By now you probably understand how important it is that your photography marketing materials have a consistent look and feel and that they look professional. Yet we often hear small business owners say, I just can’t justify or afford a graphic designer. So I’m going to be a marketing piece template here and use this co-op marketing piece there. And for now this price menu I laid out myself will have to do.
However, if you’re building a boutique brand, a business that doesn’t compete on price, you can’t afford NOT to hire a professional graphic designer. Yet it doesn’t have to deplete your cash-flow. Like many small business owners, the graphic design profession is flexible enough that it allows you to work from home. For this reason, there are many stay-at-home moms (or even dads) who are trained graphic designers, perfect for creating fresh work for your business in exchange for your services.
Here are a few places to look for graphic designers who may be interested in trading their services with you for beautiful images, products, or the services you sell.
1) Contact your local college or university – the often have students looking to beef up their portfolios with ‘real’ client work.
2) Attend your local AAF meeting (American Advertising Association) or AIGA meeting (association for graphic design professionals) – you’ll meet several graphic designers who may be able to help your business.
3) Inquire in your circle of friends, Facebook friends, and current clients – you never know whose sister or best friend is a professional graphic designer. However, use caution when working with a good client to create materials for your business as it may be hard to tell them if you don’t love their designs.
Tips for hiring a designer:
1) Make sure you review his or her portfolio before hiring.
2) Give him or her a small job before you commit to a large project. This way you’re sure they understand your style and your vision. You can also give this same small job (maybe it’s a holiday card template) to several designers so you can test out the process of working with them on a larger job.
3) Ask for references and interview other clients they have worked with to understand their work style.
4) Remember you don’t have to work with a local graphic designer. While the convenience of meeting in person is nice, technology easily enables an across the world relationship. Don’t limit yourself to a local pool of candidates.
5) Just because you’re not paying cash for their services doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat the relationship as a professional one. Make sure deadlines are met and that you absolutely love the designs before you commit to them. This is your brand you’re building – keep your standards high!
We’d love to hear your success stories on finding a perfect graphic designer and tips for hiring. Share with us below!