I'm a web developer guy. I've got about zero artistic capability to create a design but I can take a design and create an amazing website out of it. I would like to find a graphic designer to create a design for my personal website but have no idea where to look for one. I've posted to elance but just get a bunch of generic replies from people who did not read my post at all.

Another problem I have is I don't know how much the work I'm looking to get done should cost me. I know the quality of work the marketing company I work for charges people, but I can't afford 10k-30k for a design. I know things are not free in this world, and I am very willing to pay to have the work done, I just don't want to get ripped off myself. I just need the Photoshop file(s) for the design.

What I'm looking for I've posted below. How much should something like this cost to have designed? Where is a good place to find qualified graphic designers? Would it be appropriate to ask for a quick sketch of a general layout (10 minutes to make type thing) before hiring a designer (I don't want work done for free, but I want to make sure its something I like before paying any money or having them do any real work)?

I’m looking for an artist familiar with the Steampunk genre and who is familiar with designing websites. I am a web developer and am looking to create a unique personal website to showcase my skill set but do not have the artistic capability to do the graphical design work. I am willing to allow you tag or link or something identifying you as the artist/designer on the site in an un-obtrusive way if you wish.

I am not looking for a typical web design with a menu on the top or side. I’m looking for something more unusual but still easy to navigate. The site’s structure will not deep deep, only 2 levels at most. I’m thinking of a menu landing page for each subpage or section. Clicking the item takes you there and clicking a separate element on that back will take you back to the menu and/or previous section. This site will be developed in html5 with javascript on a PHP platform. I would like the site to not use flash at all.

For example http://www.jkrowling.com/ is a site that has a unique navigation style. It is in flash and if not anything that I am interested in design wise, but it gives you an idea of what I mean by unique navigation

The site structure is:

  • Landing Page
    • Biography (About Me)
    • Resume
    • Projects (This need to take into account scrolling or paging through them)
      • Individual project pages
    • Images (Listing any number of galleries)
      • Individual image pages

I would like room for 2 additional pages/section on the main page (6 total) for future use. I’m thinking there should be no scrolling needed on the landing page.

All page content should fit in an width of 950 pixels. Background elements and images can fill out beyond that up to 1900 in width (but does not need to the full 1900) the content will be displayed and as much of the background elements and images will be shown as the users browser will allow but will not use the scrollbars to see.

I am looking to have a lot of user interaction on the site, i.e. when the mouse is over a gear, it will spin, Steam rising animation, bubbles moving, etc. This will all be done in javascript by me but to accomplish this I need the photoshop template to be broken out into layers, each gear on a separate layer, rising animation each frame being a layer, etc.

Some design aspects that I like:

This is an image of an existing site. I like the colors and general design elements that exist but would like elements elements to work with on my site. I do not like the layout of the overall site. http://blackmoondev.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/steampunk_design_dante_900.jpg

I very much like the calendar in the bottom left of the following image. Something similar with layers for each month/day/hour so I could create a working calendar. Maybe something where the background is a separate layer so the image (the galaxy) could be changed out but the glass effect would still be there regardless of the background. http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs28/f/2008/094/c/b/3232design_steampunk_wallpaper_by_3232design.jpg

Below are some old style documents I could see as background elements. I am thinking I would need the images as separate, higher resolution files. I could place them on the webpage but have them popup when a user clicks on them for a detailed view. The images need not be of anything real or particular. http://www.topdesignmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/712.jpg http://fc08.deviantart.com/fs39/f/2008/350/2/3/Steampunk_Odysseus_by_chrislazzer.jpg

  • @Jack - I posted what I got... Probable not decent but still it's all I got at the moment :)
    – Justin808
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 5:50
  • LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    – Jack
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 12:59
  • @ZachSaucier - Really? Edits to a question asked years ago? Sure tag cleanups are great, but the edit to a protected question? Seems a little daft. The edits really didn't add anything or clarify anything, so what was the point?
    – Justin808
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 15:10
  • @Justin808 It's part of a larger process to burn the "job" tag - see the discussion in chat Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


I think you've got your answer: ask here! (Not me. You lost me at "Steampunk"... :-) )

More generally, you want to see examples of work the designer has done that are roughly in the market you're aiming at. Doesn't have to be an exact match -- a good designer should be able to work in almost any style -- but you would want someone who clearly speaks the right visual language.

In your initial conversations, gauge how easily you can communicate and how quickly the designer grasps what you're saying. Design is all about communication (it has no other purpose), so if you aren't comfortable communicating with him/her/them, you are going to have an arduous time getting the design you want.

From an initial brief, and after quizzing you a bit on the details, the designer can give you a ballpark figure for the work and a rough timeline. If those are good, you've found a designer. If not, look elsewhere.

Another possibility is to visit a local design school and ask for grads and near-grads who are looking for jobs. They'll be less expensive than an established design house, for obvious reasons, but (in my experience, anyway) they are often bursting with fresh ideas that they haven't had a chance to do anything with, and they're looking for opportunities to establish a portfolio of professional work. In your case, you might well find someone you completely hit it off with, who becomes a long term partner.

Take a look at the answers to this question. They will give you an idea of what you should look for, and expect.

  • +1 for "looking at examples." Oh, and steampunk is awesome!
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 16:19

Clients won't be able to instantly navigate through Where's Waldo. Are you actually looking for something that busy? I'm assuming you're leaning towards the least busy of those -- you just want steampunk overtones.

Assumption 1: You are interested in going freelance for development work or you are already doing this.

Assumption 2: You want the steampunk style because it is a way of describing your personality -- techie and into the steampunk lifestyle.

As one coder to another, my suggestions go as follows:

  1. Make a list of deviantart or dribbble artists who specialize in your style
  2. Shorten the list to those who have a history of converting their sketches to photoshop (unless you really love them, then ask if they're interested in doing/learning that part at a discount rate)
  3. Make very specific and small requests of each artist
  4. Assemble it
  5. Find a web designer with full website screenshots on dribbble whose websites have a lovely user experience and whose twitter followers seem to respect their opinion/knowledge to tweak your UX/UI, modify the images, and ensure the colors all play well with eachother (the other designers didn't specialize in creating the full composition & web conventions)

I think this is the most satisfying way to go and it has the following benefits:

  1. You get a list of names of people whose style clients may request (since it's a centerpiece of your portfolio) & friends may ask about
  2. You ensure you get full psd documents so you can edit later
  3. You get some experience working with several people on that list & learn best practices in collaborating with designers (you'll be needing that for years to come); if one artist flakes or life interrupts their work, you have fall-backs
  4. You get to play at design in a non-damaging way & code it up
  5. You appreciate the difference (and the value of each) between graphic designers and web designers.

Expected cost?

  • Hourly rate should range from $60-$125/hr, maybe stretch to $150-$175/hr for an excellent web eye at the end
  • Total cost depends on the number of images you request and how detailed you want them to be
  • If you do a border (e.g. a dirigible-as-a-frame) , one key image (e.g. a faint robot looming over the dirigible whose eyes are clickable buttons), and a couple custom buttons, it shouldn't be too bad ($1K images + $250 web UI/UX scan & spoken discussion)
  • If you insist on having as many images as some of your screenshots (shudder.. terrible UX.. please don't), then quadruple that estimate

Personal recommendation - keep the steampunk minimalist (otherwise it can easily look tacky) -- one faded background image or icon and some texture is enough to create a steampunk aura - don't actually ask the artist to design the web page, just elements of it (full page design gets more expensive) that you can re-use on each page or tweak for each page

Good luck!

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.