What is graphic design?
Graphic design is defined as "the applied art of arranging image and text to communicate a message. It may be applied in media such as print, electronic media, motion picture, animation, packaging, signs identities etc." Source Wikipedia.
Why use a graphic designer?
Graphic designers are the visual communicators who provide the link between your product and the market place. Using a graphic designer is essential when looking to publicise and explain your product or service visually. A graphic designer can help to create your corporate identity, enhance your core brand, and come up with effective visuals to communicate your message clearly. Working with a professional graphic designer can reap huge financial rewards, bearing in mind that that the visual impact of your brand is the customer's first impression.
What should you look for when choosing a graphic designer?
Ask to see examples of their work; take time to have a good look at their portfolio. Talk to other clients, find out what they're like as a supplier (their visuals may be great, but how is their timing and reliability?). Does their published work clearly articulate the product and fulfil the client's original brief?
As with any professional relationship, make sure you choose an individual or company that you trust and feel comfortable with personally. You are about to embark on a fun and adventurous creative journey - ask yourself, do you feel confident that you're in the right hands? Can you have discussions and disagreements with them?
Always ask for a written quotation, specifying exactly what should be included in the price.
What's the next part of the relationship?
With your graphic designer onboard, you're ready to embark on your creative communication journey. Once you've chosen your graphic design, give them a clear brief: convey your ideas to make sure you're on the same page. Show them examples of visuals or typography you like, to give them an idea of the mood and feeling you're after.
Be clear about your needs and list the items you want: from a simple logo, to stationery, business cards and packaging; brochures, flyers, magazine editorial; or large-scale visuals such as signs, posters, and billboards.
Discuss expected response time and any deadlines that you may have.
Listen to their ideas and suggestions, even if they're unexpected or unfamiliar. You're the client, but they're the creative experts; they know their job.
Remember that the visual impact of your brand is the customer's first impression, so it must communicate the brand's core values.
Graphic design for web work
All the same above rules apply, however if your designer is from a print background make sure that they can calibrate and correctly resize files (especially visual images) for websites, to enhance fast page-loading and customer web usability.
The same is also true vice versa, as some designers only work on web and are literally "lost" in the print world.
See the results
You will soon reap the benefits of contracting a graphic designer for your business. A sound business investment indeed.