What I've Learned by Looking at 80 Designer/Artist Sites

I've been doing some research in hiring an artist/graphic designer to create an image for me. I have the concept done and really just need someone with skills to take my idea and make it a reality. So I posted a short note on Craigslist in the Gigs section. Over the course of the rest of the day, I got more than 80 responses with the vast majority of them including links to online portfolios. Some included attached resumes and portfolios and some (the easiest to cull from the herd) asked for more information.

I wish it were feasible to respond to each of them but there really just isn't enough time in the day to do so. And I am slowly working through the thick stack of sites, deleting emails and proposals where I can, starring others to come back to when I like them.

Much like when I was part of the vetting process for the market research company, these emails are, effectively, job applications. And as such, first impressions count for everything. Given the volume of responses I got, any reason to remove one becomes a valid reason. Here’s the (growing) list of reasons I deleted three quarters of the responses.

Culling criteria:
• Requests for more info
• Misspelled link (page doesn’t load)
• Browser resize
• Autoplay music
• Overly obtuse navigation including window/tab spawning
• Artsy to the point of being annoying (light print on a lighter background is annoying)
• Animated and frenetic images (I don’t need a seizure, thxvm)
• Anything to do with MySpace
• Anything to do with FaceBook (I’m not signing up just to look at your work)
• Google Ads or other revenue ads
• Link to a large agency with large retainers
• More than four clicks to see your art
• Attached resumes without examples of art or clear link to art

What I’ve been left with is a solid group of high quality sites. Now my plan is to email them all with more particulars about the project and see what comes back from that.

In the meantime, we’re finalizing a domain for the new site that will be included in the design. I’m looking forward to this whole re-launch and, hopefully, converting it from a fun pastime into something of a moneymaker. Stay tuned.
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