There are 16.5 million entries in google that show up when you search for that exact phrase. If you start clicking, you’ll learn that you should ask your friends and professional acquaintances where they got their design work done, assuming you like it, and start a list. Start crossing people off of that list if you don’t like their portfolio, if their prices are outside your budget, if they only list an email address as a contact, if they don’t communicate quickly, etc. All pretty common-sense stuff.
Luckily, this post isn’t about common sense. Here are some common-nonsensical ways to add to and subtract from your list of candidates.
by reading design blogs. Here you can get a sense of how excited someone actually is to be doing design work. Hint: you want them to be excited about it.
by reading what a designer has said about completed projects. Do they still have respect for the clients and finished work, or do they belittle it or create a bad association with it? Take for example, the Reuters logo that was supposedly inspired by a toilet flushing. That brand is now tarnished (a bit like an old toilet).
designers who make it look effortless. A modest designer at the beginning of their career will make very stripped down, minimal stuff. A designer with tons of experience will do basically the same thing (though hopefully better). It’s the ones in the middle there, with their fancy new skillaz, that you have to watch out for.
designers who want to sell you on a bunch of symbolism. Hey, didn’t I just write about that?
weirdos who keep talking about “vision.” I’ve recently gotten engaged, and we were out looking for wedding photographers. One thing that Adrienne (of Hungry Bruno fame) kept noticing is that photographers who would eventually end up way out of our budget would introduce their pricing by way of discussing our “vision.” This insight prodded me to plot hundreds of data points onto this very accurate chart and publish my results in a peer-reviewed journal (not really).
people who know what ambigrams are and really like them.
people who will sacrifice quality to satisfy their design fetishes.
anyone who tells you that cost and quality are closely linked. The fact of the matter is that sometimes you pay very little for a design and it rocks and sometimes you pay a whole giant load of cash for a design and it rocks not at all. It’s very difficult to determine quality of work before you’ve received the work. Because it’s so difficult, giant design firms would love for you to think that there is a tight correlation; their giant bill is not only justified, it’s integral to good work. There may be a loose correlation. But below are two of the data points I used to carefully plot my “quality of design” chart. I should also note that the scribble chart is a direct rip-off of Martin Gardner’s Neo-Laffer curve.
people you like. Because, honestly, your project is going to be about how well you can work with someone and how much you trust them to do their job. If you don’t like them, it’s probably not going to work out. It’s weird how I can’t find that in any of the “How to Find a Graphic Designer” pages.