1) Check the company portfolio: Most companies have portfolios that exhibit their expertise in the field. Going through them will help you understand their proficiency level. Shortlist companies with impressive portfolios. If they don’t have a portfolio online, then ask them to drop it off at your office. Remember, it is not how well they talk or look but how well they work that counts.
2) Ask around: Ask friends, neighbours, people you worked with earlier, anybody, about companies that they hired and what their feedback was. It is best to go through references than to take a blind shot. Discuss with people about their experience with the graphic design company they worked with, in terms of quality of product delivered, schedule and accessibility. Some companies may be extremely popular and may have worked on many projects but they might not have the time to have discussions with you about your ideas and your preferences. This is a real downer and checking around is better.
3) Fix an initial meeting: Arrange a meeting with a prospective graphics designer and discuss the website design. The designer should be asking questions about your company, its principles and its background for a truly personal and effective website design. It should not be a run of the mill design that is impassionate and which does not reflect the ethos of the company.
4) Discuss previous work: Look through different websites that were created by the company and ask them if all the illustrations were created by them or if they were just involved in the programming. Moreover, check the impact factor of the websites and discuss with them any problems that may exist with previously designed websites. On the other side, if you liked some of their earlier projects, discuss that too. You could ask them to include certain design types that impressed you.
5) Discuss internet marketing and SEO: Check with the company if they are involved with internet marketing and search engine optimization as the content they provide should be of high quality but compliant with SEO. This will not only ensure a great website but will also ensure that your website ranks among the top few in search results.
6) Monetary considerations: Ask them for the budget for the entire project, also ensure that you ask them if it includes any add ons and if they would maintain the site for a period of time. These are considerations that should be discussed in detail. Some designers offer to maintain the sites while certain others would refuse to.
7) Discuss ownership: The final website and all its content should be yours completely and any copying of content will be copyright violation. Only the rights of stock photos used will rest with the author. If you hire a graphics designer to illustrate then the illustrations should belong to you as an owner.
A reliable graphic designer will satisfy all these issues and will be open to suggestions that you put forth. When signing a contract with a busy graphic design company, determining a single point of contact will prove useful.