How do you pick a graphic designer? My advice is checkout several. Don't ask them to do free work (i.e., make a pitch for you or show you 'what they can do'). Instead, check out their portfolio. This is going to tell whether or not you like their style. Don't let anyone convince you they can do something - let them show you that they already have.
Once work begins, they should extensively ask about your business goals with the project and about your audience needs.
Know the difference between an artist and a graphic designer.
The difference between an artist that paints a canvas for example, and a graphic designer is:
- An artist expresses themselves and makes something beautiful.
- A a graphic designer solves a communication problem via graphics. They need to know your audience. Their end result might not be beautiful if beautiful is not the end need (e.g., and emergency exit map should stand out with bold colors - not blend in beautifully...)
Side Note: Graphic designers are artists though and they do have a particular style. You need to research this style via their portfolio when you hire them and then you need to trust their artistic instinct (after all, that's what you hired them for!). There is nothing sadder then a client that is bailing out a lot of money and insists on using a color or font that looks, well terrible.
Here are my a couple graphics that the designer (or lack there of) did not consider the audience:
Why should you hire someone who calls themselves an artist, i.e., a painter or whatever?Because self expression, even in the midst of a busy city walk way - is beautiful, and art is part of a culture that makes us human. Oh - and that beautiful moment is worth paying for so support your local artists! Hows that for an answer? ;)
Good luck on your next project. And, I would be interested to know: what graphics have you seen that seemed to lack audience input?