Here it is, the long-awaited Part Deux of my “please-save-yourself-from-being-a-design-victim” post. I’m going to cover a number of questions you can arm yourself with the next time you interview a prospective designer.

Questions you should ask a prospective designer:

1. “Why should I work with you?” (This is always a fun question – if you’re on the asking side. Be gracious, some people just don’t think on their feet. But, it will give you a good reading of what is most important in their minds.)

2. “How have you differentiated yourself from other firms?” (I.e. what makes you special?)

3. “What are your qualifications?” (Now, I should add that you don’t necessarily need to look for someone with a formal degree in marketing or design – some of the best designers I know have no formal training, they’re geysers of natural talent. Your goal here is to choose a designer who is a craftsman in their field and has the passion to back up their skills.)

4. “May I have two or more references?” (I know I already covered this briefly in the last email. Have the company or designer provide a list of two or more contacts for previous clients

5. “When was your last project?” (Determining the date of their last project or campaign will help you decide if your designer is a hobbiest, amateur, or an experienced professional. For reference, we have three or four projects running continually. “…oh, last project was June of last year? Hmmm…”)

6. “What other services do you offer or recommend?” (Don’t feel like this will open yourself up with a big “sales” target on your chest. A good firm will have a full range of services. You want to have the option of working with a full-service firm/designer. This means when your business grows (and it grow should, right? Why else are you investing in marketing?) you will have a committed team to help creatively target your efforts and create a smooth design that translates flawlessly to each facet of your brand.)

7. “Are your rates hourly or by project?”  (Closely followed with…)

8. “What happens if the estimated hours for a project are reached?” (Are overages included or will the project default to hourly? Will they inform you when the project hours are coming close? A worker is worth their wages. So, expect design to take some time (no, you can’t have it tomorrow), but make sure there is an open line of communication as those hours are used.

Written by Dia Becchio
*Edited by Alan Dowling