One of the greatest struggles in our industry is gaining clients. Everyone knows they should probably hire a designer but when it comes down to crunch time, most don't in many cases.
If you cut corners and go the online design site route, you may score a great designer that really understands your brand . . . from Brazil . . . that doesn't understand the market you're in . . . that only cost you $50 for that logo . . . that you put up with . . . and you haven't be able to get a hold of them since they finished the logo for a new format . . .
Hmmmm . . . not sounding that great anymore is it.
Though these sites can offer extremely affordable design options, they often don't understand what you are trying to achieve as a business, you don't know where the design has come from and may infringe on copywrite and you often can't reach them after the project is finished - some even get stuck with low-res formats that become a struggle for future projects.
This can be detrimental for your brand perception. Lacking consistency in a brand often creates a lack of comfort with a business, forming a lack of trust. A well designed delivery of messaging, content and branding can instantly build customer confidence.
Confident customers will become loyal customers which will form long term relationship with your business and word of mouth is a natural extension of this.
So when you're deciding to start your business or rebrand, here are a couple things to look out for:
Review previous work to see if they are skilled in what they claim to do.
Review their process - what do they have to keep the project on track eg. time management software.
Discuss and set a reasonable date for submitting the first concept - this is more to see their communication skills rather then to hold them to it. You want to be sure that even if it's not going to happen within the time frame, they keep a very transparent line of communication.
Get every format you can. Especially when it comes to logos - other then the standard JPG and PNG - make sure you also get PDF and EPS. These will be helpful for when you need merchandise made or large format.