6 Red Flags That Warn You Not To Hire A Graphic Designer

6 Red Flags That Warn You Not To Hire A Graphic Designer

Graphic design has become an integral part of businesses over the decade and plays an important role in establishing a brand identity. And it is because of this reason that companies need to make sure that when they hire a graphic designer they are not falling for a wrong candidate. 

But, how to identify an unsuitable candidate when hiring a graphic designer?

Candidates will obviously put their best foot forward and would know how to gloss over any potential shortcomings; which can really come back to sting the employers.

So, in order to save you from any such trouble, we have enlisted 6 common red flags you should take note of while interviewing to hire a graphic designer.


Poor portfolio

Well, we believe this goes even without saying. A properly designed portfolio is the very first thing that any hiring manager would like to check when interviewing a graphic designer.

While shortlisting, if you find a portfolio that is one-tone, has poor typography, has the color palettes missing the mark, or the intended message is not clear, don’t even think twice to delete that portfolio from your pool of resumes.

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Portfolios are not simply meant to showcase skills but also to serve as a “record of growth”. 

As a designer’s skills improve, so does the portfolio. You can trace the trajectory of this growth through the portfolio.

So, a designer with a poor portfolio – or worse, without a portfolio – is telling you two things:

  • The designer doesn’t care enough about their work to create a portfolio. 
  • The designer doesn’t have enough skills to produce a portfolio.

Either of these cases is a massive red flag.

Not present online

Arguably, every professional has an online presence today; even if it is limited only to LinkedIn. And if that profession has anything to do with graphic designing, then having a legitimate online presence is considered to be a must.

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Of course, not every designer you hire – full-time or freelance – needs to have a thriving presence across Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram. However, if you find a resume of a graphic designer who doesn’t have any online footprint at all, consider that as a red flag.

A genuine and professional designer would certainly have a profile on one of the common design communities; such as, Behance, Dribble, etc.

Also, look if they have published tutorials, articles, or thought pieces on design-focused blogs.


Cluttered work

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Every graphic designer, whether experienced or aspiring, understands the importance and nuances of the basic elements of graphic designing. However, if you find a graphic design resume with work samples that does not comply with basic design elements, consider that as a red flag for hiring.

  • Use of multiple fonts
  • Extreme Photoshop effects applied
  • Having no idea about margins
  • Not checking for grammatical errors

If you find the above scenes in a designer’s work sample, reject it right away.

Don’t have relevant questions to ask

So let’s say you are interviewing a candidate for the role of a graphic designer and have asked them if they have any questions regarding the job. If everything ‘design’ is all they have to ask, that’s not a good sign for you.

Confused!? We understand that you’d be thinking, “Won’t a designer ask about design stuff only?”

Well, to be honest, not really. Let us explain!

Yes, a designer should be asking questions related to graphic designing, but if that’s the only thing they have to ask, you are dealing with a very inexperienced candidate.

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What the designer should be asking you about, along with the basics of graphic design existing in your company, is your business. Your vision, your objectives, your ideal clients, your desired conversion and results, etc. It is because moving your business forward and achieving your goals is the most important factor and what makes a project a success.

As a designer, they must understand what the project is, why it is important, what it must achieve, who it must resonate and connect with, and what action it must compel. If they then believe they can help you, only then should they dig into the design specifics; such as colors, typefaces, style preferences, imagery, etc.


Not offering individual design ideas

Apart from the designing skills, a graphic designer is also expected to implement their creative ideas in a project they are working on. If a designer agrees completely on your prospect idea of a business logo design and has no input of their own to add or edit, that’s a clear red flag for your company.

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There’s no doubt about the fact that graphic design is pretty subjective. There is always scope for a change in every assignment.

A professional designer would know when and how to identify a bad design idea and chip in with their thoughts to make it a good one; without making the client feel insulted.

Unable to take criticism

It is not uncommon to see design going under a knife several times before turning out to be what a client wants. It is nearly impossible to find a graphic designer who has never worked on the same assignment more than once; in order to make the changes as asked by the client.

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If you come across a candidate who is not patient enough to provide you with the kind of results you expect from design and gives up easily, that’s a bright red flag right in front of you.

A professional designer would understand the priority of functionality and usability of design over simply being visually appealing.

It’s a common pitfall of a bad graphic designer to place too much emphasis on the design with not enough emphasis on user experience. The entire objective of design is to pull the user in and make them understand what to do and how to do it immediately. If the user can’t figure that out then, the designer did not do their job properly.

To conclude…

The bottom line to this article is not to scare you away from hiring a potentially skilled or trainable candidate but, rather making you aware of what to watch out for when looking to hire a graphic designer.

There is no dearth of good designers available for hire. All you need to do is ask the right set of questions to understand the perception of the candidate.

If you find the designer who understands you, your brand, your audience, and your goals, consider that as a win for your search for a professional graphic designer.

GraphicsZoo offers professional graphic design services across industries. With the help of a team of highly experienced and skilled graphic designers, you can get design projects as expected. For more details, connect with us today at support@graphicszoo.com