What to look for in a graphic designer

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Surely, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Surely, Dec 8, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011

    Surely Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm looking to have a logo designed for my new business. I'm hoping to find a graphic designer to create my design, but I really don't know what qualities/skills/techniques I should look for when deciding on someone.

    I will want to use this logo on my website, business cards and possibly letterhead, and eventually I'd want to use it for t-shirts and flyers.

    Are there certain file formats that I should want? Is there a specific design application (cs4?) that I should ensure the designer is using? Are there any other questions that I should be asking?

    I'm not looking to hire an expensive design firm. I'd rather try to find a freelancer to give the business to (plus, I would imagine it would be much less expensive to go that route). I've started browsing craigslist (yeah, I know) for someone local....any suggestions on how to zero in on the right person?

    Thanks guys.:cool:
  2. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    I would say it does not matter what software the designer uses as long as it looks good.
  3. Jaffa Cake, Dec 9, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011

    Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    There's not a 'set in stone' bit of software that should be used, but the logos will need to be correctly produced in the right format. If Surely ends up with (for example) a set of web resolution RGB logos produced in MS Paint, he'll have problems when it comes to submitting a logo for t-shirts, banners or whatever. Most design folk would use Illustrator to produce logos, certainly it's what I've always used.

    For print you'll want vector versions of your logo (EPS format), you can scale these up and down without the quality diminishing. You'll need Pantone and/or CMYK versions – and you'll need mono versions for where your logo only appears in single colour.

    You'll also need a set of logos for use on the web – in JPEG or GIF format, obviously these will need to be in RGB.
  4. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Gimp also works and can also export in Eps.
  5. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    Vector or bitmap?
  6. boss.king macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    I agree with Jaffa Cake. Adobe is pretty much the standard for design programs, and for a logo you want vector artwork so that it can be blown up to any size while maintaining quality. Illustrator is the program to go for. Other than that, maybe ask to see their portfolio to see if their style is what you are looking for.
  7. Surely thread starter Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for the helpful responses, guys.

    So is this what I'm looking for:

    Your final files will be sent in vector formats .ai and .eps for print.
    Also high resolution jpeg and png for Web.

    Is it standard that I would own the logo after it is designed, or is that something I would need to clarify with the designer? If the designer wanted to use this logo in his portfolio, would he need my permission? I have no problem giving permission, I just want to find out if these are terms that will need to be agreed upon.
  8. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Designers, especially people who do a lot of print, interpret "high res" as starting at 300dpi, while Web is 72dpi standard. Maybe Optimized for the Web?

  9. Surely thread starter Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm not quite sure if I understand your post, but are you saying that I need to find out what this guy's definition of "high res" is?

    And I assume that it would be better that it be 300dpi, yes?
  10. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended


    Jun 6, 2005
    Universe 0 Timeline
    A competent graphic designer will create your logo so it looks good on a business card. That's the hardest part, then he'll design the letterhead and envelope versions, followed by the web logo.

    There'll be a bunch of design choices to make: one color for the logo or several, logo with tagline (if you have a tagline, that is) and without, etc.

    If the logo is designed in a line-art vector application like FreeHand or Illustrator, you'll get your logo as an EPS file, the most flexible format. EPS can be resized to any dimension without losing sharpness. It can be opened in Photoshop if you want to convert to png or jpeg 72 dpi images, too.

    Logos designed in Photoshop should be created at 300 dpi at a large size (6 by 6 inches, for example). That way the logo can be used on posters or trade show banners without it getting fuzzy by being scaled up too much. (You can always reduce an image cleanly, it's enlarging that's the problem.)

    Make sure whoever designs your logo gives you the specs as to which fonts and/or colors were used and gives you the source files (PSD, FH11, AI, etc.).

    Good luck.
  11. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    IMHO try Inkscape and export as a EPS, problem solved. You'll get a free program and able to create the artwork as a vector and render out bitmaps in whatever format you need. :cool:

    For a person doing it themselves on a limited budget I'd suggest this, although hiring a designer would be the best idea. ;)
  12. concernedone macrumors 6502


    May 26, 2011
    Ask to see their portfolio. That would be my first step. If you find that you like their work, I would just go from there.

    Then let him/ her know about your business and who are your potential clients and so forth. Then, you and the GD might go through some color swatches and ideas for your logo. Best to do this face to face or over the phone at least.

    It really doesn't matter what software they use as long as they can produce both vector and bitmap graphics. File formats such as .jpeg, .png, .pdf are commonly used for print, web etc.

    Find out what file format/ color mode your printer need (differnt printers might required different file format or not specific to one format and the same with the color mode: CMYK or RGB)

    Or just have your printer contact your GD for the right file formats.

    Good luck! :)
  13. Nostromo macrumors 65816


    Dec 26, 2009
    Deep Space
    I think the key question is to find the right designer for your taste.

    You'll probably need to browse through many portfolios.
  14. CCreations macrumors newbie


    Dec 13, 2011
    Agreed that portfolio is key step to selecting the right person. Determine if their style is to your liking or they can achieve the standard you are looking for.

    If they are not using industry-standard software (Illustrator), I'd be weary. It must come in scalable vector format (not raster). And Jaffa Cake is bang on about logo versions—you'll want to follow that list.

    In Canada, the Designer's work is copyright unless an agreement has been made that states otherwise. I'm pretty sure permission is not required for the designer to use the artwork they created in their portfolio, though this too could be waived in an agreement. Although as a Designer I'd see that as a bit inappropriate unless there was a damn good reason.

