphic design and image editing services.
    Here they give you an opportunity to submit free trial for checking their quality and service efforts.
    So you can easily choose like this graphic design company.

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