The below has been reproduced from the book Graphic Design Speak: Tips, Advice & Jargon Defined for Non-Graphic Designers by Tess McCabe.
I discovered Tess's book last year, immediately read it cover to cover [it's a quick, easy read] and it now sits on my desk as often-used resource. If you're a small business owner and engaging a designer or DIY'ing, it's a super handy little guide full of things to build your graphic design knowledge, helpful explanations of commonly used design-speak, and some great tips on achieving the best possible result.
We're often asked for graphic designer recommendations, and Tess touches on this in the book, this chapter of the book is shared below, with permission [thanks Tess!]. You can find out more and buy your own copy of Graphic Design Speak by Tess McCabe here.
When you’ve decided the type of design service provider you need, it’s time to find someone who fits the bill. But where to look? Some avenues to stroll down are noted below. Take your time with this part of the process: you’ll make up time later when the work the designer produces is to your taste and the personality cocktail is mixed just right.
The personal recommendation Ideally, you’ll want someone whose work you feel a connection to, and if they come personally recommended, all the better. You’re about to engage in a (somewhat) long-term relationship. This is where it pays to be set up on a ‘blind date’ with a designer thanks to a trusted friend or colleague. Temperament, expectations, and outcome can be canvassed with someone you trust or respect before making contact. But remember, everyone has different project goals, design styles and personality traits — someone who clicked and did great work for someone you know, might not be the best person to engage for your project.
The savvy social media marketer It’s a web within the web: these days you can find out anything via a quick hashtag or search on your favourite social media platform. Many design studios and freelance designers use social platforms to extend their website portfolios and offer deeper insight into both the range of design work they engage in, and their personality. Try hashtags that relate to your location and follow designers whose work you like to get a sense of how they operate as a person and a business. Of course, these feeds are usually highly curated and may feature work that ‘inspires’ the designer, rather than work they have actually created. Use a critical eye.
The top hit on Google Google’s a strange beast — you can pay your way to page 1, or you can earn your right to be there. Depending on the specifics of your search, Google may bring up the goods. Like the savvy social marketer, you’ll learn more about their ethos, personality, and style through a little website research (plus additional Googling).
Guilds, associations, and professional groups Professional groups can be a great place to search for a designer because, for a start, you know they must be somewhat professional if they belong to an association. Designers who pay an annual fee to be a part of these collectives usually do so because they are supporters of the group’s ethos or mission (which often aims to extend credibility and professionalism in the marketplace, and offers professional development opportunities to its members). What this means for you, as a client, is often an aggregated list of professional designers who are ready to take your call.
Images courtesy of Tess McCabe