Welcome to the second part of three on our quest to find ourselves a designer.
This post will primarily address how to navigate the powerhouse search engine that is Google. Additionally, I will get to some smaller search sites specifically aimed at connecting clients with designers.
In Part 1, we discussed that before you even get to a computer, try to identify what you need done. Now we will continue with some tips and tricks to narrow down the result we get from Google when searching for graphic designers. To do this efficiently and well, it will take time. But hang in there because it will be worth the effort.
Breathe in. And breathe out. Put some music on.
As you probably know already, Google is the largest search engine in the world. Great for us! And not so great!
Great because there will be many designers (with websites) to choose from. However, not so great because of the sheer volume of result and you don’t have time to look at every one of them.
So what do we do?
Well, since Google is a search engine it uses the words you give it to find you something useful. That is where we will start; with a list of words.
We are looking for a “graphic designer” so let’s add that to the list, easy. That term will get you results, yes. But the number of results is astronomical. Let’s slim down those results a little.
If we add the word “local” or “nearby” to our search Google will show you all of your local graphic designers while significantly reducing the amount of search results Google gives you. This is awesome for those who want have face to face meetings with their designer (those are usually the best kinds of meetings).
Another helpful thing to do is to specify a type of designer. I plan on writing in the future about the different types of designers and what they do but in the meantime a little research goes a long way. You need a new logo? Well search “logo designer” and Google will deliver you logo designers. Need a new look and feel for the overall business? Search “brand designer” and you’ll find what you’re looking for. The general rule for smart and efficient Google searches is to specify as much as possible because someone somewhere in the world has probably already created content or has answers that can help you.
To be fair, you will most likely be left with an unmanageable amount of search results but Google has a few tricks of their own up their sleeves.
The wizards at Google use complex equations and algorithms to make sure their users (you) get the best content available from their search engine. What does this mean? If you use what we have discussed so far, then Google’s results (excluding those paid advertisement results) will be very close to what it is you’re looking for. Is this true 100% of the time, no. But Google is always updating and making changes to better serve their user’s needs.
With these results you get from Google, the top five are usually the most promising (again exclude the ads). These top five results should tell you two things: one, that website’s content (in Google’s opinion) best matches the term you have entered into Google, and two, the owner of said website has taken on the extra effort in fine-tuning their website, which is a very good sign for you.
You are at the point now where you can start the sifting process of checking several websites in the results you were given. Here are some questions to keep in mind when doing so.
How does the website look to you?
First impressions are the most impactful. How does their website make you feel? Are you impressed? Or does it look like it hasn’t been updated in a while (more than a decade ago), unfortunately this happens.
Is it easy to navigate?
This is a great way to tell if a designer truly pays attention to the details and the utility of their designs.
Do they have a blog?
Sounds like something from the early 2000’s but a blog is the best way for a potential client to get to know a designer and the way they communicate. Does their writing excite or bore you? Are they interested in helping others or are they trying to sell themselves at every opportunity?
Before I go…
There are two websites that are a great starting point for finding designers if you choose not to use Google or if the results just weren’t fruitful. The first site Elance.com, is a stockpile of mostly freelance designers looking for work. The second is 99designs.com. Again this is an online platform of designers looking for clients.
The reason I say use these two as starting points is because designers usually get paid pennies on the dollar what their time is actually worth while the site takes a portion of that as well. Now this is great if you need someone cheap but working with a designer should be about building a relationship and a future colleague. This is hard to do when the designer is doing a month’s worth of work for $500 and still can’t pay rent or eat. Use these platforms to find designers then go find their websites. That way you get to see if they are interested in helping others and are also thought-leaders in their field.
In the final part of this series, we will discuss the nerve wracking experience of first contacting the elusive graphic designer.