Hire a graphic designer online with social recruiting

Last updated:
December 16, 2020
October 11, 2022
min read
Beth Hudson
Table of contents

You need to hire a graphic designer. Your company is lacking the aesthetics it needs to thrive. Whether you’re looking to hire in-house or freelance, you want someone professional. Social media isn’t professional, right? Wrong.

When you’re hiring a graphic designer, social recruiting can be an invaluable tool. Illustrators that are professional and passionate about their craft are likely to display that. The best way to do so is on social sites. It allows them to gain exposure for their work. And, in an employer’s case, it allows you to see the work of potential future hires!

Freelance vs. In-house designers

Choosing freelance graphic designers

Freelance illustrators are a good choice if:

  • You need to outsource or your budget is tight;
  • Your graphic designer doesn’t need to be immersed in the company culture;
  • You’re comfortable with using technology to communicate ideas;
  • There is a time-crunch;
  • Or you need one or two specific tasks done at a time (think: logos, social media banners, etc.)

Choosing the freelance route offers flexibility and low-cost options. If you are a bigger company or foresee that there will be an abundance of design projects coming up, it may not be a wise choice. You’ll need to be able to communicate your company vision and employer brand clearly, in any case. So make sure you’re willing to make some sacrifices by not having them in the office, experiencing the day-to-day culture.

If you decide to hire a graphic designer that is freelance, you can find them across the web, but specifically on:

  1. Fiverr – a platform for only spending a “fiver”, but the prices fluctuate (as does the quality);
  2. Upwork – one of the most well-known sites for freelancers to join and vie for jobs like yours;
  3. Thumbtack – a platform that freelancers pay for to apply to your freelance positions;
  4. Freelancer – another non-field-specific site where you post a project and receive submissions from freelancers;
  5. DesignCrowd – an innovative site that allows you to post creative briefs in the guise of “design contests”, allowing you to choose from submissions;
  6. Konsus – a design service touting 12-hour delivery and “battle-tested” designers, so you know you’re getting quality work.
  7. Designhill – a platform similar to DesignCrowd where you post design contests and choose from affordable options;
  8. And 99 Designs – another creative, curated site that provides you with freelance designers for any project.

If you just Google search “hire a graphic designer”, you will be met with an abundance of places to find them on the internet. Where you choose to post is up to you, your budget, and your quality standards. Looking for the best logo that really defines your brand? Does your blog need stellar header images to catch readers’ attention? Make sure you narrow down the type of freelancer you are in need of, including (but not limited to):

  • Logo Designers
  • Identity Designers
  • Web Designers
  • UX Designers
  • Packaging Designers
  • Motion Designers

Having a specialty is by no means a bad thing in this field. However, if you have a variety of projects, you should be looking to hire a graphic designer that is capable of covering those bases. You may want to consider hiring an in-house designer.

Choosing in-house graphic designers

Just like with freelance designers, there are pros and cons when you hire a graphic designer in-house. This may be the best option for you if:

  • The company is larger in scale;
  • There are more design projects and even a design team in the works;
  • You value quality, consistent design work;
  • There’s room in your budget;
  • And you want someone who can capture the essence of your brand in their illustrations.

Feedback is certainly possible with freelance designers, but it can turn into a more long-term process when you hire a graphic designer to be in-house. Having them in the office (or as a full-time remote employee) allows you to tweak things and communicate effectively over time. Finding graphic designers that are looking for full-time, long-term positions is a bit more tricky, however.

This is where the social recruiting channels come in. You can, of course, look through relevant hashtags for recruiting on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the like. But there are certain social media platforms that are tailored to creative professionals. Your best bets across social networks to hire a graphic designer include:

1. Dribbble

Dribbble (with three Bs) has paved the way for artists and employers to connect online. If you want to hire a graphic designer in-house, Dribbble should be on your list of social platforms to check out. It has a sleek, user-friendly interface.

hire a graphic designer with dribbble

You can search keywords by using the search bar in the upper right of the page. You’ll need an account to view the image larger or click through to the artist’s profile. But it’s worth it!

