I often get asked if I am taking on design projects, at the moment I'm not. But, I do have some insanely talented designer friends and colleagues who you should consider hiring! Read on for a list of local designers, a few other ideas for how to find designers, as well as some tips for first time clients. If you are looking for a botanical, watercolor illustration for your logo or website that is similar to my style you know how to find me!
Best of luck!
Designer & Illustrator & Letterer
Lin is a good friend of mine and she's crazy talented! We met working at Mutual Mobile. Her services include illustration, branding, lettering, infographics, web design, and more! She created some amazing isometric illustrations for Corva Ai, a drilling company, and I love the iOS stickers she created for TexMessages.
Designer & Illustrator & Letterer
I met Corey through AIGA at an illustration workshop. She's a lot of fun and her style is awesome! I love the work she did for Paper Craft Pantry, a local paper shop meets collaborative space. She also helped design a travel notebook for the modern day explorer called Adventure Assist.
Designer & Illustrator & Virtual Reality / 3D / Projection Artist
Topher is an old friend, we met my first year in college back in 2006! We share a love for illustration and even traveled together to LA by train to attend the Illustration Conference. I'm a big fan of the branding he developed for the Mermaid Society and the illustration he made for the Roger's Family Tourism Award.
Anastasia Casey | The Identité Collective
Branding & Web Design Studio
I just discovered Anastasia and haven't met her in person, although I'd love to! She creates beautiful branding and strategic websites for female business owners. I'm in love with the work she did for the amazing baker Danaë who runs Feathers & Frosting, as well as the branding she completed for The Refinery, a new creative coworking and event space.
American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) is another great resource for finding creatives. There is an Austin Chapter and for a fee you can post to their job board.
This is a closed Facebook Group for the Austin area with over 6,000 members. You can post a job here for free! Before you ask to join, read their guidelines.
First Time Client?
Congrats! It’s awesome that you are ready to take your business to the next level by partnering with a designer. The experience can be even more rewarding when you know you are supporting a local, self-employed creative! Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when reaching out to a designer for the first time:
Look at local businesses you admire and analyze their websites and logos. If you find designs you like that align with what you are looking for, chances are you can figure out who their designer was! You can reach out to that business owner and ask or even do a little Googling, you may be able to figure it out on your own. Sometimes businesses leave the contact information of the designers they work with in the footer of their website or in an FAQ or about section.
When searching for designers, examine their portfolios carefully. Only reach out to designers who's style of work aligns closely to the vision you have for your project. Refer to previous projects the designers has completed as inspiration for what you are looking for with your project. Designers love that! It shows that you respect their body of work and have an idea of what the outcome of working with that designer might be. I illustrate plants and animals 90% of the time and my paintings are small. When people look at my work, compliment me, and then ask for a giant family portrait I'm bewildered because my portfolio doesn't showcase that type of work.
Designers often list on their contact pages how they want new clients to reach out. Some like phone calls, some like email, some have contact forms. Avoid directly messaging designers through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels. They may miss your message altogether, unless, of course, this is their preferred means of communication.
When you contact designers via email, give them details about your project. Be specific and concise. What is your business? How did you get started doing what you are doing? Why are you reaching out to a designer now? What are you looking for? Logo? Website? Packaging? Do you need consulting to help determine what you need? What's your timeline? Do you have a budget? You don't have to know all of that right away but it's very unlikely that a designer can give you a quote without knowing some of this information first.
Quality design work takes time. There are many steps between kicking off a project and getting the final designs. Every designer will have a different process but expect the turnaround time for your project to be longer than you think. Some of these steps are: mood boarding, sketches, roughs, design iterations, color palettes, typography decisions, and lots of communication in the form of email, calls, and coffee dates. Designers often have a queue of projects they are working through, so there could be some time before they can official start work on your project.
Quality design work costs money. It's worth every cent! A user friendly website and an enticing, cohesive brand can help your business grow, it can make clients and customers feel respected and at ease. Think of paying for design work as an investment for your business. Plus, you can expense it!
It's common for designers to use contracts, this protects both of you. They also enforce transparency and open communication between both parties upfront, always a good thing!
Many designers will ask for a payment plan, something like 50% of the total up front and 50% at the end.
Every designer works differently! These tips emerged from my experiences as a freelance designer and illustrator as well as through the experiences shared with me from my creative friends and colleagues.
Most importantly trust both your gut and your designer's and enjoy the process! Cheers!