How to work with a freelance designer – short guide to successful collaboration
You want to work with a freelance designer but you don’t know how to start? I feel you. Choosing the right person can be overwhelming and stressful. The key to success is to find the right person who will lead the project, solve the problems and propose the right solutions.
I always try to understand my clients and give them comfort even they’re not very clear about their own expectations. That’s why I decided to create this short guide for all your entrepreneurs who want to start working with a freelance graphic designer.
So if you are thinking of hiring a remote worker or freelance graphic designer this article is for you. You will find out where to look for the right person, what to know before you start the project, what project management tools to use and more…
Where to find the right freelance designer
Low budget freelance sites
For those of you who are low on budget, you can use the website as Freelancer, 99Designs or Upwork. They are full of freelance designers who are ready to deliver the designs you want. While it can be a good option for those who don’t know much about design and ones who don’t want to make investments, using these websites can be pretty risky. Many of the designers sell their service very cheaply and have a short time to deliver a project, you can be almost sure that they will compromise on quality. And what is even more important, none of them will spend the time to get to know your company nor your clients.
Pros – low cost, fast, safe
Cons: Low quality, generic designs
Facebook groups for freelancers
They attract people from many different fields, so I am sure you can find whatever your company needs. The quality of work varies depending on the designers. But checking every single portfolio to find the right person can be very time-consuming.
Pros: Big choice of freelance designers, easy to check quality od service, for every budget
Cons: Time consuming,
Behance and Dribbble
If you’re looking for something specific it might be the best choice for you. On the website like Behance, you can find many great designers. Work is much better quality, categories and hashtag help to find what you’re looking for. You search at your own pace. You can choose a person you like the most and easily contact him/her for more details.
Pros: Accurate choice, many options, great quality
Cons: Higher prices
What information to provide before you make a final decision
Before you even start to look for a freelance designer it’s good to spend some extra time and reflect on your project and design needs. That will help you to make a choice and save a lot of time.
When you think you found the right person you may like to send an email where you briefly explain the project. Below you will find a list of useful information you can put in your message:
- Who you are and where you find him or her,
- What your company is all about,
- What project you need,
- What decisions you already made,
- What’s your budget,
- What’s the deadline.
Remember to keep it short but informative. On this stage, the designer doesn’t need to know the tiniest details, but the information you provide will help a designer to recognize your needs and decide if they’re able to help.
Note! Many people are afraid to talk about budget upfront for many different reasons. But knowing how much money you wish to spend can be highly beneficent for you and the designer. First of all, it helps you to save time on negotiations in case the designer’s rates are much higher than your budget. Some designers will send you an offer depending on your wallet. So even when your budget is too low you can still get some work done.
What questions to ask before the project starts
When you collaborate with a remote freelancer you wish to have clear information on how the whole process will look like. Before you make the final decision make sure you get a few crucial information on:
- How the process looks like step by step
- What’s the estimated time of work
- How many revisions are included in the price
- The cost of extra revisions
- How the project is going to be delivered
- What kind of materials you need to deliver before you start the project
- Costs of additional license – as fonts or images
After you both agree to work together you will have to prepare the design brief and provide necessary materials for farther quotations. If you already have copy, images, sending them to the designer will help them to estimate the time and costs of the project
Low and formalities
A contract put you (and the freelancer) on the safe side. You can find many free templates on the internet showing how it should look like. Remember to include copyright transfer information, deadline, when you are allowed to break a contract and cost of the project. Putting basic milestones can also make things clear.
If you’re not sure about this part – contact a lawyer who will help you to create professional documents.
Always write an email to talk about changes. Make sure you have all agreements in the conversation. In case of problems, you will have everything in one place.
Professional freelance designer, same as you, wants collaboration to be smooth and long term. Most of us take our work seriously and try to avoid problems like this. But official documents like contracts are there to make you both feel more comfortable.
Tools that will help you manage the project
I work with my clients 100% remotely. With the majority of them, I haven’t even met in person. Nowadays you have so many apps to manage the project that even the phone calls sometimes feel unnecessary. Below you can find a few tools I use in my day-to-day work.
- Asana, Trello, Slack
- Dropbox, Google Drive,
- Skype, Whatsapp, Messanger
Few more things to remember while working with a freelance designer
Pay attention to details – that can seem obvious but so many time people try to get their project fast and they forget to agree on details. And I tell you one thing – it can be crucial to deliver your project without any complication. So check the designer first, ask about availability, contract and process. More on what is important in finding a perfect freelancer you can read here.
Agree on a time frame – remember that every project needs feedback and revisions so put it in the time frame. It’s better to assume that the project will take longer so you are on the safe side. Always plan in advance and make sure you have some spear time in case of delay.
Remember that a freelancer doesn’t work only for you. We all try to make our clients feel special but bare in a head that usually we work on several different projects at the same time. So never assume that you get a project right away. Always ask when you can expect delivery and establish real deadlines. So many times the clients want something ASAP while they really don’t have any plans to finalize it in the next couple of weeks. So be realistic about your dates and inform a designer about upcoming tasks as soon as possible.
Payments – many freelancers will ask you to pay (at least some %) upfront. This is a normal practice and you shouldn’t be worried. Make sure you get an invoice for the deposit and agree what will happen with money in case one of you want to finish collaboration before the final project.
I believe that successful remote collaboration is a summary of a few things. One of them is mutual respect. For me working with my clients is all about partnership and taking care of our interests. While many designers think that work with a client has to be a hassle, I believe that our aim should be working hand in hand towards a goal. Only then we are able to create a better product.
Did you find it useful? Share your opinion in the comment or send me a private message.
Hi, my name is Magdalena. Brand designer and strategist with a passion for creative thinking, travels, and coffee. I'm inspired by new challenges and everyday life. I observe, read and listen. That's how I learn and gain experience to use it in my works.