2. Pinterest

Pinterest is well-known for starting out as a wedding planning social platform. However, now 250 million people use Pinterest every month. And they use it for a variety of things. The platform, itself, is very visually oriented. This means it’s a haven for creative minds! And that’s what you’re looking for, right? Type in a skill that you are looking for in your next designer hire. Press enter.

hire a graphic designer with pinterest

What you’ll see is an endless stream of visually-appealing graphics that you can even save to a custom board (public or private) of your own. You can use this for inspiration. But, more pertinently here, you can use Pinterest to source talent.

See a logo design that embodies the same type of feel you are going for? Click through to view the entire pin. Often, the pin is linked to the source of that picture. If the person pinning the picture is the artist, even better! You can view their profile and find an abundance of links to other examples of their work. You can also message users directly on Pinterest.

3. Tumblr

Known for its young, hipster users and angsty posts, Tumblr may not have sprung to your mind first when you decided to hire a graphic designer. However, the interface allows creative professionals to create stunning portfolios of their work. Oftentimes, artist portfolios can be housed by Tumblr. These are Tumblr pages entirely dedicated to an artist’s original work.

Tumblr pages decided to artist's original work

Just like the other social media platforms, you can search for keywords that are relevant to the type of work you prefer. On a profile like the one pictured above, you’ll often find links to their other social platforms or companies they have done commissions for. And it’s all laid out in a nice way that showcases the art.

4. CGSociety

A social platform that is the LinkedIn of sorts for creative professionals, CGSociety stands out a bit from the crowd here. It also serves as a hub for workshops and furthering the education of artists that use the site. You’ll see a “hall of fame” and other searchable uploaded art. And there is a news section that draws in a specific user-base (the one you happen to be looking to source!).

CGSociety homepage

The curated galleries of illustrations on CGSociety are impressive. If you need to hire a graphic designer with intense skills, this is the place to find them. You can look through the tons of uploads, or you can sift through the forums to find users talking about new techniques and software.

5. DeviantArt

hire a graphic designer with deviantart

Formed in 2000, DeviantArt is a well-recognized platform for artists around the internet. It’s a household name and for good reason. With 40 million users and over 350 million pieces of art to rifle through, it is a social network ripe with talent. If you know the type of illustrations you are looking for, just type keywords into the search bar and start looking through the posts. If you see something you like, click through to the full-size image. Then, there is a link to the creator’s profile on the bottom left.

There you can find:

  • Other examples of their work;
  • Links to other social profiles where you can contact them;
  • A place to comment about their work or your job opening;
  • How long they’ve been contributing to the site;
  • Where they are located;
  • Their name (not just the username!);
  • And stats about their profile views.

If you create a DeviantArt account, you can also “send them a note” or “watch” them to see what else they post. You’re bound to find some digital illustrations that you like on the site. There are plenty of categories and options to choose from. Fill up your talent pools!

6. Behance

Behance allows artists to collaborate and curate galleries of art to be shared and displayed on the site. It is not only a social platform, but it also includes a jobs tab that you can post your open positions to.

hire a graphic designer with behance

Behance is a leader in the online platform space for artists to connect and share their work. It’s where the graphic designers are going to be hanging out. Why not tap into its network?

How to hire a graphic designer (effectively)

In order to choose where to start sourcing creative talent, you’ll have to pin down exactly what you want out of hiring a graphic designer. Do you want them to integrate into the team? Or do you want them to work well independently and deliver projects on tight deadlines? Collaborate with your team to figure out what works best for your current situation. What gaps in graphic design productivity need to be filled? What is your budget?

Regardless of what strategy you choose, the social media platforms mentioned are valuable tools. You can get a sense of what results you’d like to see from the new hire. You can fill up your talent pools for future open positions. And you can get inspiration that propels your company branding to new, creative heights.

Further reading: Uncover social recruiting secrets from our interview with 4 industry experts

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