Great design is crucial to a successful online shop. Even when ecommerce platforms provide such high quality templates, you would always stand out by customizing them to match your brand.
In the last decade, demand for digital designers has surged, and luckily, so too have the number of resources available to help you find the right designer for your ecommrce store.. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to decide where to start. So, here are the top 5 ways to find amazing ecommerce designers.
Behance is an online designer portfolio site that was created back in 2006. It’s a platform for designers to upload their projects and for companies to explore talent from around the world. It became part of the Adobe Talent suite in 2012 and has since grown into the largest creative network of its kind with over 5 million industry professionals and over 8 million projects on the site.
Here’s how it works: Clients subscribe either to the Adobe Talent plan (post one job per month) or the Adobe Talent Unlimited plan (unlimited job posts) and get access to millions of industry professionals across the globe. They can respond to your job ad, and if you like the looks of their portfolio, you save them as your candidate.
Behance is a great place for seeing the breadth of available talent out there, but leaves it up to you to do your candidate screening. If you’ve got the time and technical chops to take that on, head on over to their job board.
Back in 2010, Toptal was created to respond to the talent shortage in software development. It has since grown into an exclusive network of top-notch freelance developers from around the world. Recognizing a similar gap between the demand for talented designers and the supply of amazing design talent from around the world, they launched Toptal Designers this October.
Here’s how it works: clients come to Toptal with a compelling project, discuss their specific aims and requirements, and then Toptal hand-matches them with a designer who is ready to begin work immediately. What sets Toptal immediately apart from online job boards is that it applies a very rigorous screening process (accepting only the top 3% of candidates) and guarantees only the highest quality matches. Clients have a two week trial with their designer and if for any reason they aren’t 100% satisfied, Toptal will rematch them at no additional cost.
Head to their website to check out a myriad of resources like UI and UX designer hiring guides. From providing sample interview questions to job description templates, they’ve got you covered when it comes to helping you make the right hire.
Dribbble began in 2007 when a group of designers decided to create an online forum to keep up with what everyone was working on. It calls itself “show and tell for designers.” And that’s really what it is: a place for designers to broadcast “shots” of their current and past projects and to give and receive feedback from one another.
Here’s how it works: Clients can head to Dribbble to find inspiration, drop into a vibrant designer community, and search for designers for hire. Once you make an account, you can narrow your search parameters by location, skillset, and availability.
Dribbble lets you follow designers you like, makes suggestions based on your preferences, and is an all-around great and neatly organized place for browsing and discovering new design trends.
99Designs is a fun and different way to find great designs. Started in 2008, it’s a competitive design marketplace where your job postings turn into worldwide, week-long contest. The 99Designs community is now comprised of over 950,000 members, and according to their website, they will have helped over one million clients execute their design projects by the start of 2016.
Here’s how it works: Clients fill out an online “brief” about what they need (usually a specific task like logo creation or a new banner), you choose a payment package that works with your budget, and then the 99Designs team launches your project as a design contest for its community. For a week, any and all 99Designs members can submit designs and you have the opportunity to provide as much or as little feedback as you’d like. At the end of the week, you pick the winning design, download, and voilà you have your new logo.
99Designs gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to how much you pay and how involved you want to be in the design process and it's a great way to get fast results.
I've personally used 99Designs in the past, and the main reason I like it so much is that there's no room for mediocre talent on the platform. The minimum design rates usually start at $300 and go up to the thousands. $300 might sound cheap to some, but it's much better than the penny jobs you'll find on places like Fiverr and Freelancer.com. I've spent $300 to $1000 on 99Designs for logo and t-shirt designs, and all of them have come out great. It's also nice because you can freely communicate with designers, browse portfolios, and search for creatives who will fit your project perfectly.
Finally, 99Designs has a Find a Designer tool, which allows companies and individuals to search for a specific designer based on the project needs. So, you have the option to search for keywords, then filter that search. For my last project, I searched for “outdoors,” since I was looking for a logo for a new camping/travel site. Most designers have their past projects labeled well, so I was able to land on the ones with experience in this industry. The Find a Designer tool also provides those filters for different industries, designer levels, languages, and design categories (like Logos, Packaging, and Books).
This one is obvious, but it’s sometimes easy to forget the power of your own network. Reach out to your personal and professional connections. Who has an app or website design you like? See how they recruited their designer, what worked and what didn’t, and how they would approach the process differently if given another shot. Getting advice from someone whose opinion you trust and whose end-product you like is a surefire way to build confidence in the hiring steps you take. And, if you’re lucky, they can directly connect you to the designer they worked with, which means you’ll have the chance to hire someone with whom you won’t be building a relationship entirely from scratch. You’ll get the ins and outs of their working process from a trusted source, and they’ll get the same assurance that you’re a good match for them. All of this bodes well for a great working partnership, so don’t shirk your own network!
All of these approaches will set you on the path to finding a talented designer for your online shop. At the end of the day, finding the right designer is all about articulating your specific needs and screening candidates for fit and soft skills as well as for technical expertise.