Quality • Time • Price
We want all three, however, only two are reasonable to expect. Things to ask your designer to make sure you are getting the two you want most.
1 – Does your designer have experience with logo/graphics that match your needs?
A fashion industry business paired with a designer experienced in tech industry logos will have different approaches to the goal. This is not to say that the designer can’t deliver what you’re hoping for. Ask if they have some logos that demonstrate a broader style range.
2 – Can they work in your time frame?
If you need your final files delivered in under a month it ought to be one of the first things you discuss with them. This gives you each clear direction for the pace required to ensure you’re happy with the product. It is not unusual for a designer to refer projects elsewhere when they simply don’t have time to give the attention required. We would all love to take every job that comes our way, but commitments to other clients and fear of not fulfilling your design needs influence our decision to take on a quick turn around project.
3 – Per project, per hour, or price range?
Designers can price their services hourly, as a flat rate, and/or in a price range. It is best to determine early on if their pricing is going to fit your budget. Find out if a percentage is due up front. Inquire about out of scope services, and how many revisions are included. All designers want you to be happy with the final product, but “unlimited revisions” can leave a lot of room for interpretation. It’s best to be specific about these from the start.
4 – Will there be a project proposal and contract?
The project proposal should have a clear breakdown of the expectations from the designer and the client, as well as time frames for each stage. Many designers will gladly go over the proposal with you to answer questions or clear up confusion as needed. Always ask that the proposal be adjusted to reflect changes you’ve discussed and agreed upon. The proposal is attached to the payment agreement contract. The proposal is referred to throughout the design process by both designer and client. Getting the details right ensures you get the final product you are hoping for.
5 – Custom art and stock images?
There is a wide array of photography and illustration sites out there where designers can get elements for your designs. Custom art, created by the designer, cost more, but also ensures that it’s unique to you. Royalty free pieces mean your competitor can buy the same thing and use it in their marketing, but this also makes it cheaper with a quicker to turn around. What is important to note is how the designer will be billing you for these things if they use them. Ask if this is an additional fee.
6 – Is there a charge for source files?
A source file is the layered, original, editable file(s). Many designers prefer to keep these source files and not release them. If you know you’re going to have another person edit them for other purposes, for example, an in-house designer, or perhaps you want them in case you ever need to use a different designer, then you should ask about obtaining these. The original file will be in the file format the designer created them in. For example, if they made your logo in Adobe Illustrator, the file extension will be .ai and if you don’t have that specific program you won’t be able to open the file.
7 – Is there a font fee?
Most designers have spent a small fortune on their font library. These are an investment in their business. Discuss this with your designer. Requesting specific fonts outside the designers font library results in a fee added to the proposal.
There will be awkward topics to discuss, so choose a designer you are comfortable speaking with. Good communication, clearly written proposal, and shared objectives will ensure that you are going to successfully create what you need.