How to Hire a Graphic Designer

How to Hire a Graphic Designer

Are you in the market for a Graphic Designer? There are a few things you may need to know before finding the right fit. I’ve accumulated a few key factors here for you to remember when searching for your perfect designer for your business needs.

How to Hire a Graphic Designer.

If it’s your first time to hire a Graphic Designer, do your research and find the best fit. The Graphic Designer represents everything about your company.

We’ll get into some of those things shortly, but first you need to understand one important factor about designers or artists in general: They think with their right side of the brain.

This is important, why you ask? As a business owner you need to understand, right-side thinkers are creative. They think differently than the left-sided thinkers who are more strategic and analytical

Creativity needs to flow, they need moments to create without interuptions, sometimes they need a little time to research the subject, they see their creations as art, something to be proud of and to represent themselves.

What designer do I hire?

First you need to decide what type of designer you need. There are so many different types of designers. Here are a few to consider:

  • Web Designer
  • Product Label Designer
  • Ad Designer
  • Brochure, Business Card Designer
  • Sign Designer
  • Vehicle Wrap Designer
  • Mobile App Designer

For the few I have listed, be sure to be specific when placing an ad for a designer. This helps them understand what you are looking for and you may save yourself a lot of time in the search process.

Freelance vs Payroll Employee?

How should you hire the designer? Do you need a full time staffed graphic designer working in house? Do have enough projects to fill a need? Can you manage by hiring a freelance artist just as needed?

One thing to consider when hiring for a full-time position, you will have payroll taxes. On the other hand, Freelancers get paid by the project or by the hour (discuss this in advance before you contract labor) and then you can 1099 them at the end of the year and they will take care of their own taxes.

If hiring full time in house, you set the hourly rate. If hiring freelance, they set the rate. There are many sites you can join and upload your job and the freelancers can bid on the project. You get to pick the designer and the price. Again, research before you agree to terms. Make sure they design for your style.

Key Factors To Think About…

When hiring an artist or designer, you will want to make sure they fit into your environment. I’ve had designers in the past that worked too slow for my work speed. I like fast paced working environments and getting jobs kicked out promptly. Slow thinkers slow the pace down and work gets backed up. This drives me nuts!

  • Check out the designer’s website, look at their work, is it your style?
  • Have them visit your shop/office, watch their expressions, how are they dressed, did they take a shower? (You may laught at this, but this is a serious question)
  • Did they drive or hitch a ride? How will they get to work? You want someone dependable.
  • Have them bring their portfolio. They should have extensive work samples. Are they fresh out of college, or are they seasoned in the field? Fresh out of college, you can mold them to fit your needs if you have do so. Seasoned veterans are good, but make sure they are willing to do what YOU want. You don’t have time to mess with re-do’s.
  • Ask what software programs they know. Do you have a program you already use? Do they know it, or will you have to train them?
  • Never hire a graphic designer over the phone if they are going to work in house.
  • Don’t have them send portfolio samples by email if they are going to work in house. I’ve been burned by this. I’ve had them send other people’s work instead of something of their own. See it in person, they should have a portfolio or website you can visit.

How Much Should I Pay?

This is a question everyone asks. To find the answer you can Google Search or even go to Glass Door or similar websites and find the average salary in your area.

If you are hire a Freelancer, they will tell you their going hourly rate or you may also have them price by the job. This is a much safer way to contract the job. If you are priced by the hour, which could be anywhere from $30/hour to $75/hour or more, those hours could add up if lots of changes are made or the designer is slow working. Make sure whatever you choose, get the quote in writing.

Some websites you can find freelancers are as follows:

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Smashing Jobs
  • Krop
  • Design Pickle

Finding the right designer can help your business grow and also help build your reputation.

I owned a small sign shop a few years ago, and I interviewed over 30 designers before I found the right fit. She was worth the wait. She helped me grow my business and we became known for our creative designs.

Take your time and find your right fit. It’s your business and reputation. You’ll be happy you took the time. Good luck in finding your Graphic Designer!

For more tips, sign up for my newsletter and stay in the know! Happy Hunting!

Can I Submerge Vinyl?

Can I Submerge Vinyl?

I hear these questions all of the time. Can I submerge this vinyl? Will this vinyl work in saltwater? Is it dishwasher safe? Is this vinyl waterproof? There are yes and no’s to all of these questions, but we have to get to the root of the situation to really know the answers.

Can I Submerge Vinyl?

Can I Submerge Vinyl?

The vinyl itself is made up of a PVC (polyvinyl chloride), plasticizers, pigment, and other additives. On the rear side of the vinyl, adhesive is applied to allow the vinyl to adhere itself to many surfaces. The adhesive can be sensitive to certain fluids when applied on or near the vinyl causing the adhesive to release itself from the surface.

Adhesive can be permanent, removable, solvent or water-based. Identify your adhesive and be sure to use the correct fluids for wet application or cleaning. You would want to avoid using water with water-based adhesive. This would destroy the adhesive breaking it down and causing adhesion failure.

Sticking to solvent based permanent adhesive vinyl will help you get a longer hold and wear for items being washed by hand or for items sitting outside in the elements.

