I am developing the backend for a website. I always had the trouble of making an attractive design for my websites and have never hired any graphic designer yet. I have no logo nor web template.

What are the steps to hire a graphic designer? What information should I read about before hiring one in order to make most out of our time? Where should I find him? What questions should I ask him? How much do they charge and what qualifications should I look out for? Should I disclose my business ideas to the designer or could that be risky?


4 Answers 4


Finding excellent designers are hard.

Not because they are few, but because the MAIN thing is how you & the designers communicate, get along, like each other, understand each others standpoint and language, how the designer envisions your aims.

  • Find designs you like, and find out who did it.
  • Collect samples of what you like, so you have something to show the designers; hinting at what direction you want to go.
  • Go to a -say- designer Meetup in your area and talk to people (sometimes they let you present, and interested designers contact you. Plus: you meet them face to face).
  • Find out how much you can pay. Not what you want to or would like to. The amount should hurt a little: great design does not come cheap. It simply does not.
  1. Determine your requirements. It sounds like you do not need a Graphic Designer which is a fairly broad term. You need a front-end web designer. You're developing the back end, are you using Wordpress, Rails, Django, Laravel or any other well known system? I would look for a front end designer with familiarity with that system. Particularly if doing Wordpress / Drupal / Joomla which is very different then just HTML5/CSS3.

  2. Will the web designer need to also be well versed in interactive features such as Javascript, JQuery, or D3.JS for things like interactive graphs/charts?

  3. What about the User Experience? How complex of a back end is it and do you have a very, very, very good grasp of how that data needs to be presented or are you looking for a designer that can see the data and come up with the best way to present it to users?

  4. What printed materials are you going to want? You don't mention any which is why I say you might be better off hiring a front-end guy, then contract out a logo first to a specialist in logos (often this is also an illustrator).

  • 1
    +1 This is a very comprehensive skillset checklist for the specific design projects the OP needs. I would only add "Should the designer have a working knowledge of responsive design?". Even when it is omnipresent these days and a buzzword, some designers have no idea of what it means and entails, which reflects in the inflexibility of their designs compromising the deadlines.
    – cockypup
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 14:24

I am not a designer, but I have been in your position. I got lucky enough to get randomly assigned to a roommate who is a graphic designer so I keep him in my back pocket. But I have also been very happy with elance.com. There are other sites that do similar things as well.

One elance you can look around to see what closed projects bid price was, try to find something similar to what you want to do and look at the price, this should give you a good idea of what you should expect to pay.

I would ask the designer to show you previous work that they have done as there isn't any specific qualifications to look for in designers. If you are the sole person working on the project then make sure you pick someone whos work you like. If you have anyone else that is invested in the project go ahead and get them to tell you which ones they like the most.

You also will want to check with them about how much of the work in their portfolio they have actually done. Some of the not so honest ones like to say they worked on some site, but in reality they where either a secondary designer or only did one very small part of it.

It is very typical to require the designer to sign a Non-disclosure agreement before you give them any specifics of your business ideas, but it is a good idea to let them know what you have in mind so they can take everything into account when designing.

  • Thanks! Very helpful! Regarding the non-disclosure ... does elance provide this or do we have to build the contract ourselves? If so, what is the general method? Google a contract template?
    – Newton
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 1:27
  • @Newton Elance doesn't provide this, the "proper" method would be to go to a lawyer to write one up for you, but if you don't want to pay for one then I would do some googling.
    – Kellenjb
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 1:35
  • Linked: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/6/…
    – e100
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 14:56

I half agree with the first person, but not knowing anything about what your business idea is, I cant tell you if its risky. But I can tell you that eventually your going to have to tell him/her, so if you don't feel comfortable telling them then they probably aren't the best choice. I also think that its very hard to design something when my client feels uncomfortable, i guess. So what i would suggest is just interviewing people. Making sure that they feel comfortable.

As to what to ask, Again i don't know how your business is structured, but i would suggest asking what tools they need ( illustrator, Photoshop ), what tools they already have. What kind of work they have done in the past.

I would ask them if they are familiar with uploading content, saving images for the web. Perhaps even color design, and newspaper/web/magazine layout because that sounds like that's going to be your thing.

And go from there.

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