How to choose a designer for your business.

By Alex Di Giovanni

Uh oh. You posted an ad for a logo designer on social media and, 67 comments later, you now need to decide between dozens of freelancers and agencies who are all vying for your business. They all look the same, especially to a small business owner like yourself, but are they?

Let’s start by looking at the red flags that give you clues about who to avoid (we need to reduce that pool of applicants after all). Then we can move on to the good signs, things that let you know you've found a high quality brand specialist.


They talk about logos

This sounds strange but yes, a potential designer talking about making “a logo” for you is a big red flag. That’s because your logo is only one small part of your business’ overall brand, and you’re going to need a fully fleshed-out brand to succeed and flourish in the market.


They let you decide how your brand looks

This one’s going to suck, but you really shouldn’t get too much input on what your brand looks like. Small business owners sometimes start their search for a designer with an idea in mind for what they want for a logo. While it’s good to start thinking about your brand as early as possible, you should put that thought into the feel of your brand, not the look.


They don’t discriminate

Branding expertise requires knowledge in a lot of different fields. You need to know about design, marketing, business, market research, culture, psychology and more. Because of this, a lot of people in these fields also try to provide branding services (without being brand specialists). You don't want these people in charge of creating your business' identity.


They’re not cheap

You can find logo design services for as low as $50 online, but your brand will only be an asset for your business if you invest in it properly. A good brand specialist will charge more for their work because they understand the gravity and scope of the task at hand. When built correctly, a strong brand lets you charge more, sell more, and resist competition.


They ask a lot of questions

Good brand specialists understand that nobody knows more about your business than you. They’ll be ready to ask you relevant questions not just at the start of the project but throughout the entire branding process.


They explain their thinking

Most freelancers and agencies will link you to a website or social media page when they offer their services. The best brand specialists will not only show the visual results of their work, but also explain the process, the insights, and the problems they solved to get there.


Things to ask designers

  • Can you describe what a brand is?
  • What’s your design process?
  • How much market research do you do?
  • Tell me about your last project, what problems did you solve with your work?
  • How do you stay up to date with the latest in branding locally and internationally?
  • How do you incorporate business strategy and principles into your branding process?
  • If the project takes longer than expected, who pays for that?
  • What file formats will I get my final brand assets in? (We made a checklist for this.)