Stay on deadline and within budget.
Hiring a freelance graphic designer can be great if your company or organization can’t afford an in-house designer. It allows you to save money as well as avoid pulling staff to create something that is out of the scope of their job.
The downside to hiring someone not full-time is they don’t know your company or your employees. Do not expect your graphic designer to go digging on your website for text, you need to have everything for them. If you aren’t detailed enough, your designer might have to go over the deadline for reasons such as constantly looking for missing content or having to make drastic changes to the design because they didn’t know your company or organization's branding.
Throughout this article you will learn how to propose a project to your designer, how to set a project budget, what to send your designer for them to be able to get started, what to do after you receive a design draft, and how to be print ready.
What to send your freelance graphic designer when proposing a project:
Every graphic designer will analyze a project differently. How I decide on whether I can take on a project or not is based on type, deadline, budget, and whether I think I will personally be a good fit for the project based on my design style.
How to set your budget:
Every freelance graphic designer will price their work differently based on their experience and project expertise. It’s important to work with someone whose design style fits your company or organization, who you can communicate with easily, and who can work within your budget.
A lot of designers starting out will offer an hourly rate because they don’t know how long a project might take them. I generally offer a set rate with the option for hourly to possibly save a client some money. I do this because a lot of my design work is for small businesses or religious organizations that don’t have a large budget. Remember though, a freelance graphic designer might be the only person in their business therefore every project and dollar makes a difference.
When I offer clients a price for a project, I give them a max amount. For example, past design projects for a 24-page custom booklet took me around 40+ hours and I charge $65 per hour. I can say a project like that I know will be $2,600 minimum. I will then analyze the project proposal and see if their are additional aspects to the project that may add time and cost: custom cover art, ad space design, project management, data analysis and organization, etc.
While your company or organization is setting a budget for the project, remember to take into account extra costs that can occur. If for some reason you need to add extra pages or custom work that will take the graphic designer longer, they’ll possibly need to charge you for additional hours.
The best way to stay in budget is to stay on top of the project management and have a contract so there are no discrepancies.
What to send your freelance graphic designer for them to be able to get started:
Before sending your designer any files, ask them where they would like files managed (Ex:// Google Drive or Dropbox). This keeps you from sending them multiple emails with files that might get lost or missed. Additionally, organize the files into folders which can be decided by your designer by page number content or subjects (Ex:// Branding, pictures, text, etc.).
Although you might want your designer to get started on a design while you are still collecting content for your booklet or brochure, starting and stopping work on a design can make a project look less cohesive and could cause your graphic designer to go over budget as this could make a project take longer.
Provide your company's brand guide.
Your brand guide should contain:
Create a spreadsheet outlining the booklet or brochure.
How to outline your spreadsheet:
Spreadsheet Example Slideshow:
What to do after you receive a design draft:
After you receive any design draft from your graphic designer, print the design out. This will allow you to see it how other people will see it once it’s printed. If it’s a brochure, you can fold it up. If it’s a booklet, you can staple it together and flip through.
Printing out a sample of your brochure or booklet will allow you to see the final product before you spend money on hundreds of copies that don’t look the way you imagined it on the computer screen.
Even if you don’t plan to print the design, printing it out will make it easy to go through and write notes or edits on for your graphic designer.
Be ready for print:
Once you have received the final design draft from your graphic designer, print it out one more time to make sure there are no grammatical errors and everything looks the way you want it to.
Double-check what file size your printer or online printing service will need. I will give my clients the file as a PDF, PNG, and the original Ai file. If requested, I will send over a JPG, but nowadays, mostly everything online prefers a PNG or your printer will want a PDF.