A guest post by David Blackburn from Marketing Quotes.

Great design can make or break a business, the first thing your customers will see could make them feel impressed and inspired, or make them look elsewhere to your competitors.

Very often companies can rush into getting a design or brand set up.  Time is normally of the essence and as time is money mistakes can be made in haste.

A quick checklist has been compiled that could save time tears and trouble:

1. Research

Have a look at different designers, look through portfolios and see what you like.  Get the opinions of others, what looks good to you may not look good to others, so getting the opinions of others for designers you like the look of is a wise move.  Have a browse through designers portfolios, check out the range of their expertise.  Creative designers like to showcase the range of their work as they are proud of it.

2. Budget

What is the budget you have to allocate to your design/brand.  Be realistic, if you are approaching a top design agency with a small budget then you are wasting their time and yours.  Great design does not have to cost the earth, but it does take some searching for.

If you are working to a budget, perhaps approaching the project in bite size stages could be best; spreading the cost over a few months of design to allow you to get the best designer possible but giving them the time to work on your campaign.

3. Competitors

What are your competitors doing?  How are they presenting themselves, what angle are they taking and what is working for them.  With design and branding, fitting into the industry/market is important, but so is standing out in the crowd.  Great designers know how to get the balance of making you fit in, yet stand out.

4. Timescale

Honesty is the best policy; once you have found the designer you like the look of you need to be honest about the timescales they have to work with.  Most great designers are in demand, and they will need to fit you in.  If a designer has lots of spare capacity and free time, the question needs to be asked as to why.

Designers cannot be expected to come up with award winning designs for you if they only have a couple of weeks to research, design, and produce ideas (which then would need to be reviewed by you and whittled down).  Sometimes taking a bit more time will pay dividends rather than rushing in like a bull in a china shop.

5. Partnership

Relationship is the key to business, if you have a close relationship with your designer then all the better.  Not to say that you need to go around for meals with the family; but having a close working relationship will only add value to your finished product.  For you to understand how they work (as designers are creative creatures thought to come from a different planet) and how they understand you (do they really know your business and market place) and your objectives.

By following these practical guidelines you should be able to find the right designer for your project.  The world is well stocked with graphic designers, of all shapes and sizes; local, national and global.  Choosing a designer based on their ideas, creative skill and background is more important than choosing someone local or cheap.

Marketing Quotes Is a free resource to help UK businesses get help and advice from local graphic designers.