Visual communication is a powerful tool for any business on the way to success. With constant technological progress and increased demand for high-quality design, businesses need to be flexible and ready for changes.
If your business goal is to change the brand identity or rethink the whole visual communication on social media, you might start looking for a professional graphic designer. It might be a freelancer or an in-house designer, depending on the type of work you want to do.
These days, however, you don’t always need to hire a graphic designer. Let’s explore all the options when it comes to high-quality, timely, and impressive design.
Graphic design will save the world right after rock and roll does.
How freelance job market changes by the minute
Before you actually hire a freelance graphic designer, first let’s see how the freelance industry changed over the last couple of years in the USA and Europe:
- The share of full-time freelancers grew from 17% to 28% from 2014 to 2019 in the US.
- Europe experienced a 45% increase in freelancers from 2014 to 2019.
- 48% of the US workforce were anticipated to become freelancers by the end of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The freelance job market grew by over 25% between April to June 2020.
Many businesses had to turn to eCommerce in 2020. The demand for high-quality design and marketing grows, while the number of freelancers grows too.
For employers, this means more Junior-level designers will be ready to take on easy tasks, while Middle- and Senior-level designers are likely to mark up their prices and still have plenty of requests for complex and interesting projects.
What you should look for in a graphic designer?
If you think that you need a professional designer, there are a couple of things to do before starting your headhunt:
- Define the scope of work to be done
- Decide on the deadline
- Prepare the payment
But most importantly, decide whether you need a freelancer or an in-house employee.
Freelance vs in-house graphic designers
We feel like in 2021, it’s very hard to put a sharp line between freelance and in-house graphic designers. Both can be productive, both can be professionals. It rather depends on the level of skills and experience than the remote-vs-office-job factor.
However, the choice is still hard and it depends on your business goals:
- Art direction. It’s better to hire an in-house Art Director for this role simply because it is the person who takes full responsibility for how your product or business looks, which inevitably influences the representation of the product on the market, its success, and eventually profits. Art direction is a job for an experienced, Senior-level designer with an extensive digital portfolio. This position requires a good understanding of your business, full dedication, and involvement, so a freelance-based partnership will probably be hard to establish in a way that covers all these needs.
- Product, UI, graphic design. Both freelancers and in-house graphic designers can do a great job. For example, you could delegate a part of tasks to freelancers, while an in-house designer focuses on the review and quality control of the completed designs.
- UX design, human-centered design. Even though UI/UX usually comes together as a design skill, sometimes there are business cases where you only want to focus on the improvement of user experience, rather than the user interface. If it’s exactly your case, this looks like a perfect project-based partnership with an experienced freelance UX designer.
- Motion design. Both freelance and in-house motion designers can do a great job but the choice is usually based on how much motion you need (read quantity, quality, and difficulty of design pieces).
- New business/product identity. This is a type of work that can be done by a freelance graphic designer or by an agency/a team of designers as a project-based collaboration. You could surely do this with the help of your in-house design team but remember that a complete change of business identity requires a fresh perspective, innovation, a new vision. Only then it will be done successfully.
- Daily design tasks. You could hire an in-house designer if you have a ton of routine tasks to do. A freelance graphic designer can also help you with regular tasks but it’s a bit harder to find one, who’s really good at this long-term business relationship.
Simply put, hire an in-house designer for regular, time-consuming tasks, and the ones that require a deep understanding of your business.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
— Steve Jobs
Most businesses do hire a freelance designer for a non-repetitive, contract, project-based job. However, don’t be deceived by the stereotype that freelancers are only good for one-time gigs.
Yes, there are more freelancers now than there used to be just 5 years ago, so you always have a choice. But those of them who started earlier, collaborate with companies, agencies, and projects for years, which may be longer than some in-house employees do. The price for Senior-level design services goes up too, along with skills and experience, which is totally fair.
Top platforms to hire freelance designers
Now, let’s see what are the platforms where you can find and hire a graphic designer online these days. All of the advised platforms can help you find both a freelance designer and a team player.
Perhaps one of the biggest design platforms, communities, social networks, or whatever you call it, run by Adobe. Behance is a perfect place for both business owners and potential employees. With over 10 million members, including graphic and motion designers, art directors, illustrators, painters, web designers, and more professionals in the design domain, any business owner can find their perfect creator.
Behance makes it even easier for anyone to hire a designer by making a separate Job tab that just naturally leads you to the job posting process.