    Your identity is a virtual asset whose value goes far beyond what you pay for it. Generally you get what you pay for in this world so best avoid the $100 logo options out there. WAY too important to go cheap as it reflects on your product or service. A good logo sets the tone for your brand, marketing initiatives and how prospective customers perceive your product or service.

    Hope that helps, and good luck! :)

  15. Surely thread starter Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Just a quick update:

    I found a graphic designer last Friday to design a logo and business cards. The logo was finished by Wed night, and the cards were finished by Friday morning. I was sent all nine file types via email by lunch. His fee was more than reasonable.

    He communicated a lot with me during the process, and didn't ignore any of my suggestions or ideas.

    If anyone needs a good GD, feel free to PM me.

    Thank you to everyone who posted above!
  16. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Mind posting the finished logo?
  17. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
  18. Smohil macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2012
    Portfolios of their work .
  19. laurim macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2003
    Minnesota USA
    Do they actually have logo design experience?

    Get a graphic designer who actually does logos. Just because someone is a graphic designer doesn't mean they can design a decent logo. It's a specialty. They need to know how to research the logos of your competitors so you're not similar. They need to know what looks good in different situations like extremely small or in black and white. What will work best when printed (e.g. no gradients). They need to know that you might need two versions, one that's wide all in one line and one that's stacked to fit a particular situation better. One that's spot colors and one that's cmyk or rbg for web. Do they understand which colors are commonly used in your industry so they convey the right message? Some graphic designers are good at illustrating. Some are good at page layout. Some are wonderful at creative use of typography. I'm a designer but I can't draw to save my life so I don't take jobs that require drawing. Look at their portfolio and see how many logos they have done and if you like their style.
  20. TomUnderhill macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2012
    Southern California
    Criterial for consideration

    This looks to be an old, probably dead thread with a recent post. Surprisingly, the question is more relevant than ever at the end of 2012.

    As a print graphic designer, book designer and publisher, Internet developer (HTML, PHP, asp, MySQL, mssql, CSS, etc), I offer the following items to consider before hiring any designer to reshape your future:
    • Ask yourself what your end goal really is. Financial. Distribution. Market share. New customers. Retained customers. Overall message to convey.
    • Right up front, you need to decide your budget. Is it wise to spend less than $250 in the logo when your goal needs a brand generating $100,000 it's first year?
    • Do you need a simple logo from a local graphic designer or one of those online services? Or do you really need marketing research and/or development as well as a pretty pictures? If you hire the wrong resource, the blame for a failed outcome is probably yours.
    • What are a designer's fees, and what does that cover? A good designer is "expensive" not just because they are "good", but because their projects include more than a "cheap" logo includes: time talking with a client to get to know them, their needs, market, goals; time spent apart from the client reviewing their market; etc. There are many other elements to consider than the number of comps presented and how many revisions allowed in the contract.
    • Many people in the thread have suggested basing your hiring decision on a portfolio review. A portfolio is a good place to start, but many times my discussions with the client, my market review and my "gut feelings" have led me to design nothing like what is in my portfolio.
    • Any competent designer can needs to take enough time to discern a logo's legs: identity including business cards and letterhead; print including laser, inkjet, newsprint, magazine, and pdf distribution; video; web and email; banners; presentations including PowerPoint, Keynote and Flash/programmatic small-screen or large screen adaptations. A professional designer will know how many other formats and/or renditions can be included in the project for any given fee.
    • Contrary to common perception, CMYK is not mandatory in many of today's prepress environments. Not only does RGB provide a larger color gamut, but many professional printers have tuned their processes to retain as much RGB image fidelity as possible. All my files go to press in 300 dpi RGB.
    At the end of the day, the designer needs to feed his family and put a roof over their heads... just like you. Working together to develop a strong working relationship and a realistic budget that keeps everyone from feeling taken advantage of will pay dividends in the future.
  21. R1PPER macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2008
    I dont mind doing you an ID. ive got 15 years experience and love doing small bespoke brand ID's. email me: paulr@me.com

    Just realised you've got it sorted...if your unhappy with it email me :)
  22. blanka, Dec 6, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Ask him a few questions:
    • What does alt-left alt-right do in your logo editor? (1 point if he says changing the space between letters/kerning)
    • How do you save a logo for web? (1 point if he says GIF or PNG in sRGB)
    • What format do I get my logo in for print? (1 point if he says .AI, .PDF, .EPS, .SVG or .FHx)
    • What colourspace do you make my logo in? (He should ask you what do you want: Web use, print with spot colour, full colour CMYK: 1 point)
    • How you you downsample a logo in bitmap? (1 point if he says with "bilineair option", bicubic/regular/i don't know looks shît on logos)
    • Do you change individual letters of logotype? (1 point if he does)
    • Does he remove ink-suction-gaps in letter like A, V and W (1 point if he does)
    • Do you include the font in a logo? (1 point if het says you won't need to, I convert it to an outline)
    • What does he say when you ask for a logo for Word docs? (1 point if he knows to convince you not to place logos in word)
    • Does he use triangular connection points in vector paths (1 point if he does)

    A pro should score a minimum of 8 out of 10 :D

    Also the pro should take you through everything Laurim talked about.
  23. laurim macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2003
    Minnesota USA
    I don't understand this one. If they are creating some kind of business document in Word (proposal, invoice, etc.), how would their logo get on there? You think they should be using pre-printed stationery? My business is entirely digital so I would never spend money on actual stationery like letterhead and envelopes because I rarely use paper. Why did you bring this point up?
  24. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I'm hoping the OP has found a designer in the last 12 months :)
  25. laurim macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2003
    Minnesota USA
    we know it's old but it might help someone else

Share This Page