The growing expense of digital space has made the need for a robust team even stronger. If you want to survive in the online world and are looking at a long-time innings make sure you know your niche, your biggest competitors and your requirements. These are three fundamentals which you cannot afford to miss if you want to sustain. Always remember, your team is and will be your greatest asset and when online, graphics hold a central point of focus and attention. Thus, hiring a right person to handle graphics for your website will go a long way to define your presence in the virtual arena and the share of mind it is able to bag in your potential visitors. Another point to mark is that when someone is online, he/she has no dearth of options and thus it is the strength of your graphics, content, and credibility which will encourage re-visits and reduce bounce rate considerably.
Let’s briefly see how the knowledge of niche, competitors, and requirements help us choose whom to hire:
Niche: You need to have clarity about your product segment especially when doing business online. Every product/ website model will have a specific need which cannot be brushed aside or ignored. E.g. if you are running an education website, content and testimonials will take an edge over graphics in comparison to a website about a fashion brand, where only graphics will break the deal. There is no same size fits all so you should clearly define the primary purpose of the website and the niche in which you will operate.
Knowledge about competitors:
Knowing your competitors will give the right inputs about what to do and what not to do. It will add to the clarity of thought and planning. This is critical for the growth of any business.
Once the knowledge of the above two is in place, you can be reasonably clear about the kind of graphics you will need, details of your design in terms of pages and thereby your expectation from the designer. Also, you will also be able to comprehend the role of the graphic designer as a freelancer or a full-time employee.
Once, you are clear about what you need, you will next have to make a choice from a pool of applicants. This choice should be made considering the following parameters:
- Knowledge about Target Audience: This is vital for a graphic designer as without this he/she will not be able to resonate with the vibe which is essential to create a pull online. The knowledge about the customer journey on the website and experience during the time spent is basic to enumerating the underlying vision precisely.
- Flexibility to learn: A Graphic designer cannot give you the desired results unless he/she is able to grasp the fundamentals of your business requirements. Thus, he/she has to come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to learn and relearn in order to suit the end-result. Any rigidity in attitude can be detrimental to the whole effort.
- Knowledge about Latest Trends: A good graphic designer should be well-versed with the current trends in the industry and should be able to deliver futuristic products and not just give parallel outcomes. This will be possible if the designer is well-read and updated about the latest developments which will define the web tomorrow.
- Interpersonal Skills: This requirement becomes even more pronounced where freelancers are concerned as they are not full-time employees who can be approached at any time of the work-day. Thus, the graphic designer who has been hired on a freelance model has to have great interpersonal skills, have to ability to grasp and comprehend the underlying ideas. Furthermore, they should be able to justify their own thoughts and creativity in line with the website.
- Self-motivated: Freelancing is not possible if there is no inner drive to work and give results. It completely falls apart if the hired person has to be constantly pushed to show results and professionalism. Some traits like good work, discipline, versatility, attention to detail and punctuality cannot be compromised at any cost.
- Previous work or references: A good graphic designer should also be backed by relevant experience and be able to exhibit his work. Thus, before making a final call it is a good idea to ask for some samples of previous work and also recommendations from clients. This is extremely essential in the case of freelance designers. Community acknowledgment is a huge advantage as it reinforces the credentials which are already stated. Going a step further, you can also test the person by judging his/her knowledge on various technical parameters via pre-designed tests. You can also ask for a short demo about his skills and the way he/she does coding to build solutions to put the soul into a new website. You can also ask the candidate for suitable prototyping.
- Social Media presence: This has become another effective tool when hiring a new team member. Social media presence on relevant designer sites, like Behance.net, Dribble.com etc. where designers come together to share their work, kind of activity on other social media sites and the level of pull the latter create etc. can be instrumental in gauging the professional competency of a designer along with his/her confidence to appreciate or dare other such professionals.
- Hire for Passion: A great zeal to learn and a strong and evident passion towards one’s job is more than required for any person to form a great team member. Hire for passion. One who is passionate about his/her work will always be on the quest to know more, to learn new tricks, will be open to feedback and a fast learner. He/she is far better than a veteran who knows his job but comes with a closed mindset. This thing becomes even more important in the case of graphic designers as they have to create designs which not only defy today but also challenge the tomorrow. These are the guys who should have the forward DNA and are able to visualize the world of tomorrow.
This varies from person to person and from project to project in case of freelancers. The cost you are willing to pay again boils down to your needs. Some freelancers work on an hourly basis while others accept project-wise payments.
The choice of a graphic designer will be defined by your own requirements which in turn will depend on the clarity of your purpose. There is no replacement for a good team member. You should have the eye to look for passion and an open mind in the candidates. There are ways to evaluate basic skills which can be used. There are sites like JanBaskdigitaldesign, Giggrabbers, 99Designs, LinkedIn, etc. from where you can search for good professionals keeping in mind the above pointers.