Advise me on what kind of graphic designer I should hire?
May 22, 2023 7:59 AM   Subscribe

I don't know what level of professional I should hire. I want someone to create a design templates, and then fill the template with different content for different clients. Should I hire a college grad, an agency, someone on fiver, etc? A graphic designer, or someone else?

I have created a few different data analyses of census data and housing data for municipal clients.

I would like to hire a designer to create templates for each of these products that incorporate our brand and look professional.

Then, each time we sell a product and I generate the data, I'd like someone to combine the data in the template for the client.

Question 1: Is a graphic designer the right job title to help with this, or would it fall under other titles? Would copy-editing be done by a designer, or is that a different job title? Would it be more useful to work with an agency that provides both, or hire them out separately?

Question 2: What might be the range of prices that something like this should cost, for (a) designing the template, and (b) filling the template with data? Does page length matter? What other factors might determine the price?

Question 3: What's a reasonable range of design guidance that I would need to give the designer? Currently working with a recent college grad who can make anything I say come to life on their mac, but I need to decide what it looks like. But I'm not a designer. Is it reasonable to expect the designer to help think through the best way to interpret and display information?
posted by rebent to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Response by poster: Question 4: What kind of difference does it make to hire an individual, an agency, or someone on Fiver?
posted by rebent at 8:01 AM on May 22

Question 1: Yes, a graphic designer would do this. No, graphic designers generally don’t of copy editing. An agency could cover both tasks, but it's going to cost you a lot more.

Question 2: It's going to vary by location. Most people are going to charge by the hour. I suggest against using Fiverr just because there are surely local people who could use the work and who will most likely be more responsive if you need help. Also, no one on Fiverr charges $5 for anything more than extremely basic things. The best way to find out is to send an RFQ to some people.

Question 3: You can give whatever guidance you want, but you should be hiring someone because you like what they do. Everyone has a style, and don't expect a Picasso if you hire Matisse. You should also trust them to do what they're hired to do. If your recent college grad does thing the way you like, then they could be your answer.

Question 4: mainly price, but also ease of access (an agency will probably have some middle man between you and the designer).

Also, you say "Then, each time we sell a product and I generate the data, I'd like someone to combine the data in the template for the client." Ideally, that "someone" is the graphic designer who designed the temple. It's a complete waste of money to hire someone to design a template and then have someone in your office with no graphic design skill fill in the content. No template can cover all possible amounts or types of content, and you you want the whole thing to look good, then you'll most likely need to rely on someone who knows what they're doing.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:30 AM on May 22

Is it reasonable to expect the designer to help think through the best way to interpret and display information?

This is a skill some designers have. "design for the best way to show information" is not the same as, say, "Design for a particular aesthetic" or other kinds of design skills. I'd look for this kind of thing specificially in resumes and portfolios; do not assume even an otherwise-good designer is good at it. I say this from hard-learned lessons with freelance designers on projects where "we need to display complex information" is a key requirement. Some are really good at it; some think they are but are not; some are not great at it and know it. For example, I worked with one who had a really strong aesthetic sense and made really lovely and compelling designs that people just *wanted* to interact with and look at. But they were really, really bad at incorporating nuanced complex data; they kept trying to throw away large segments of it even though everybody involved would have preferred a denser, "harder to read" but more complete information set.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:49 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]

If you want a sort of guided DIY approach to this, I have seen many smaller organizations use Canva for this kind of work.
posted by rachelpapers at 8:50 AM on May 22

Seconding everything jonathanhughes wrote.

For Question 2, my experience with agencies has been that they prefer to charge for the project based on a defined scope and deliverable (design for x number of templates, with y number of revisions, etc) and then have an hourly rate that applies if/when the project scope is exceeded.

Also to Question 3 & 4: if you work with a more experienced designer, or if you go with a good agency, you'll need to do less handholding than with your recent college grad. Part of their skill will be in asking you the right questions about your tastes and requirements to come up with creative ideas, presenting you a few mockup options, and narrowing down from there. If done right, they should pull the needed info from you, you should not have to push it onto them. The more effectively you communicate with them, the fewer revisions will be required, and the less you'll have to spend.

And, you didn't ask this, but given your description of the product, are you sure it isn't an app of some kind? Another advantage of talking with an agency (at least one with some experience in digital/web/coding/etc) is that they might be able to give an opinion on whether it'd be effective to automate the data rendering step.
posted by hovey at 8:52 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]

Question 1: Yes, a graphic designer is what most people who would do this job would call themselves. Some designers can do some copy editing, and for some, this isn't their strong suit. If this is a large job, yes, an agency might be the right fit, but it will be pretty expensive.

Question 2: It's hard to estimate a price without knowing much about the project (length, complexity, how similar each project will be once the template is created). Most clients who want a 'template' don't realize that most of the subsequent projects won't quite fit into that original template perfectly. There's always additional work needed. Yes, page length absolutely matters. Your designer might offer you 2-3 samples for the initial setup from which you choose what direction you'd like to go in. If it were me, I might do this for a flat fee, then charge hourly for the subsequent projects.

Question 3: It's up to you and how much you want to micro-manage your designer. Some clients need to feel like they're making the design choices, and some clients want to be hands-off. If you can give the designer rough guidelines, like branding standards or colors or fonts, or examples of other flyers you like, that will make their job easier, and thus quicker to get to a point where you're both happy. If you're working with a younger designer, they may need more hand-holding, but that will probably be reflected in their price. It's up to you to decide to spend time or money on the project.

Question 4: A lot of that depends again on how much time you want to spend managing the projects. An experienced designer can save you time while Fiverr might save you money.

Feel free to memail me if you're looking for additional info. I do this for a living.
posted by hydra77 at 11:03 AM on May 22

I'm a writer and a designer and researcher, so thanks for helping me figure out my next career niche by asking this question!

I support hydra77's answers, but be aware that if you are also asking them to create an original style/branding guide for the content, that's an additional project task for them to create since it would require making a graphics standard and a folio. In addition, interpreting research and writing work for visual communication design is also an additional task that would need to be compensated. It's best to work with one person and then hire them to retain for subsequent projects -- I am currently a regular contractor for a client of mine and I am deeply involved with multiple steps of the project in updating and designing new information, both visual and written word wise. I have a multi-disciplinary academic and work background in humanities, social sciences, and design, for reference.
posted by yueliang at 2:27 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]

Because you want to present data, you should look for a designer skilled in information design.
posted by NotLost at 10:29 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]

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