Hiring Graphic Design Personnel is a Pain the #$%*!

agenda-1355316_960_720_TGDThis article is the first in a series of three I named Graphic Design is a Pain in the #$%*! The purpose of this article is to have an online discussion about transforming graphic design woes to wows. I’d like this to be a forum where we offer possible solutions to each other.


Small design agencies and in-house graphics departments have it tough. You don’t have enough steady income to hire the number of full-time employees you need who specialize in all areas of graphic design. You may only have one person who, when you interviewed him, said he can do everything. But when the $20,000 print project needed to be reprinted at your cost you started to realize that this might not be working.

So you tried to come up with solutions. You decided to hire freelancers to fill in the gaps. The first one worked great… for about a year… until she left in anger and frustration at 10am, in the middle of a big project. Then the mad scramble. “Who do I know? Who do they know?” After six frantic LinkedIn/Facebook/text messages and two phone calls, the second freelancer appears and he’s worked really well for the past year and a half. But he’s starting to get grumbly too.

When you imagined your business in your mind’s eye you saw yourself collaborating with beautiful people, creating stunning work that everyone is super proud of. Instead, you’re working 20 extra hours a week micromanaging everything that comes in or out of your design department. You are unhappy and stressed! How did it get to be this way?!

Then you start thinking, “How amazing would it be to find that perfect graphic designer?” You know, that one person who sees things exactly like you do, works for $30,000 a year or $30 per hour, does award-winning graphic design, as well as web programming, print production, video, 3D animation… and illustration!

If you’ve been in business five or more years you already know this extra special designer is very rare and hard to find. You may have to have four or five different designers on your roster.

The trouble is, you probably don’t have enough work to keep even on graphic designer on staff. What I mean is, the amount of work you’re offering her/him will only pay a portion of their monthly expenses. So these designers you hire will have to have other clients which means they aren’t beholden to you. This doesn’t totally work.

How do these small agencies and in-house graphic design departments get their design needs met without paying more than they’re able to?

As a graphic designer who freelances and works with her own clients to pay the bills, I don’t know what the answers are. All I can offer you is what I’ve tried — but I’m not sure it’s working. I’m looking for your solutions. 

Please comment below.

The next article is Getting Paid Your Real Value as a Graphic Designer is a Pain in the #$%*!

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