Shoutout to http://motherfuckingwebsite.com for the above screen grab.
We’ve all met the poor sap who purchased a ripped layout. We all heard of the dumb fuck who spend hundreds on a WordPress theme or a graphics-heavy interface only to find out the bill for its original files in the thousands. No one wants to end up in their positions and yet, somehow, many do. We wouldn’t tolerate a shoddy roof by a slapdash contractor and designs are no different.
Here are a few points to consider prior to hiring a designer:
Look at their work
If they’re a trendwhore, stay the hell away from them. If they exhibit originality, its time to talk. “There’s no harm in trendwhoring if its done right,” some may say. Very true. But the thing with trendwhore designs is you’ll be up all night spidering similar sites just to make sure no elements were stolen and resold to you. You wouldn’t buy a stolen car, would you? A layout or graphic is no different, only the price tag varies. If you’re looking for a trend design its best to go to the trendsetter, not the trendwhore.
Age means nothing
There are some pretty talented 15-year-olds out there, but be aware that doing serious business with a minor can result in difficulties.
Serious business = a $1000+ contract.
Contract = they must deliver.
Minor = tends to forget that business is business. Parent might kick your ass.
Pro designers who deliver quality charge for quality. A good one will charge you a good fee. (Unless they’re just hobbyists with unrelated day jobs, in which case you might get a high-end layout for three beans and some dirt providing you catch them on a good day.)
A good designer can produce a number of quality products, not just webpages in one style with one tool. He/she should be versed in a number of graphics programs and freehand styles and have a solid understanding of marketing strategies and advertisement techniques. You want your site designed in a way that would be functional as well as appealing to visitors, right? A good looking site alone won’t make the clients go for the product, especially if they can’t find it in the midst of all the pointless graphics and unnecessary extras.
A good designer will give you what you want and need, not what they pulled out of their ass in five minutes. If you’re investing in your layout be sure to ask for references and confirm customer satisfaction. Also be sure to investigate the originality of the person’s work. Never forget that it is you who will be neck-deep in shit if your layout turns out to be either heavily-influenced or ripped. Your reputation is on the line, thus you better make sure what you get is 100% yours, not 50% Toptal’s and 45% DeviantArt with that extra 5% Apple thrown in.
Be sure you’re not getting stuck with something that looks like a Starbucks exploded; those chalkboard layouts will pass, they’re just the current fad. The ideal product will weather the years and isn’t tied to the times. And most importantly remember that that ideal product is your vision; executed with precision by the skilled hand of a good designer.
Almost all of this can be applied to developers/coders as well, its only the prices and procedures that vary. The key to both is originality.