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What questions should you be asking your graphic designer?

Author

Irene Hardy

Irene Hardy is a graphic designer, brand stylist, citrus enthusiast and the owner of Magnoliahouse Creative. She specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses build graceful and exuberant brands that attract their dream clients. When she's not working, you might catch her with a cold glass of rose on the back porch, cheering for the Texas Longhorns or cooking something delicious from scratch.

Download your copy of The Smart Website Planner.

Download your copy of The Smart Website Planner.

A few weeks ago, I was chatting over email with one of the amazing ladies who participated in our Authentic Brand Challenge when she asked me a fantastic question:

Right now, I’m working with a branding specialist for the first time, but I don’t feel completely comfortable entrusting my brand new company to her. We’ve been emailing back and forth a while, and so I don’t just want to dump her and run. What are some questions I should ask her that might make it easier for me to connect with her and be completely confident before moving forward?

There is so much variety when it comes to different designers, that it’s absolutely essential to know what you’re getting into when you start a new project. Here are the questions we recommend asking:

What are the deliverables I can expect from you?

This may include a mood board, a single logo, multiple logo variations, colors, patterns, stationery items etc. There’s definitely no right or wrong answer here – you’ll need to take a close look at your needs and your budget. The one thing I encourage you to do is to choose a designer that starts with a mood board – I’ve found it’s absolutely essential in our process to making sure you’re both on the same page, and making the most of your rounds of revisions later on. 

What’s your expected turn time between revisions? What’s your estimated time for the entire project?

Again, no right or wrong answers here, but it’s important that you know what you’re getting into. If you have an upcoming events or other important dates, be sure to let your designer know so she can structure your project accordingly – or warn you that it might not be done in time.

How many rounds of revisions are included in my project? What happens if we exceed those and I’m still not happy?

There is no industry standard for revisions, so be sure you and your designer are on the same page. If you’re looking at a fixed-price package with a set number of revisions, find out if your designer will charge an hourly or a flat fee for additional rounds. If it’s an hourly project, ask your designer to keep you updated on how many hours she’s accumulating, and to warn you when you come close to the amount in your estimate. Lots of companies, including us, will allow some grace on revisions (especially small + constructive ones) because we want you to be giddy about your new look.

What final formats will you deliver? Will they be editable?

Most designers will deliver your logo in a variety of formats for different uses. A PNG with a transparent background is great for uploading to your website, and a high-resolution JPEG can be used on print items. Most importantly, however, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting at least one vector form of your logo. This can come in the form of an AI file, EPS or some PDFs. The vector format allows you to resize your logo to any size without losing quality and is the most versatile for any application you might need.

If you’re receiving any print items, you’ll need to make sure they match your printer’s specifications. Let your designer know ahead of time where you’ll be printing, so that they can make sure the color space, required bleeds and output quality are all sufficient.

As for raw or editable files, this varies from designer to designer. We do choose to share editable versions of our final project files upon request, but that’s definitely not the industry norm. Some designers will never release editable files and some will sell them at an additional cost. Depending on your plans, it doesn’t need to be a deal breaker – just be sure your expectations are clear with your designer from the beginning. If you’re receiving editable files, be sure to ask your designer if the text will be live or outlined. We always outline the text in our final files to be sure they print as expected, but if you’re going to want to make text edits, you’ll need live text.

What projects have you done that are similar to mine?

This is the most important question! Take a good look at her portfolio and make sure that her previous work resonates with you. Look at her website and branding, too. You’d never go to a hairstylist with a terrible haircut, and the same holds true for branding and design. 

What other questions can we help you answer? Bring them on in the comments, or with a quick email to hello@magnoliahousecreative.com!

Author

Irene Hardy

Irene Hardy is a graphic designer, brand stylist, citrus enthusiast and the owner of Magnoliahouse Creative. She specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses build graceful and exuberant brands that attract their dream clients. When she's not working, you might catch her with a cold glass of rose on the back porch, cheering for the Texas Longhorns or cooking something delicious from scratch.

Download your copy of The Smart Website Planner.