If you haven’t experienced it yourself, you’ve probably heard horror stories about trying to find or work with a graphic designer. It’s tough, time-consuming, and frustrating, to say the least, but in all honesty, it’s no different than any other career. Think about how some people would feel if they had to work with some of your competitors.

You need to assess some basics first – essentials in any industry. Are your potential designers meeting you on time? Do they respect your employees or treat them with indifference? Did they do their homework before coming? Once you’ve got the basics down, your list of potential designers can be much smaller. Now you can start searching for something more specific to our industry.

Demos – Everything from the way a designer dresses to the way they package their samples will tell you something about them. Check out their clothes, but avoid basing your opinion on your personal fashion preferences. Instead, look for details that tell you how much effort they put into their appearance. Clean shoes are a good sign of someone who pays attention to detail. Nail clipping is another case. You should also ensure that the work presented in their portfolio is correct. Although these may seem like small details, they will go a long way in determining the attention the designer has given to the details of the project.

Get ready – is your designer running to your office door, chasing his windswept files through the parking lot, or is he walking confidently to your door with materials in hand? Did he come with a pen and a notebook? This is important unless you want to spend a lot of time later reminding them of the many things you said to them. A designer who is unprepared for the first meeting will approach day-to-day business no differently. Perspectives – Everyone sees the world differently and people with similar perspectives work better together. With that in mind, it’s important to find a designer who shares your beliefs. Your ad for your multi-million dollar SUV dealership will never get amazing results as long as you use a designer who believes all companies are archbishops destroying society for a dollar. If your stylist doesn’t understand where you’re coming from, they’ll never be able to tell your prospects.

Portfolio – This is a classic case of “size doesn’t matter – its how you use it!” If you’re considering a designer, if you fire a designer because you have a small portfolio, you’re probably going to fail. A designer with a three-piece suit and a three-inch-thick wallet isn’t necessarily the man for the job. Maybe the girl without a college degree who completed a nine-page portfolio at home is more for you. The most important thing is quality. The designers who bring all of this in may not be able to decide what to show and what not to show, which could mean they have the same problem conveying a clear message to your audience.