What to consider when hiring a Graphic Designer

Consider this…you’re a business searching for a graphic designer to work with on a consistent basis to create the necessary graphics to get your brand out there. I’m sure a couple questions come to mind like “Does anyone know any local graphic designers?” or “Should we search for a designer online?”. It’s definitely a tough decision to make and there are lots of qualified designers out there that would suit your needs, local or not. However, to some it may seem like an impossible business relationship if your designer is not within arms reach, but nine times out of ten it can work out quite well with the help of technology of course. So let’s say you choose a designer that is not within your local area or maybe not even in the same state, there are a few things to consider when making this decision.

1. Trust is always a must
If doing anything online scares you – online banking, online shopping, etc. – you are not alone. Being able to meet someone face to face certainly can develop more trust than just talking on the phone or through email. Whether you are hiring someone local or in another state, there is always the chance your design relationship will not last. But in my opinion, you’ll know right away if this is going to happen. You have to trust your instincts just like anything else and you’ll know if the designer you chose will be the right fit or not.

2. Developing a way to communicate
What if you’re horrible at communicating through email and sometimes just can’t get your message across? What if you don’t know how to express what you want over the phone? What if you don’t know how to provide feedback or suggest changes? While all these may seem like valid reasons for you to hire locally, there is always a way to simplify any communication barrier. It’s all about getting to know each other and find a comfortable way to communicate. As with all things, this does take time but with a little patience things will fall into place and it will become easier to communicate your thoughts and ideas more efficiently.

3. Working together as a team
Teamwork makes it easier for both you, the client, and me, the designer, to effectively create the best possible design that everyone is happy with. Whether it takes one revision or several, its most important for everyone to be on the same page and come together as a team.

Having had 10+ year’s experience creating designs for clients all throughout the US, I can assure you developing a long distance design relationship is actually a lot easier than it sounds. I’m fairly new to the Freelancing community, but definitely not new to the design world. Freelancing just gives me the opportunity to work where I want and choose the hours that I want. More often than not, this just means you’ll be paying less for the same quality of work you’d get if you hire a large design firm. If you can look past the fact that your designer is not down the street or even in the same state, just remember they are only a phone call or email away.

So, how about we work together? Contact me now so we can discuss how I can improve your business image!

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Five Tips to help you choose photos wisely

When used properly, photos are a very effective and powerful content tool that can quickly send your intended message to your viewing audience. However, using the wrong photos can degrade your viewers experience. In this article, I’ll explain 5 tips to help you choose photos wisely and use them wisely.

Tip 1: Choosing the Right Photos

In any type of design – ad, brochures, website, signage – photos are very powerful tools. Experts suggest that users pay closer attention to photos and other images but ignore fluffy text.  However, photos are only useful when the right ones are selected. So how do you choose the right photos anyways??

  1. First consider the fundamentals of the photo – image quality, composition, exposure, etc.
  2. Next comes effectiveness; ask yourself “how well does the photo create appeal for my company” in terms of emotional appeal and brand appeal.
  3. Now you’ll want to consider if the photo is sending the correct message to the viewer.
  4. And finally, would the photo create desire for your product or company.

Tip 2: Don’t Use Generic Photos or Elements

In most instances, generic photos or elements really don’t serve any purpose other than being visual components or a space filler. You need to make sure the photos are unique to your company and not just the same old “stock photo” every other business uses out there. Hire a local photographer to take some shots of your employees in action so your customer can form a connection with your company. Using a photo of the business owner or actual people within the company have positive effects on a visitor’s first impression and creates trustworthiness of the company.  They in turn feel a personal connection with the company and would be more apt to make a purchase. If the client or end user can add a face to the name, this provides a personal connection and possibly a long standing customer.

Tip 3: Using Photos Purposefully

Photos can do many things that simple text does not – quickly tell a story, indicate your brand, show products, etc. Their ability to guide your users towards specific sections of your web pages is also an added bonus.  The usefulness of a single photo can oftentimes speak louder than words. When selling products, photos are a great asset which can allow the consumer to see view the product first hand which could never be achieved as effectively with using plain text.

Tip 4: Optimizing Your Photos’ File Sizes

Your website’s responsiveness and speed are very critical factors – you have less than 3 seconds to grab the visitors attention and keep their interest to stay on your site and browse further.  If your image sizes are too large, your page will load too slowly which may often frustrate the visitor and cause them to leave too soon.  To improve web performance you’ll need to reduce the file size of your photos/images as much as you can to make them download as quickly as possible.  An easy trick is to save images for ‘web use’ which turns high-resolution photos into a web-optimized format. I typically use PhotoShop for this and choose a preset setting because it doesn’t lower the quality of the photo but makes it much smaller.

Tip 5: Underestimating the Size of Your Images

The effects of placing a big photo as the background of your designs can create a huge impact and it’s definitely an easy way to catch the viewers’ attention.  It also allows them to quickly see what your company is all about within a matter seconds. Just keep in mind, this large image should be selected carefully – you certainly don’t want to send the wrong message.  However, large images may not always work in all designing applications, so tread lightly with this one.

Hope this information helps in your future photo selections.  And I’m always available to chat so let me know how I can help with your company’s graphic design needs!

One of the MOST IMPORTANT parts of running a business…

Ever wonder what one of the MOST IMPORTANT parts of running a business is that often gets overlooked or even forgotten? Did you guess it….GRAPHIC DESIGN! Designing your image may seem like a daunting task – it can either come across as professional (good!) or cheesy (you certainly don’t want that!).

That’s where I come in…I’m here to help you sort it all out! Contact me today!