A graphic designer is a visual problem solver. Graphic design is the art of organizing and manipulating type, color, spacing and imagery to create an aesthetically pleasing solution to the creative problem at hand. The field of graphic design is very broad. Designers play an important role in marketing, communication, public relations as well as developing and maintaining the overall visual appearance of businesses and organizations.
It’s a common misconception that designers just sit around and draw pictures all day. People will often approach me and ask “hey, can you design a quick flyer for me? It should only take you 20 minutes or so…” Yes, I could probably throw something together in 20 minutes but you likely aren’t going to be very impressed with it. Design is a process. When you hire a graphic designer it is the process you are paying for, not just the end result. This process consists of researching, brainstorming, sketching, creating, revising and perfecting. It requires a steady stream of communication between the designer and the client to discover the right solution to the creative problem and execute it to the highest standards possible. Learn more about the creative process →
When a client approaches me with a project, one of the first questions is always “how much do your charge for ‘x’?” My answer: I don’t have a set price. Every project is different; therefore I believe each project should be assessed individually. In the creative field, compensation is generally based on an hourly rate. Some clients prefer the “pay-as-you-go” approach; others like to agree on a fixed estimate before starting the project. The advantage to hiring a freelancer is saving money as a consumer by cutting out the bureaucracy, middlemen and overhead you get when working with a firm/agency. You don’t have to deal with pushy sales reps and you don’t have to deal with an in-between communicator; you get to work with the designer directly and pay far less than you would at an agency.
In order to document the project, a purchasing agreement is established before the creative process begins. All of the terms and expectations are spelled out and agreed upon upfront which protects both, you-the client and me-the designer. Per industry standard, a 50% deposit is due upfront. The remaining balance isn’t required until the project has been completed. Receipts are issued for each payment.
Meeting deadlines is crucial in the creative industry. The turnaround time from beginning to end largely depends on the client. I make an effort to communicate at regular intervals during the creative process and often times will need to wait to hear back from the client before proceeding to the next step. While constructive feedback is always welcomed, there’s the saying “too many cooks spoil the broth.” My advice is to be open to what others have to say as your project progresses; but remember, you are the client and you have the final say. I as the designer will guide you with my best recommendations but effective decision making from both parties is essential to keeping the ball rolling.
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