small business graphic design Sydney

Find the perfect graphic designer for your small business

If only there was a tinder to connect designer and client. There’s thousands of designers, and thousands of design jobs that need doing, so how do you go about finding the perfect graphic designer for your small business?

Here’s some ideas to get you started on the path to the perfect fit.

5 things to ask yourself, 5 places to begin the search and 5 things to ask the shortlist.

Before you begin, arm yourself with a bit of knowledge about your own style of working and what you are looking for. Things to ask yourself:

1. What is my budget

Doing a new brand, visual identity, logo design or website is a bit like putting in a new kitchen. You need someone to guide you but there are many options along the way that can make a big difference to the overall cost. Have an idea in mind of what you would like to invest at this point in time on your businesses visual presence. That way you can quickly cut to the quick with some ballpark costs and see whether you are in a good price bracket fit with the designer you are keen on. No designer will like to quote off the cuff, it takes time and thought to give a proper estimate, however many will be able to give you ballparks of what some previous jobs cost, or what a standard job might look like and cost, without too much drama.

2. Do I prefer to work with a team or a single person

There’s pros and cons here. When a single person gets sick, or has a bottleneck of work, there is only one person to handle it, whereas a team may be more reliable overall. However, if you’re working with a team, you’re not really 100% sure the person you talked to at the beginning is going to be the one doing the designs.

3. Do I prefer to meet in person or is remote okay?

Are you a talker or a writer? Is it important that your designer come to see your factory, your home, your office, or can you work via skype and the wonderful internet. For example – I’m based in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and I have clients all over the world, as well as locally. For some of my local clients it is really important that I see their workspace, meet their staff, touch the product, and we meet in person regularly. For some of my clients skype and email is enough, and the different time zone and currency often works in their favour (thanks to the Australian dollar!). Nothing like sending a brief before you go to bed and waking up to some shiny new designs to look at.

4. Is the subtlety of language and culture important to my brand, do I need someone who ‘get’s the language and nuances of my niche?

Some designers will cut and paste whatever you give them, and some will read the text and use their design skills to really make the content sing – pulling out important pieces, highlighting when something doesn’t make sense and going the extra mile to communicate your message through all of the design avenues available to them. Is this important to your brand?

5. Timeframe – do you have a deadline that you need to hit?

This may become an important factor in your selection, and if it’s a concrete deadline best to communicate it right at the beginning.

Right – now you are ready to start looking. Some ideas on where to start:
1. Word of mouth.

Ask your friends, partner, colleagues, you’d be surprised how effective this is. Someone always seems to know a designer…

2. Other designs you have seen that you like.

If you see a packaging design, an EDM, a website, a business card that you think looks great – ask the business who did their design.

3. Google – probably not the most effective way, but if you narrow down your search terms you might get closer to finding a good fit.

For example, if you decided location was important to you, and you wanted a designer in Sydney – be as specific as possible with your search (eg health and wellbeing brands graphic design Sydney eastern suburbs). Not just Sydney graphic designer.

4. Behance, pinterest, instagram.

All of these are visual mediums showcasing, among other things, a lot of design work. You’re likely to see something you like – and then see point 2 – get in touch!

5. Awwwards.

If a website is what you are after, definitely check out awwwards – if nothing else, it will get you inspired about what is possible for your site, and it also has a handy directory of web designers and developers.


By now you will have a short list. Yesterday one of my clients asked me these questions, which I thought were a fantastic way of getting to know me a bit better and seeing if we would be a good fit working together. Have a look at what you found important from the first list, and then consider asking the shortlisted designers or agencies:

1. What do people most like about working with you?
2. Why do your clients choose you over the competition?
3. Do you outsource any of the work or do you do it all yourself?
4. Do you maintain the sites you’ve designed after the site launches? If so, what does that entail? If not, what do you recommend?
5. How do you handle a client if they’re not happy with the work, e.g. don’t love the designs?



Good luck in your quest!


the barefoot designer

online business tips getting started graphic design sydney

My Top 10 resources When Starting Your New Business

Starting a new business can be daunting. There’s a million things to do, and all of a sudden you need to become marketer, administrator, accountant, designer, product manager as well as CEO!

