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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What do interior designers do?

Interior designers do much more than pick complementary paint colors and choose matching furniture — although those tasks are important parts of the job. Unlike decorators, interior designers usually have an associate of science degree or certificate of achievement in interior design from an accredited program. They’re trained in drafting, lighting and computer aided design (CAD), and are experts in room-specific design and residential space planning. Interior designers use these skills to plan and design safe, highly functional and beautiful interior spaces, from kitchens and bathrooms to family rooms and bedrooms. They determine space requirements, work within building codes and inspection regulations, and meet accessibility standards. An interior designer’s day-to-day job includes creative and technical tasks, both of which often require great communication skills:

  • Creating model rooms and visuals using design software.
  • Researching different textiles, materials, finishes, lighting and furniture.
  • Hiring suppliers, vendors, and contractors.
  • Estimating costs and making bids on potential jobs.

Why should you hire a web designer?

Your website is often the first thing your customers see when they’re searching for a business or service on the web. As the face of your organization, your website needs to be attractive and functional, offering the latest features that users now expect. To plan and design a site that both reflects your company’s mission and values and appeals to customers takes a professional web designer. While free online services can help people set up websites, web designers can provide a unique solution made specifically to meet customers’ personal or business needs.

Most web designers offer a wide variety of services to make your website aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Modern web design must be mobile-friendly and scalable, capable of expanding to include a blog, social media sites, and even video streaming; web designers are experts at integrating various web technologies. They can build the site, add functionality, test it, launch it on a live server, and track and maintain its performance.

In addition to web design and graphic design, some web design providers also offer development and security services, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and management, logo design, site maintenance, domain registration and hosting, protection against malware, and digital marketing and content services.

How do you find a good interior designer?

For many homeowners, the difference between a good interior designer and a bad one is simply a matter of taste — but all good designers have similar skill sets. Interior designers usually have a degree or certificate in interior design, with training in design principles and lighting, drafting, and computer aided design (CAD) software. Good interior designers have strong color balancing skills and understand how different colors influence spatial perception and moods. They know the building and electrical codes in the areas where they practice, and they make sure that any contractors they hire also work to those codes. They are knowledgeable about different upholstery fabrics and draperies, stay ahead of residential design trends, and maintain their own individual creativity. Also, good interior designers have excellent space designing skills, so they can arrange a space efficiently and with ideal traffic flow. Ultimately, hiring a good interior designer means pinpointing one whose signature style is complementary to your personal style — so checking out many designers’ portfolios is a must — and whose communication methods match yours.

What makes a good logo design?

A good logo is an easily identifiable, memorable image that represents your brand. A good logo design aligns with your business model and expresses your company’s core values. A good logo design is simple, appealing, and easy for customers and viewers to quickly process. Some of the key components of a great logo are type, color palette and design. The scale, font and arrangement of the text you select will all make a difference in the feel and representation of your brand. A graphic designer will help you home in on the colors that best represent your identity and help you keep the color palette simple. The design of your logo includes the shapes you select and the way the color and type are arranged together. Investing in the services of a professional to create your logo design is likely a smart investment for any size business. Nationally, the average price range for a logo designer ranges from $170 to $250.

How much do interior designers charge?

You can hire an interior design for a job as basic as a one-room consultation or as complex as supervising the design of an entire new home, helping with space planning, choosing color palettes, and shopping for furniture, flooring and artwork. The size and scope of the job will determine how much an interior designer charges; the average national cost for an interior designer ranges from $75 to $100 or more per hour. Other cost factors include the person’s reputation — interior designers to the stars are usually more expensive — and region. Most interior designers charge an average of $100-$225 for an initial consultation, but some will charge an hourly rate, usually starting at an average of $50, for larger projects that require extensive consultations. Hourly rates may be available for smaller projects, such as redecorating a living room or staging a home for sale; for instance, shopping and consulting can cost an average of $75 to $100 per hour, while staging costs and average $95 per hour. For many homeowners, a percentage of an interior designer’s cost is recouped through the professional discounts they receive from their vendors.

How do you choose an interior designer?

Choosing an interior designer is all about finding one whose signature style fits well with your tastes and who can work within your budget. To choose the right professional for your interior design project, ask yourself these five questions:

  • What is your signature style? Good interior designers can both describe their personal aesthetic and demonstrate their signature style through their portfolios. Make sure it appeals to you.
  • How will you make sure the design fits my lifestyle? Good designers understand that the interior design must improve a homeowner’s experience in their home and fit into their lifestyle; for example, a white suede sofa is a poor choice for a family with large dogs and small children.
  • How much do you charge? Depending on the project, an interior designer may charge an hourly rate, a flat fee or a percentage of the project’s total cost.
  • How will you stick to my budget? An interior designer should have a plan for staying within your budget, which includes full transparency of costs and flexibility when choosing materials and furnishings.  

