Best practice for finding a designer?
July 16, 2012 6:11 AM   Subscribe

I have a somewhat popular blog that I'm hoping to develop further, and I need to find some designers. I need a WordPress theme designer for the website as well as a cover designer and an interior designer for a book. What's the best way to go about this?

I can seek candidates through word of mouth or by browsing similar projects, but these methods seem rather random; they'll help me find a competent designer but not necessarily an inspired match (ideally, someone with both a suitable style and an active interest in the material).

If you love your designer, how did you find her? If you're a designer yourself, how did your favorite projects come to you? Thanks.
posted by futility closet to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Could you post a job listing on your blog? That should get some people who are interested in the subject matter reading it, and then you can view their portfolios.

There's Mefi.Jobs. You might have luck looking through Dribbble for a suitable candidate. You should get a good idea of his or her style there.

You may be looking for two people - a designer, who can handle the book and the look of the website, and then a wordpress developer to turn the design into a functioning website.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:22 AM on July 16, 2012

a cover designer and an interior designer for a book

"Interior designers" are for houses. The term you want is graphic designer or for a specialist, a book designer, and one person can design both the cover and the page layout.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:03 AM on July 16, 2012

I would recommend looking for a designer/developer for the site, or at least make sure your designer has experience designing websites. There's a big difference between designing for print media and interactive media.

Use MeFi jobs (where I'll probably apply), FreelanceSwitch, or just get in touch with designers who've done websites you like.

Almost every single one of my web projects that came through word of mouth recommendations, and I believe that's the case for almost everyone I've spoken to. The fact that it's almost solely kept me fed and under a roof for a couple of years now shows that it's probably the best way of finding someone good.
posted by Magnakai at 9:06 AM on July 16, 2012

If you love your designer, how did you find her? If you're a designer yourself, how did your favorite projects come to you?

From one direction, I met my favorite graphic designer by volunteering for a local cause for whom he was doing pro bono work. It then turned out that we had frighteningly similar tastes in super-obscure music, and we became dear friends as well as collaborators. So one method (which is neither scientific nor expedient) is just to go exploring among the interests in your life. Designers these days are legion; you've probably got a six-degrees-or-fewer connection to a few good ones already. That's one way to find a designer with whom you can bond on a more inspirational level.

From the other direction, I've hired people by finding work I like out there on the Web and asking them to work with me. There are no guarantees about being a good match personality-wise from this method, just aesthetically.

I can see why you might prefer someone with an active interest in the material - because who doesn't like to work with other people who appreciate your work? - but trying to find that exact person might slow you down a bit. Any designer worth their salt will take all of your aesthetic concerns and goals into consideration, so a certain degree of active engagement with the material would be part of that. Best to find a professional, thoughtful, and conscientious designer who can help translate your ideas to print than to worry too much about synchronicity, I'd say. Unless what you really want is a collaborator.
posted by mykescipark at 9:07 AM on July 16, 2012

I met the incredible book designers of Mcguire-Barber Design (highly, highly recommended) through Flickr, of all places.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:43 PM on July 16, 2012

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