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How to Hire a Graphic Designer to Visualise Your Brand


In my last two articles I spoke about the importance of developing a brand and how to go about defining your brand.

Well in this article I will talk about how to hire a graphic designer to visualise your brand. We’lll look at how we turned our brand concept and ideas into a visual identity and a concept for our website design.

The importance of hiring a good Graphic Designer

You will recall how I suggested that you should not skimp on hiring a graphic designer – you should hire the best you can afford.

Now, for many of you just starting out in business, that might actually not be a lot of money.

But don’t be downhearted as there a couple of things you can consider, without breaking the bank in the process.

Obviously the first thing to consider if you have little funds available is whether you can do it yourself?

Well, if you are suitably creative and believe you can produce something that looks suitably professional, sure give it a go – but always always always, get someone else’s honest opinion on it – you really can’t afford to get this part wrong – this is the foundation of your business.

However, there are other ways if you are not creative – did you know, for example, that many countries offer direct support to entrepreneurs setting up new businesses?

Sources of Funding for New Business

The first thing to consider is Grant funding.

Most local governmental authorities will have a department whose sole purpose is to help establish new businesses to help boost the local economy.

In many cases these same authorities will offer “startup” or “grant” funding to help assist new companies get off the ground.

Contact your local authority, local chamber of commerce or your local business advice centre to see what help and assistance is available to you.

In the United Kingdom, the government has setup a website specifically to offer assistance to new companies which you can find at

In the USA the Small Business Advisory service gives some advice here but you really need to contact your local City Hall to see what local sources might be available.

Australia has a similar support program and website which can be found here

Usually any grant funding or support will require you to work with an authorised Graphic Designer in your local area, and the funding provider will guide you in this respect.

What if you can’t get local Grant funding?

No Grant funding or Support – Don’t worry, the Global Internet Economy is on your side!

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that it has made the entire globe your marketplace – especially as a buyer of services.

Websites which help you find services from freelancers are now very well established. - Get more done with freelancersMy personal preference for finding a good graphic designer for your business is was created from the merger of two separate “freelance finder” websites – and

Upwork allows you to post a request for help and Freelancers can then contact you with their quotation and links to their portfolio, resume and any previous reviews/recommendations.

Upwork acts as an intermediary or “Escrow” and handles the payment of your chosen freelancer, releasing funds to the freelancer only once you agree the work (or part of the work – known as a milestone) has been done.

How do I hire a Freelancer on

Hire a freelance graphic designer on upwork.comWell first things first, you need to create a free account on

You can sign in with an existing account or with your email address.

Once registered, you can post the details of your job.

But before you rush in, it’s important to have the details of your job properly specified, including what you expect to receive (the deliverables) and your budget range.

Here is a copy of the Job Posting we loaded on when we were looking for our Graphic Designer.

Job Title (“Name your job posting”)

Branding/Design required for new online venture focusing on Small Business/Entrepreneurs

Job Description (“Describe the work to be done”)

We are looking for a talented designer to develop our brand for a new online venture focusing on delivering assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

We are looking for a creative designer to provide a branding concept for the corporate logo/color scheme and some ideas for the website look and feel.

Branding needs to be powerful, professional and authoritative.

The website will be based around a blog concept, but will build up to become a knowledge bank for small businesses looking to establish a presence online quickly using strong marketing and SEO techniques.

The site will also appeal to entrepreneurs looking for ways to develop a passive income online via Internet Marketing (IM) and affiliate marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The final site will be WordPress based and built using Genesis Framework, so should be adaptable to a Responsive web design layout. Please note this job is for the branding/design schema ONLY – the actual implementation of the design into the web will be a separate project/job posting.

Attention to detail is very important to us – so please quote “project pool” in your application.

Key deliverables:-

  • Corporate Logo
  • Branding guidelines/schema
  • Website home page design/layout framework
  • All graphics supplied with all layers/editable and ready for use by Web designer

Immediate start

Ideally pricing will be based on the complete project, and we are looking for a fairly fast delivery/turnaround.

This is a one-off project with a budget of $250-$500

Please provide examples of similar work in your portfolio and details of when you can start

The Freelance Hiring Process

At this point you can upload any files that might help the potential freelancer understand your job requirement in more detail.