Because an interior design project is highly collaborative and based on hard-to-define personal preferences, it’s most important to choose a designer who communicates clearly and listens closely to you.

How do you hire a web designer?

You’ve determined that the best way to create a professional, modern, mobile-friendly new website is to hire a professional web designer to build it. To hire the best person for the job — and to get the web design that best fits your company’s identity — it’s important to ask a few key questions:

  • What’s the scope of the work? Will the website be basic with just a few pages about your company, its services, and contact information? Or will it also have an e-commerce section for online shopping, a blog, or content for visitors to download? Before you hire a web designer, make sure you have a thorough, specific list of the components you must have the designer include in the web design.
  • What do you want your website to look like? Consider websites that are similar to the one you’d like to build, ideally in the same industry or serving similar types of customers. Build a set of examples of types of pages, design aspects, and website features that you can hand off to the web designer — the person you hire should have experience creating websites with the features you want. If they don’t have the right skill set, they’re not the right pro for you.
  • What’s the web designer’s start-to-finish process? What will the final deliverable be? Before you hire someone, make sure their availability works with your timeline and that their process meets your expectations. Most important is finding a web designer who will work collaboratively with you to create a successful online presence.

How much does it cost to create a logo?

Logo design is an important part of your company’s brand development. More than an image with text and color, a logo communicates the tone and personality of your company to your potential customers. Hiring a graphic designer with an appealing portfolio and quality reviews is a solid start to creating a winning logo design. The cost to create a logo can depend on how in-depth the marketing and design services you request are. Designers can create one logo in multiple formats (horizontal, vertical, etc.) to fit both your website and social media platforms, they can create a variety of designs for clients to select from, or they can create multiple logos for one client who needs branding for more than one venture. Logos may be text-only, text and image, or image-only. Many designers and design firms charge by the hour for their services, while other companies offer packages bundled with design services. Here are some examples of cost:

  • National average cost to hire a logo designer: $170-$250.
  • Average hourly rate for a freelance marketing consultant: about $150.  
  • Tiered pricing for logo design packages from one firm:
    • Package One: $200 for three logo concepts, three rounds of revision, and a variety of format and color end designs.
    • Package Two: $350 for 10 logo concepts, unlimited rounds of revision, and a variety of format and color end designs.
    • Package Three: $550 for everything included in the Package Two, plus business card design, letterhead design, social media graphics and an email signature.
    • Package Four: $850 for everything in the Package Three, plus custom brand guidelines, which outline a strategy for creating a consistent branding in the client’s business.

What do you look for in a web design company?

The web design company you choose must be able to interpret your company’s mission and identity and turn it into an appealing website that connects with potential customers. They must help you reach your target audience and meet your business goals. A web design agency should have on staff both talented web designers, with fresh ideas and extensive technical and creative skills, and a marketing team that knows how to drive traffic to your site, encourage visitor engagement, and convert visitors into customers. Web designers should be able to build in search optimization and integrate your site with a content management system and e-commerce tools. Look, too, for a website design company that understands responsive design and can optimize your website for mobile devices and desktop browsers. The right web design company understand current design and website trends, has experience building sites in a variety of industries (not just yours), and has an expansive portfolio of live websites. Finally, don’t simply hire the cheapest bidder — in web design, as in all things, you get what you pay for.

What should you look for in a website designer?

A professional web designer creates the look and feel of your website, collaborating with you to choose colors, creating logos and other branding materials, establishing page layouts, and creating sample pages. An important part of web design is making sure the site is functional, meets your goals, and is easy for users to navigate. When you’re looking to hire a web designer, start by reviewing the person’s portfolio. Look for samples of work that match what you envision for your website, including experience building the types of pages or features you want. Make sure the web designer is familiar with your industry and understands both industry trends and web design trends — an old-fashioned or out-of-touch site will turn customers away rather than intrigue them.

Because web designers tend to work as freelancers on a project basis, they must be excellent communicators, willing to manage their own work, and available on your schedule. Some critical skills, such as working collaboratively and responding enthusiastically to feedback, aren’t core to good web design, but make working with a web designer much easier. Finally, look for a web designer who has cross-functional knowledge, such as understanding marketing and conversion rate optimization in addition to web design.

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