This post is aimed at giving suggestions as where to find a designer for your next project, by showing where they post their work. In order to judge designers by what you require, you need to see a range of their work so as to form an opinion to whether they’re a good fit. Filtering through the millions of designers in the Google search results can take ages, and in all honesty not the best way to spend your time. Hopefully you will get a few pointers from the links below of where designers hang out.
The first thing to do is actually work out what ‘type’ of designer you need. If the focus is on your new website, then a web designer will be a better choice than a logo designer, and vice versa. The reason I’m differentiating is not simply because it’s better to hire a specialist, but because they show their work of in different ways and different places. Once you’ve worked out in what ‘niche’ your designer lies, I would suggest filtering your scope of designers into additional ‘genres’. If you are looking for a logo designer, do you need/want someone local? If not, does the style of logo you require need to be more illustrative and therefore require a specific range of work? Overall, you should try and write down the details of what you need for later. These can be used as search tags to narrow down on a list of designers that may be suitable candidates for getting in touch with.
So, where would I look to find a designer?
I would start on Dribbble because the range of designers on there is pretty vast. The standard of work is incredible, and the nice thing about Dribbble is that you get to see their work in progress, following along with how the project comes about. Another great feature is the “Explore by Tags” one, in which is where the filtering I mentioned earlier comes to be valuable. Try searching through some of the tags you had written down earlier to see if anything jumps out.
It’s incredibly easy to connect and contact designers through their Dribbble profile, which shows their location, personal/professional website and Twitter username. Pro Dribbblers can have a special “Hire Me” button beside their name, which allows for a quick email to be sent – very handy for simply asking “are you available?” If that button isn’t there, I would suggest clicking though to their website and looking for either a contact form or email address.
Another helpful feature which I probably should have mentioned first is the “Find Designers” tab. Again, this allows you to filter by skills, which is an impotant and effective way to narrow down on the appropriate designer for your project.
Behance is another great community/resource for designers and non-designers alike. A constantly changing source of inspiration and design projects in a wide-range of fields from web UI to typography. The best advice I can give is again similar to Dribbble’s – start filtering down the “creative fields” tab in the navigation, either trying the most appreciated or most viewed projects of the month/year then clicking anything that catches the eye.
Behance allows you to post up a job opportunity, but I’d recommend against it unless it’s a full-time opening – mainly due to the fact it’s $199 – money which could be better spent on the project itself. That brings up another point; personally, I wouldn’t pay to post an advert anywhere, because the ‘free’ resources are more than plentiful and generally all you need.
Similar to Dribbble, Forrst tends to focus more on the web designers and developers so it’s a good place to start if that’s the type of designer you need. I’m not overly familiar with it despite having an account, but looking to the Popular Snaps shows some incredible designers on there.
Almost every designer has a Twitter account, or at least they should. My suggestion would be to fire out a tweet asking something specific, such as “I am looking for a mobile app developer for a project, any help?” or “is there any graphic designers who could help me with an infographic?” – I’m sure you get a few replies. In fact, I posted a while back on how designers can use Twitter to find your tweets.
Cargo Collective allows users to create portfolio sites free of charge in an easy and useable form, which also looks beautfiul. Although searching the site’s users is a little harder, the showcase and featured users are always incredible.
Creattica allows designers to upload their work for an inspiration showcase, but it’s curated meaning only the better stuff is generally on show. There is an excellent filtering system, which allows you to work with selected budgets, skill types and location so you can easily hide the designers you can’t afford or don’t fit.
Coroflot is a popular hang out for designers and extended creative industries alike. It also allows for filtering by job type and the less-useful ‘years of experience’ – if their work is incredible, who cares how long they’ve been doing it for? Different I guess if you require a fulltime Design manager. Maybe.
There are a lot of designers on Linkedin, but I think many use it for the testimonial feature that works well, as supposed to the connecting. That does bring up a good point, always have a look on their site for previous client reviews or testimonials – if you can’t find any, ask why? Here are my testimonials by the way.
99Designs / 99 Other Crappy Sites
You can find good logo designers on crowdsourcing and sites that force designers to compete, of course you can, but generally the average standard is much lower than the sites listed above. Looking at the work in their portfolios shows an excellent range of clipart on par with the Microsoft stock CD’s from the 90’s – if you need quick logo work with no budget to speak of, 99Designs is definitely an option (I refuse to post a link to them so Google it…)
Ask for suggestions
If you know someone who has just had a rebrand or new website built that you admire, just ask them who they used. They should be happy to refer you, if not, ask why? Ask them how their experience was with said designer – would they hire them again? Were they on-time and professional? I still recommend checking the designer’s portfolio for yourself to make sure the style and skill-type is in line with what you need, because a highly recommended web ninja could be eniterly useless to you as an album cover designer. As before, try asking for designer suggestions on Twitter, if you trust your followers they can prove to be a valuable resource.
Well, that’s the basic places I’d start a search with for a designer, the assumption being that I would find someone incredible probably before the list is out. If there is anywhere else you think I’ve missed feel free to post a url below and I will add it.