Is it dishwasher safe?

Permanent adhesive vinyl is going to have a better grip than a removable adhesive. A big question in the craft industry: Is it dishwasher safe? Yes and No. A lot of factors go into that question. One question to ask would be: How often will you wash it?

If you are putting adhesive vinyl, which is adhered to cups, bottles or any other form of dishes, in the dishwasher, the permanent adhesive vinyl will hold for a while, possibly up to 50+ washes. Eventually, it’s going to lose it’s grip and deterioration will set in. Yes you can put it in the dishwasher and possibly get away with several washes, no, it won’t hold forever.

It’s not made for the heat, water or steam. Heat and steam are actual forms of removal for vinyl. Every time your dishwasher is on, it’s working to remove your vinyl.

Is it safe for saltwater?

Sign industry folks are always looking for ways to use vinyl around the water because most of the industry is based on dealing with outside elements. I live in Houston and since we have a lot of oil industry based businesses down here, companies are constantly working on projects in or around the ocean.

Pipeline lying on ocean bottom underwater. 3D rendering

Many times I have been asked if there is a way to submerge vinyl for underwater pipes. I have literally called every vinyl manufacturer that I distribute for and every one of them have told me “No, we don’t have a product at this time for underwater projects”. Not only “no” to water, but saltwater also becomes another issue in that equation.

Wooden retro boat taxi parked on the canal in Venice

Can I do a full body boat wrap?

Full body boat wraps are not recommended either. Not in lakes nor in ocean water. Marine vinyl is available for boats, but if you look at the fine print, it states to keep the vinyl above the water line. This means they won’t warranty vinyl below water.

Boat wraps require a little extra time and effort. You must seal the edges very well. I had a client who wrapped a boat and his client brought it back after one visit on the lake.

The front seams were not sealed correctly and had lifted because water forced it’s way under the wrap through tiny open crevices, filling parts of it with water along the sides of the boat. It was mess.

Full body wraps are at your own discretion. Make sure you get every seam down firmly.

You can seal vinyl with epoxy or other sealants, but make sure those sealants are rated water submersible, otherwise, you could have wrap failure.

Vinyl submerged underwater is only a temporary option as of now. Choose your vinyl options carefully and educate yourself and your clients. Submerge at your own risk.

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Simple Ideas To Organize Your Office/Craft Room

Simple Ideas To Organize Your Office/Craft Room

Are things starting to pile up around you? Are you starting to lose site of your desk? Maybe your corners are starting fill with stacks of boxes and you can’t find a thing? Well that was me a few months ago…it was out of control!

Simple Ideas To Organize Your Office/Craft Room

I went from an outside sales job to a full time job in the craft industry. I knew my office needed to transition into a multi-function room, but instead it started becoming a storage room. It became unorganized as I brought in new materials to sample and it was extremely stressful to look at through my office doors as I passed by every day. I knew one day I would need to get in there and get it organized, but when?

The first of this year was a turning point. I started decorating my house and little by little made my way to my crazy office. I decided to get busy.

I shopped around online and figured out real quick the shelving I would need would be over $1000. I knew I wanted bright colors because my house is dark, so I looked for white. I searched the used furniture ads and bought some used IKEA shelving and a credenza off of Craigslist for less than $200.

I sold my big beautiful desk and downsized to another IKEA find on Craigslist, a small flat top table. I got to work and pulled everything out of the room to start with a clean slate.

I started sorting through boxes and bins separating my crafts into small groups of items that went together. Sharpies, Paint Markers, Dry Erase Markers etc. I began searching for storage containers.

I started my search at my favorite store, The Container Store. I found these cute mint green magazine storage boxes on sale so I bought several of those. After looking through the store, I didn’t find much more but decided this would be my color inspiration for my office-craft room.

Pottery Barn was running sales at Christmas, and I found some gray wool baskets with handles for $25 for a set of 3. I bought 2 sets and thought those would be great to hide certain items on the shelves, plus it would give me another color to add to my room.

I stopped by Big Lots on my shopping spree day and found glass jars in all sizes with metal lids. These would tie in with my gray baskets. I bought several if each and would use these for my pens, markers and other small items.

craft room organization idea

I visited Hobby Lobby and picked up some antique wire baskets on sale and also I bought some galvanized tubs for future use. I found an antique workshop sign, along with a bulletin board that matched my magazine holders and a work board which I now use for my sticky notes, because they fit perfectly in the squares.

I began organizing my craft items in my containers and started to see the room come together. The containers make a world if difference. I can see what is in each jar, my books are organized in my wool baskets. See-through plastic bins from a Kroger after Christmas sale stores bulky items in the corner. My office has finally turned into a functioning office-craft room. 

I will later add a rug and small work table in the middle of the room, but for now I’m just enjoying being able to use my desk again and finding items right away!

Feel free to share your organizing tips here!

Monogram Your Wellies

Monogram Your Wellies

I’ve always seen everyone wearing those super cute rain boots during the wet seasons. I love the different styles and patterns that you can buy, but the problem is my calves are too big to fit in them!

