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Selecting an online designer for your brochures, business cards, flyers, catalogs and other print marketing materials is no easy task for the uninitiated; but the process can be quite easy when you know what to look for. Too often small businesses choose based on a feeling rather than a calculated approach to deciding which online designer is the best for them. And with so many online designers competing for the job, it is easy to waste time and money on the wrong one. The following five questions – and the reasons for asking them – will help you determine which online designer is the best fit for you.
1. What is your process?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask, and it lays the groundwork for your relationship with your online designer so you're both on the same page. Most good online designers will gather necessary information from you, submit a comp or two for your review, make any revisions, and then finalize your design according to your edits. You also need to know a timeline for each stage of the process – will it take a week, two weeks, or a month? When you have established stages and timelines from the outset, you and your online designer can avoid unnecessary stress down the road.
2. What are the deliverables, and what revisions are included?
It is critical to know what the end product will be, so that both you and your online designer are striving for a unified goal. Make sure you also know what revisions are included in your final price. Most good online designers will offer at least one revision, even better if you get a comp plus two revision rounds without incurring extra fees.
3. What is the final completed price?
Different factors affect the pricing of any finished print marketing piece. Printing on both sides, supplying hardcopy proofs, and additional design devices such as die cuts and foil stamps add extra fees. It is important to agree on a final price for stated deliverables before starting any online design projects. Be careful here, because the most expensive price does not necessarily mean you'll get the best work, while the lowest price can leave you with poor quality materials you can't use. Strive for a price that has value; that is to say, a good and fair price for high-quality work.
4. Can I see your portfolio?
Good online designers have online portfolios you can view to compare the quality of their work. To boot, sometimes you might come across a great graphic designer whose style does not fit your own. Turning down such a designer is not a knock on their talent, but does signify that you know what style you are after. You can also see if your online designer has testimonials from past and current clients who are happy with their work.
5. Can you handle my printing?
When your online designer and your online printing company are on the same page, you benefit because your print marketing materials will look as great off the press as they do on your computer screen. In addition, some online designers have relationships with printing companies – or even work directly for them – that can save you money, time and hassles.