At Label I often find myself working with amazing individuals in this position and the good news is, there are lots of resources out there to help you become the Jack of all these trades, and even the master of them, that you need to be. That is, until your business takes off and you can hire other people to do the things you’d rather not do, of course. Before you bust out the champagne at your launch drinks, these might come in handy…


 1. Get some clarity on your ‘why’

discover your why starting a new business sydney easter suburbs


This is a Ted Talk from Simon Sinek on Discovering Your Why. We start off most of our branding workshops with this inspirational talk to get into a great headspace for creating a brand and a business that really speaks to people.


2. Get inspired with some great free business mentoring

starting a new business sydney eastern suburbs graphic design inspiration

Marie is witty, entertaining and easy to watch and her insights into small businesses are really worth taking time out to hear. Her site has a heap of free video content, and if you’re hooked and want to shell out for some more structured coaching, her online course ‘The Copy Cure’ is also something I recommend.


 3. Check out the Shopify Blog – it’s not just for Shopify Users.

shopify starting new business sydney eastern suburbs graphic design


From starting your site, to shipping, to marketing – the Shopify Blog has a huge amount of concise, relevant, searchable content sure to assist you with starting your online presence, even if you don’t use Shopify.


4. Get your visual inspiration on with Pinterest!

sydney graphic design eastern suburbs branding visual identity

Finally, some ‘work’ you can do from the comfort of your lounge while watching netflix! When you are starting out you will likely want to look around at other companies branding, both your competitors and just for inspiration to help drill down on the kind of visual identity you want to convey. As well as being a great resource for searching and looking for inspiration, pinterest makes it easy to collect your inspiration in one place (and then you have a hnady reference for your graphic designer when you end up briefing them).

To get you started, have a look at Label’s ‘identity’ board by clicking on the image above. Follow us on Pinterest for regular inspiration straight to your own personalised feed.


5. Find your Domain Name.

When you are looking at a name for your shiny new business, as well as being registered as business names, also check to see whether the domain name is taken:

You can search in lots of places online, like Crazy Domains, here. 


6. Boo, If The Domain Name You Wanted is Taken …

This business name generator from Shopify can be helpful if you find a name you like, but it is taken and you want to look at ‘similar’ options.

Shopify’s Business Name Generator (it’s really a domain name ideas generator, but patatoes potatoes)


7. For some research into who owns that domain name you wanted

If you find that the domain name you wanted is taken, but there is no live site on the address, you may want to look up who it is registered to – to see whether they are based in a similar geographic area to you or are likely to surface as a competitor at some stage. ‘Who is’ enables you to look up who is the registered owner of the domain in question.

Take me to Who is.


8. It’s time to start a website!

Once you have a business name, know what you are doing and are starting to look at creating your online presence, you may want to look at some wordpress themes. From wordpress themes, to vector graphics, stock photography and stock music, the envato marketplace is a great one stop shop to get the resources you need without having to sign up for an ongoing subscription.

sydney graphic design studio build a website



9. And make some money.

If you have to do any sort of estimating, Qwilr is a quick easy way to create a beautiful looking estimate. I also use Harvest, Evernote and Asana – but the key takeaway here is, no matter what the task, there is likely a cloud based free or subscription out there that can help you automoate it.


10. Google Analytics. Don’t leave it for your marketing team.

If you really want to understand how your website is functioning, I strongly advise getting a good understanding of google analytics from the get go. It’s not rocket science to get a grasp of the basics, and if you leave it to the marketing professionals, it might be a year until you start taking notice. You can sign up for a free account and read about the basics before you even have a website. Then from the very first day you launch you can start tracking your visitors and their behaviour.

starting a new business tips



But Don’t forget the boring bits.

Domain name, check, business name not taken, check – you are almost ready to register your business name – but make sure you get some professional legal and accounting advice first. You’ll need legal advice to help structure your contracts and business insurance to cover you for things that may go wrong along the way. You will need professional advice on legal and trading names, and the way you structure your business financially. Whether it be a company or a trust, and which state it is registered in will affect the way you pay tax and can have a big impact on your bottom line.

This is just the beginning of the amazing resources out there when starting your new business. If you have any of your own time saving resources you’d like to share, or good or bad experiences with any of the ones I mentioned above, we’d love to know – share in the comments below.

Until next time!