A cat sitting on an Apple laptop

I hear cats make for pretty good graphic designers.

I could make some comments about designers wearing glasses, living in their parent's basement, and using pirated copies of Photoshop. But I'm not going to stoop to that level. No way. Not today.

So, if you've ever wondered how to hire one of those skinny-jeans wearing Apple fan-boys, you're in luck. We've laid it out for you, right here.

Define The Nature Of The Work

A designer can't read your mind anymore than a goat can do magic tricks. Don't just show up at the doorstep of a designer's home without first taking some time to prepare (actually showing up on their doorstep would probably be frowned upon, stalker).

No, first you need to figure out what it is you need them to do. It almost seems backwards, because you need to do some work before you can get another person to do their part. It's like getting Facebook private message notifications in your email inbox; why do you need another step between you and reading your private messages? I'm beginning to think this whole social media thing is just a plot to get you to waste more time.

Anyway, first realize that you are probably going to need multiple designs. You may even need different sizes and shapes of buttons. You may require concept sketches or blueprints. Make sure you have a pretty good idea about these things before you hire a designer. They are usually freelancers who get paid per hour, remember? If you want to keep costs down, you don't want to use them for any longer than you absolutely have to (don't actually use them; it's cruel).

Budget

Things cost money in the real world. Who would have thought?

If you don't have the money to hire people and pay for the buttons, you're going to be in trouble. Try to come up with a realistic figure for everything that needs to be done, and then times it by a thousand. Just kidding. Just remember to put a little margin in there. You'll thank me later (you better thank me later).

Explore Your Options

Now it's time to start looking for a suitable person for the job. Naturally, there are a lot of different ways to go about this. Most of all, you should see if they have any affiliation with aliens. That's going to prove problematic over the long haul.

In all seriousness though, designers aren't all the same. Some have more experience, some have less. Some are good at some things (like drinking beer), and others can't handle the same kind of job. They also tend to come at different price points.

One option is to check out Freelance sites like Elance or Freelancer.com. One of the advantages of hiring someone through a site like this is that you can view each freelancer's rating, skills, reviews and price point at a glance. It makes it pretty easy to exploit those sorry suckers find a good person for the job. One of the disadvantages is that you'll probably have to describe your project in excruciating detail since you may not be able to meet the designer in person. You'll also have to set a realistic timeframe for the completion of the project.

Another good option is to go to a local college and check out the fine ladies seek out a developing designer. On the upside, they're usually trying to build their portfolio, so they might be willing to do work on the cheap or maybe even for free (but don't exploit them; it's wrong). On the downside, they may not have a lot of experience yet. If you hire a college student, just keep your expectations realistic.

You could also search for funny kitten pics local designers on Google. This is usually just a matter of entering your city name followed by the term "graphic designer". If you just enter "designer", you might find interior decorators and other irrelevant results. It is kind of fun, but it won't get you what you're looking for.

Hire A Suitable Candidate

At some point, you're going to have to decide on someone for the job. I know, it's painful. After all that searching, you have to choose a designer that you feel you can work with.

It's sort of like walking into a candy store knowing what you want. But then you see the Coke bottles. Then you see the sour soothers. Before long, you've bought half the store.

Well, that might okay if you're buying candy, but it could be an expensive proposition if we're talking designers. Take an honest look at each candidate (they're not objects), and pick the one that's most suited to the project.

Provide Direction

You have to remember that buttons come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. So far as the designer is concerned, what this means is that they will likely have to prepare several different designs at different sizes, like we talked about earlier. This isn't a big deal if expectations are laid out upfront. It can be quite inefficient and costly if not.

It's like scheduling a lunch meeting with your friend but never specifying a time, date, or place. This seems to happen in TV shows and movies all the time. Oh well. Who needs details, right?

Just remember that unclear directions could cost you both time and money. Do your best to let the designer know what it is you want them to do.

Are there any other topics we should have addressed as it pertains to hiring a designer? Leave a comment, fool!

Image: A.Davey