Job postings are now free on Behance but no one knows for how long. So hurry up if you’re looking for a professional designer and don’t want to spend much during the search.
Dribbble, as well as Behance, is one of the leading platforms that’s made for anyone who wants to showcase their designs or who wants to look at these designs. Dribbble was initially made just for creators to showcase their work. It was an invite-only community of designers (much more private than Clubhouse), which later grew into one of the biggest design communities without headquarters.
Go to the Hire Designers tab, add your job posting, and be sure to find your perfect creative professional by browsing hundreds, if not thousands of candidates’ portfolios. With over 4 million visitors monthly, Dribbble is the second-best place for business owners to look for talented artists.
Upwork & Fiverr
We decided to put these two platforms together because they’re alike and equally useful. Both Upwork and Fiverr will help you find a professional designer online. However, they’re mostly listing freelancers, who prefer a project-based job rather than a long-term collaboration.
Fiverr is the place, where the price for a one-time job starts at $5 (and you probably already guessed that the name comes from this concept).
Unlike Upwork, Fiverr doesn’t support the concept of hourly rates and only offers employers project-based pricing. But there’s Fiverr Business for employers who need to close the gap in their team with a freelance professional.
Curious fact: It’s exactly thanks to Fiverr we now call small one-off jobs—gigs. It was the first platform to call a job that way and it’s perfect. We often think of a job as a day-to-day routine, while a gig is something you can do quickly, get paid, and call it a day.
Upwork, on the other hand, has professionals for any type of collaboration, be it a short-term task, recurring projects, or full-time contract work. You just have to look thoroughly and communicate with the potential designers a lot before you find the one.
If you’re looking for a skilled freelancer, Upwork and Fiverr are places where you’ll definitely find one, or two, or even ten, because both platforms offer you millions of professional creators.
Pay attention to the rating, reviews, and completed projects of your candidates. You’ll notice a professional designer right away: they will have a breathtaking portfolio, experience in your business domain, high rating, short average response time, and praiseful comments.
Instagram is not a platform for hiring professionals but when it comes to design, this social media might be really helpful. Many artists post their works on Behance, Dribbble, and Instagram these days. It became the hub for everything, not just #ootd and #instafood type of content.
Moreover, you get a bonus perk because you can also get to know the potential candidate as a personality if they post pictures from their everyday life. This can help to skip the unnecessary interview questions like “What brands inspire you?” or “What do you usually do in your free time?”.
Many artists and designers don’t even showcase their work on Behance or Dribbble, and only use their personal websites and Instagram for self-promotion. So consider this as an additional source of creators, and spend a couple of inspiring hours scrolling profiles until you find a perfect one.
How good graphic design can help your business
Design and marketing stay closely together. It’s no wonder a good design catches more attention than a poor one. People are likely to click on the ad if it evokes feelings.
No matter what type of business you run, it’s important to understand all its strong and weak points. The design has to not just uncover but shout about these strong points. Moreover, it has to shout about them loudly enough to sell well but not too much to still look classy.
There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.
These days your brand can look however you want it to. Design has long passed the time when it was normal for one-two prominent trends to stick for years. Now, you have a choice of thousands of different styles and all of them are trendy.
The hardest job is to combine the styles but thanks to design tools like Crello it got easier than ever. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It’s all there, ready-made templates, design objects, fonts, animations, photos, and video.
Good graphic design doesn’t have to be expensive. It has to welcome the observer and tell an engaging story. There are many brands such as Apple, Dyson, Starbucks, Airbnb, and more, who not just designed their products/services, they completely redesigned experiences. It’s exactly the type of design that’s powerful enough to change the world.
Even if you don’t aim so high, the more effort you put into a design, the more happy customers, and therefore revenue you will get.
Should you hire a graphic designer?
You certainly should hire a graphic designer, if you need very narrow expertise that you can’t get just by googling. You also can consider hiring a designer if your scope of work is big enough to fill up a year, and you still have other tasks to do. Invest in the identity, in the so-called skeleton of your brand marketing that will then get bigger and bigger with the help of advertising, blogging, and social media.
There’s no necessity to hire a graphic designer if you just need a quick but high-quality design for business marketing. Crello is a design editor that helps millions of business owners, brand managers, marketers, and advertisers to cover their needs in design for social media, web, and print.
It doesn’t matter who creates your designs and which tools you use to make them. What really matters is the end reaction because it will define the future success of your business. Create stunning designs for your business with Crello and always stay trendy.