Are you someone who’s clueless about color schemes, doesn’t understand aspect ratios or how typography affects design? What’s more, it’s that time of the year when you’re looking to hire a graphic designer for your business and that’s already giving you the jitters.

From the interview questions to evaluating one’s work, hiring designers without being a designer yourself can get intimidating. Don’t worry, your design knowledge (or lack of it) has got not that much to do with the hiring process. Here are five practical tips to hire the right graphic designer for your company, with confidence.

Browse Through Examples of Good Design

While not everyone has an eye for design, it certainly isn’t something you cannot inculcate.

As a start-up founder, you have to educate yourself on the basics of design and know how to differentiate between bad design and good design.

Before you get down to hiring, it’s a good idea to read some inspiring design platforms and blogs and understand the basic principles of graphic designing. Some design blogs you can get interested in include Adobe Create Magazine, Inspiration Grid, Muzli, Canva blog, Icons8 Blog, as well as design showcase platforms like Behance and Dribbble.

behance ui

Behance design platform

This will help you write better briefs, give concrete feedback and have more clarity on what you’re looking for.

Draft a Clear and Detailed Job Description

Writing a clear and detailed job description applies to any role but how do you articulate your expectations from a role when you don’t know much about it.

From the job title to the skills required and responsibilities – you have to be very clear with your expectations. Here are a few questions you can consider while working on the job description:

  • What graphics or collaterals are they expected to work on? (eg. social media posts, advertisements, GIFs, brochures, etc.)
  • What tools do they need to be proficient in? (eg. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)
  • What will their daily duties be?
  • Would you prefer they have experience in the same industry as yours?
  • How many years of experience should they have?
  • Do they need to have copywriting skills too?
  • What soft skills should they have? (eg. self-motivated, organized, etc.)

Make the job description as detailed as possible, in order to hook the reader and attract the right talent.

Review the Candidate’s Portfolio (and Know What To Assess)

With designers, resumes are secondary – what takes precedence is their design portfolio which will help you understand the kind of work they’ve done. So, in the job description, always ask the candidate for a link to their portfolio.

Now, the question is – how do you evaluate a graphic designer’s portfolio?

While it’s easy to get swayed by how ‘pretty’ a design is, an effective design needs to clearly communicate the message and solve a problem – that’s the lens you need to review portfolios.

Apart from that, also look at the overall aesthetics – what are the colors and fonts used? Is it cluttered or is there enough breathing space? Is it giving out a clear message?

Another aspect to pay attention to is how versatile the candidate is – has he/she only worked in one particular industry or one format? What is the breadth of their work?

Assessing portfolios gets easier when you know what elements you need to look at.


A glance at the Dribbble portfolio page: you may check skills, ways to connect, team, styles, etc.

Ask Them to Take You Through Some of Their Work

So, you’ve finally shortlisted on a few candidates whose work stood out. Great, it’s time to interview them now.

One of the most important exercises you should do is have them you through their favorite pieces of work. Doing this gives you context, helps you understand their thought process and if they managed to achieve the goal they set out to achieve.

It’s also a good idea to ask them what their design process is from start to finish. Try to understand how they read design briefs, what their research and brainstorming process is like, how do they sketch concepts and build on them.

Give Them a (Paid) Design Exercise

You’ve seen their work and you’ve heard them speak about it. In order to be certain about your decision, you can also give shortlisted candidates a paid trial assignment.

Doing this lets you truly evaluate whether the candidate lives up to his/her portfolio and claims. Use this assignment to understand their work ethic and their ability to adhere to briefs and timelines.

Be sure to give them a clear brief stating your target audience, call-to-action, and the format you want it in. It’s advisable to include some best-case examples or references to make your expectations clearer.

logo design psychology

Illustration by Ouch

Wrong hiring decisions are expensive so you rather go the extra mile and be doubly sure of hiring the right designer for your business.

Follow these five simple tactics and you’ll see that hiring a graphic designer does not have to be an overwhelming process. So, go ahead and start your hunt.

About the author: Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Title image from Pale pack on Ouch, free vector library 

Learn more about UX designers’ job, review the tips on how to become a graphic designer, and get a list of 20+ graphic design tools

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