Who’s who in the design community? Part 1

25th November 2014

When you have a design challenge or requirement, how do you know who can help you? There are so many types of designer out there, how do you know what credentials to look for when selecting a designer?

Design is huge umbrella (a beautiful and sturdy umbrella at that). It covers a lot and when someone describes themselves as a designer, it could refer to anything from fashion, aeronautics or interiors to graphics, furniture or websites.

Even within one segment, say website design, there are a number of different design specialisms. In the next series of blogs we are going to look at different technical design roles and what people actually do.

Let’s start with graphic designers. You need a graphic designer when you need a solution with a high visual impact. Graphic designers are all about the icing on the cake – they get their kicks from creating visually engaging and aesthetically appealing print and web-based products. They have their finger on the pulse of current design trends – eg. 3D versus flat design, or reportage photography versus posed shots. They are fixated with details – alignment, fonts, kerning, icons, colours, imagery and consistency of branding.

A good graphic designer takes time to agree a clear brief with the client, then considers various design concepts and formats to fulfil the brief's objectives. When selecting a good graphic designer you should look for someone you have chemistry with and communicate well with – it’s important that they understand you and your organisation’s essence. Beyond that, they need to have creative passion and panache, a flair for their work (something which can’t be taught or forced) plus current and comprehensive working knowledge of industry software such as Adobe Creative Suite. And importantly, professionalism in their project management, charges and deadlines, which is why recommendations from trusted sources is helpful. A well-established rather than a newly set-up graphic designer is more likely to offer you a comprehensive solution as they will have a network of complementary contacts and peers to work with, such as illustrators, copywriters, photographers and printers. Ask to see their portfolio and pick someone you like the style of – there are so many different ones out there.

Finally, no matter how good the graphic designer, each project can only be as good as the project brief set out in the beginning so don’t leave anything to chance – get it written down and agreed before any work starts.