My husband and I decided to travel to Alaska last September, touring Vancouver first, then off on an amazing cruise. While planning for the trip, I noticed most every excursion recommended weatherproof clothes and footwear. I decided I needed a pair of rain boots.

This post includes affiliate links.

Monogram Your Wellies

I searched the internet looking for wide-calf boots and finally located a pair that were my size. The boots however were not that cute. I bought them anyway just so I would have a pair for the trip! I never wore them.
As I was cleaning my office the other day, I ran across a 12 x12 piece of decorative printed vinyl. A little inspiration came to mind and I decided to dress up my ever so boring boots.

In honor of the “April Showers” season fast approaching, here are the steps to making my monogrammed boots.

My boots are black, or maybe navy blue, I really can’t tell. Regardless, I’m using the vinyl I found on them because I like it. I’ve been saving this piece for the perfect project.

Next ,I measured the area I wanted to place the monogram. I could make this as big or as small as I want and decided to make this one about 3” around.

I loaded my patterned vinyl into my cutting machine and chose a font to use. You can find decorative printed craft vinyl from numerous stores around the country. You may even have a vinyl store in your home town. Just do an internet search to find one near you. I’m using a calendered printed vinyl here with a gray adhesive. If you don’t know what that is, refer to my first blog for more information. Gray adhesive helps block the dark color of my boots from showing through the print.

I decided to cut an extra more simple design along side this one for later use. I chose Monogramos font, which I found on for free. The circle ring and outside circle shapes I actually bought pre-made from I didn’t want to spend the time designing them. After the designs were cut, I removed the vinyl and sliced off the cut area making it smaller and easier to weed.

Weeding is the term used when pulling the pieces of vinyl from the design that do not belong. I applied a high tack transfer tape using a squeegee to rub it down securely to help adhere it to the vinyl in order to lift the design from the liner (backing).

I measured down from the top of the boot approximately 1-1/2”. I taped it in place to keep it secure, then installed it with a hinge method. Flipping the bottom of the design up, I peeled the liner off and used my fingers to rub the vinyl into place starting from the top, working my way down. The boot is flimsy, so I laid the boot down on its side to finish the process. Once I ran my squeegee over it a few times, I removed the transfer tape to view my finished project.

Applying the monogram gives the boots a little flair and I love the design! Now my boots are made for walkin’…or at least playin’ in the rain! Don’t forget your umbrella!

Are you Stuck on Vinyl?

Are you Stuck on Vinyl?

Vinyl adhesive is probably the last thing on your mind when you are picking out vinyl colors for your project, but believe it or not, it’s a very important factor when deciding what vinyl is best for your job.

Are You Stuck on Vinyl Adhesives?

Manufacturers have designed a variety of adhesive types to fit the market demands. Spec sheets are available on each series of adhesive vinyl to help you decide which will best fit your needs. You may find specs sheets on the manufacture’s and most distributors’s websites.

So how do you decide between solvent or water based adhesive? What about permanent or removable adhesive?

Here are some highlighted points to reference when choosing the correct vinyl adhesive for the job:

Solvent-Based Adhesive

Solvent-based adhesive allows a vinyl to have a longer term application. The chemical makeup of this adhesive uses solvents that help the adhesive become strong and more durable during weather changes. Wet applications can be used to install these types of adhesives.

Water-Based Adhesive

Water-based adhesive is just what it states…water based. Avoid using any type of wet application method with these adhesives. Avoiding wet applications will help reduce risk of the adhesive not bonding properly. We mostly see these adhesives on vinyl that is lower in cost, used indoors and also for short-term applications.

Removable Adhesive

This adhesive is designed for an easier removal than permanent adhesive and has a lower tack which helps with a clean removal. Typically we see this vinyl adhesive used on interior walls or anything temporary such as car wraps. Car wrap vinyl has air channels in the adhesive allowing it to “breathe” so the installer can push the air bubbles out, making the wrap nice and smooth. Sign and craft vinyl is usually dishwasher safe, but use your own discretion. Manufacturers will not warranty defects caused by dishwasher.

Permanent Adhesive

Permanent adhesive has a higher tack than removable. This adhesive is used for permanent type signs and projects for outdoor or indoor, such as vehicles, store hours, outdoor and indoor crafts and will usually leave some residue when removed from any surface. Heating the vinyl with a heat gun, hair dryer or torch before removal will warm the vinyl and adhesive while helping it release from the attached surface. Additional adhesive removal cleaner or a degreaser may be needed to finish the removal process. You can always remove the remnants of the cleaner and degreaser with Isopropyl Alcohol to get a squeaky clean surface. Usually sign and craft vinyl adhesives are dishwasher safe, but use your own discretion. Manufacturers will not warranty defects caused by dishwasher.

*Currently there are no adhesive films/vinyl guaranteed to be submerged underwater for long periods of time. Marine/ Boat films are to be used above the water line and securely sealed around all edges, or sealed entirely to prevent water damage.

The right adhesive will make your job easier and prevent future failures. Always read the spec sheet if you are unsure and educate yourself. You’ll be happy you took the time.