10 Questions to Ask Your Graphic Designer | MP 92

On this marketing podcast, Samantha Carvalho talks about 10 questions to ask your graphic designer.

Are you looking to hire a new creative for your team? How can you best vet a new designer? What makes a great designer great?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about the 10 questions you should ask your graphic designer.

Podcast Sponsor: Heard

An image of the Practice of the Practice podcast sponsor, Heard, is captured. Heard offers affordable bookkeeping services, personalized financial reporting, and tax assistance.

As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard can help you out with that. Heard is a bookkeeping and tax platform built specifically for therapists in private practice that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or are in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.

When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and grow your business. You’ll also receive financial insights such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to poring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments; focus on your clients, and Heard will take care of the rest.

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In This Podcast

  • “Where do you find your inspiration?”
  • “How did you design your portfolio?”
  • “Tell me about the projects you’re most proud of, and why. What was your role?”
  • “What software do you use?”
  • “How do you work cross-functionally with developers, copywriters, project managers, etc?”
  • “Are you typically involved in the strategy or ‘concept’ phase of a project?”
  • “What’s your creative process?”
  • “How do you deal with feedback?”
  • “How do you hand off a project?”
  • “What’s your dream job?”

“Where do you find your inspiration?”

See who or what influences your designer and whether they keep up with current trends:

  • Are they influenced by the art scene, architecture, furniture, interior decorating, or visual design?
  • What apps do they admire?
  • Which websites make them jealous they did not create?

Even though you may not recognize every name, brand, or product they list, that’s okay, because you are looking for passion and an open mind. Great designers are constantly inspired by and learning from the work of others. (Sam Carvalho)

“How did you design your portfolio?”

Double-check that they did design it themselves!

Did they use Squarespace or Dribble? Did they code it themselves? Explore why they arranged it like it is.

If they say, “the newest stuff is up front”, or “it’s just all my work laid out”, that’s a bad sign. You’re looking to learn how they think and organize their work, especially if you want a designer who’s skilled in user experience and interface. They must be aware of the usability and functionality of their portfolio. (Sam Carvalho)

Look for variety in their work. You need a flexible designer with a broad range of abilities, so they can adapt quickly and create work that appeals to you and your clients.

“Tell me about the projects you’re most proud of, and why. What was your role?”

Before the interview, try to find your favorites within their portfolio so that you can mention them if the designer does not. Get details on the project itself and the specific role they played in it.

Have them walk you through the process to see if and how they were involved. Knowing what they regularly tackle will help you to see if they would be a fit.

“What software do you use?”

  • Can they go beyond Photoshop and InDesign towards newcomers like Sketch and UXPin?
  • Do they have extra skills like animation, video editing, and illustration?
  • Which coding languages and programs are they learning or are interested in learning?
  • Do they have print skills for layout and production work?

If you are not familiar with the creative world, get someone else on your staff to jump in on the meeting as a go-between.

“How do you work cross-functionally with developers, copywriters, project managers, etc?”

The best designers are team players. They know how to conceptualize, ask questions, incorporate feedback, and collaborate on projects.

Ask for a specific example of how they worked under a tight deadline, when they had to rely on other people, or for how they interacted when the team had very different work styles. (Sam Carvalho)

“Are you typically involved in the strategy or ‘concept’ phase of a project?”

Designers who have led projects, incorporated intake from stakeholders, and have been a part of the strategic planning phase are the ones you want to snag for your team.

Their range of skills is extensive, from executing existing briefs to understanding the why behind the ask to developing concepts to presenting work. It is a bonus if the designer has worked face-to-face with clients.

“What’s your creative process?”

Here you want to understand how this person works best, and if that works for you and your team.

  • Do they try to understand the problem before they start designing?
  • What kinds of questions do they ask?
  • Are they comfortable with ideation?
  • Can they execute someone else’s idea?
  • Do they like to brainstorm or concentrate on their own?
  • Do they like when people offer advice?
  • Are they more of a leader or contributor?
  • How do they collaborate remotely, which is rapidly becoming the new norm?
  • Can they handle curveballs?

Their answers will give you something to marinate on.

“How do you deal with feedback?”

Great designers want feedback on their work because they know it can make the final project even better.

They can support and defend their work in respectful ways, sharing insights on their choices and providing options for change.

You want someone who believes in their work but is not difficult or inflexible.

“How do you handoff a project?”

Final handoff can determine the success and future accessibility of any design project, so you want a designer who makes the final handoff as smooth as possible. (Sam Carvalho)

  • Do they recommend specific file types for final review with the client?
  • Do they provide source files?
  • Have they bundled or organized the files for future use?
  • Have they created a naming structure for ease of use?

You don’t want someone who is rushing to the finish line without considering the project’s results or future needs.

“What’s your dream job?”

Broad questions like this can give you a glimpse into their personality. Personality is important in making sure that they can fit in with the culture of your company.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Sam Carvalho

A photo of Samantha Carvalho is captured. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and Designer at Practice of the Practice. She is the host of the Marketing A Practice Podcast and helps therapists successfully market and brand their private practices.Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding.

Thanks For Listening!

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