You also need to indicate if this is a one-time project or ongoing, and whether you want to hire one freelancer or many. In our case, this was a one-time project looking for one freelancer.

You can also optionally indicate key skills (tags) that will help match potential freelancers to your job.

As we were looking for a graphic designer, the skills that we tagged our job posting with were Adobe Photoshop, Graphic Design, Logo Design and Website wireframing.

Our budget for this was $250 to $500.

Now at the time I felt this budget was too low, but it was based on searching previous job postings, and also based on my previous knowledge of oversees freelance markets (I currently have a team of three full-time virtual assistants, all based overseas)

What happens once your job posting goes live.

Very quickly, freelancers will start contacting you via the upwork platform – they will usually have a short covering email and a link to their specific proposal with a price for the job.

You should expect a wide range of abilities, so check the proposals carefully.

You should check to see how many upwork jobs the freelancer has worked on before. What is the completion level? How do the reviews from previous clients read? What about the review he/she has left for clients – you can tell a lot about how professional a business is by reading these.

I recommend contacting a shortlist of the three most suitable freelancers and asking them for specific referrals for work done similar to what you are asking for.

Also give the freelancer the opportunity to let you know if he needs any further information and confirm what his bid is.

Then and only then, you can hire your freelancer.

On upwork, you can then decide if the payment for the job should be released in one stage, or if there are project “milestones” or stages where you can release part of the funds – this makes sense for projects worth $500 or above as you are effectively paying your freelancer as he progresses through the project rather than waiting on the entire project being completed. uses its own messaging system to handle the communication between you and the freelancer – the system is very robust and designed for handling large files.

What should I expect to receive from a Graphic Designer?

This is defined as your “deliverables” and you need to clearly state your expectations here.

In our case, we defined our deliverables as follows:-

  • Corporate Logo
  • Branding guidelines/schema
  • Website home page design/layout framework
  • All graphics supplied with all layers/editable and ready for use by Web designer

Here’s what we received:-

The Logo


This was supplied in multiple formats and in an editable Photoshop file, so that if in the future we need to make any changes we can.

Branding Guidelines


This document was supplied in the form of a PDF document – you can see our branding document here

Website home page design/layout framework

Now remember, we are hiring a graphic designer, not a website designer, so the documents we receive are simply a design concept that I can give to a web designer to implement.

Here is one of the page designs that our graphic designer sent us – click on the image to see the full size file. As you will see it’s not a million miles away from our final design that made it to the website.


All graphics supplied with all layers editable

The images above are what is called in the design and photographic industries as “flat jpeg” files – and without boring you with too much detail, this simply means that they are not fully editable.

Therefore you need to ask your designer for fully editable files that either you or other designers working on your project can make changes to, if required.

It also allows them to access all the specific design elements that make up the final design – e.g. they can extract the individual pictures from the web background without the overlaying text; they can edit the text; they can extract the individual buttons and alter their characteristics if necessary.

The files supplied will typically be any or all the following formats:-

PSD -Adobe Photoshop files

AI – Adobe Illustrator

EPS – Encapsulated Postscript

How do I handle payments to my designer on Upwork?

As mentioned earlier, you can either pay in one payment, or assign payments to milestones or stages in the project.

If you are paying in one payment, this would have been taken by when you hired the contractor and held in “escrow” until you agree the job is complete.

If you are paying in stages, the first payment would have been taken at the start and as you progress onto the next milestone, Upwork will then release the previous stage payment to the freelancer and request the next payment for you to hold in escrow again.

It’s a very fair and safe system to use and I can highly recommend it.

So let’s recap on the process of how to hire a graphic designer

In this article we spoke about:-

  1. Potential local sources of funding towards your branding project
  2. Using the global freelance market via sites like
  3. Creating a job posting on Upwork
  4. Ensuring your job specification is clear with clear expectations on both sides and a clear set of deliverables
  5. What to expect from your freelance graphic designer
  6. How payments are handled

In our next article we will be discussing how to choose the correct platform for your website – this is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, get it wrong and you will live to regret it!

Find out how to choose the correct website platform


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