How To Hire A Graphic Designer

As Seen In

logo of wsj
logo of wsj
logo of business-insider
logo of business-insider
logo of cnn
logo of cnn
logo of fatherly
logo of fatherly
logo of nbc
logo of nbc

Table Of Contents

Whether you’re looking to hire a graphic designer as a freelancer or a full-time employee, there are a few things you need to think about before you ever open a req with HR. Here’s how to figure out what you’re looking for in a graphic designer, which skills and experience are most essential, and how to recruit the best candidates for the job.

If you’re ready to hire a graphic designer now, get started with ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter distributes job postings to 100+ job boards and employers can get started for free.

get started with ziprecruiter

How To Recruit Graphic Designers

To recruit and hire a graphic designer, start by nailing down the job description for the role. What are the most essential functions of this graphic designer job, and what skills, experience, and abilities will the candidate need to excel in this position? Don’t forget soft skills like communication, problem solving, and attention to detail.

Recruit graphic designers on free job boards or paid sites that vet candidates for you. You can find sites that will help you hire contractors for one-off projects or full-time hires. Also consider creating a referral program to encourage your top talent to recommend their contacts for open roles.

Top Skills To Look For In Graphic Designers

When hiring for a graphic designer, look for a combination of technical savvy and people skills.

Graphic Designer Hard Skills

The desired skill set for graphic designers varies by the job, but you will probably want to look for candidates who have some combination of the following:

  • Adobe Creative Suite (Acrobat, AfterEffects, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop)
  • Content management systems (Drupal, Squarespace, WordPress)
  • Desktop publishing software (Adobe PageMaker, Microsoft Publisher, QuarkXPress)
  • Graphics software (Adobe Creative Cloud, SmugMug Flickr, Trimble SketchUp Pro)
  • Programming languages and technologies (AJAX, Cascading Style Sheets CSS, HTML, JavaScript)
  • Video editing software (Adobe AfterEffects, Apple Final Cut Pro, WeVideo)

Graphic Designer Soft Skills

Soft skills are especially important if the designer will work as part of a team. But even if they’ll do most of their job independently, a graphic designer will need some or all of the following:

  • Active listening: In order to understand clients’ vision for their projects, graphic designers must be able to pay attention, listen well, and follow up to seek more information as needed.
  • Attention to detail: Designers must be meticulous about the details that make a concept work in order to achieve their client’s vision.
  • Communication skills: Graphic designers need to be able to communicate with clients, team members, and managers in order to assess the job, perform the work, and make any desired changes.
  • Creativity: Perhaps the most important skill for a graphic designer is creativity. They must be able to create new ideas and approaches to design projects.
  • Emotional intelligence: In any job that involves teamwork or client projects, it’s essential to have empathy and be able to understand the perspective of others.
  • Independence and initiative: Even when working with a team, graphic designers must be able to work independently and show initiative.
  • Organization: Graphic design projects can be quite complex, involving the input of several different stakeholders. Designers must be organized in order to stay on top of all these details.
  • Problem solving: Successful graphic designers are able to come up with creative solutions to design problems and client requests.

Where To Find Graphic Designers

AIGA Design Jobs

AIGA has been around for more than a century and is the largest professional association for professional designers, educators, and students. The network currently has more than 15,000 members in 70 chapters nationwide.  Post jobs, internships, or pro bono work requests for fees ranging from $50 to $599. (Sustaining members can post some jobs for free.)


Fiverr is a vast online marketplace for freelancers of all types, including graphic designers. Freelancers charge fees ranging from $5 to several thousand dollars, but the service itself is free to use. Buyers can view work samples and reviews of freelancers before making their selection and purchase a variety of packages to meet their needs.


Toptal is a worldwide freelance market for designers, software developers, product managers, and project managers. The company boasts that it accepts only 3% of the freelancers who apply, so candidates come pre-screened. Freelancers may charge by the hour or by the project. There is no fee to use Toptal.


Upwork is a freelance marketplace that operates in more than 180 countries. Find professionals in design, tech, finance, sales, customer support, and writing and translation. The basic package lets you post jobs for free. The plus package offers a dedicated account manager and other benefits for $49.99 per month. There’s also an enterprise package (price upon request).


ZipRecruiter links employers of all sizes with 10 million job seekers each week. Their powerful AI matches qualified graphic designers to your job openings and even prompts top talent to apply. ZipRecruiter is free to try and offers customized packages for your company’s specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Graphic Designer?

Graphic designers may work by the hour, by the project, or at a salaried rate. On some freelance marketplaces, freelance graphic designers earn between $5 and several thousand dollars a project.

What Is A Graphic Design Salary? 

Full-time graphic designers earn a median annual salary of around $50,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Do I Find A Good Graphic Designer?

Always review a graphic designer’s work samples before committing, whether you’re hiring by the project or for a full-time role. Professional designers should have a portfolio to submit to prospective clients and employers.

How Do I Hire A Freelance Graphic Designer?

Focus your efforts on freelance marketplaces that offer reviews, work samples, and prescreening of freelancers. Be clear about your objectives for your project and about your options if you’re unsatisfied with the work.

The Bottom Line

To hire a graphic designer, you need to understand your company’s needs for the role, identify the hard and soft skills required, and recruit the best designers based on their portfolios, experience, and skillset. Ready to hire a graphic designer? Consider posting your job opening on ZipRecruiter.