2 April 2019

The Most Common Mistakes When Hiring a Freelance Designer

We’ve been immersed in design for years, and not just as an agency. Many of us here at Bellman have worked as freelance designers ourselves. Suffice to say we know the ins and outs of what’s involved with hiring a freelance designer, from both an agency and designer perspective.

Whether you’ve hired freelance designers to do design work for your own brand or you’re a freelancer yourself, there are some common problems that can pop up during the creative process.

Want to avoid any unnecessary dramas? We’ve been there before. Let us explain the most common mistakes we see so you can avoid them.


It’s no secret that the best part of freelancing is the flexible schedule. But sometimes this can cause issues.

A good freelancer knows how important it is to rely on multiple clients rather than fewer. Diversifying income streams is always a smart move. However, particularly busy freelancers may have trouble finding a large enough block of time to dedicate to your project.

The last thing you want is to find an amazing freelance designer, then spend weeks going back and forth over if and when they’re able to fit your project into their busy calendar.

Man Working on His Design

Some people freelance on the side of their full-time job, which can mean they have less availability to work on your project. This is important to consider if you need someone to come into the office during business hours or have a tight deadline.

Working on something without getting paid can be devastating, and so can paying for a service that never gets delivered.

Again, a smart freelancer knows how to manage their time across all their clients, no matter how big their workload or how many other obligations they have. You should be confident that they’re not only skilled enough to deliver great results but can adequately prioritise your project.


There’s no “i” in “team”, but what if the team only consists of one person? Freelancers are usually responsible for not just their particular area of expertise (for example, design), but every other aspect of the business. It can be a liberating way to work. And yet it also means everything is relying on just one person.

This is why it’s so important for freelance designers to not just have a diverse set of design skills, but be totally reliable in every aspect of their business.

Most design agencies will have:

  • A creative director
  • An account manager
  • A team of designers

A freelancer, on the other hand, is all of those roles in one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that— it’s simply that there’s no one else to step in and help them keep the gears turning. That’s all on them.

After all, you don’t want to be caught without your project files when the one person with access falls ill.

Printing Color Gradients Packaging


Thought getting ghosted on Tinder was bad? Try getting ghosted in a working relationship.

There’s nothing worse than either commissioning or completing a project, only to have the person you’re working with disappear off the face of the planet.

This is a situation that we’ve seen many of our clients go through. We often have brands contact us after paying freelance designers to do some work on their branding, only to have the freelancer fail to follow through.

Their work shouldn’t just seem decent. It should wow you.

Working on something without getting paid can be devastating, and so can paying for a service that never gets delivered. The best thing you can do to avoid this — rather than choosing to work with experienced professionals — is to make sure you have a contract detailing the scope of work and payment.

What about a freelancer that just falls short? That might be a case of failing to properly check out their portfolio. Their work shouldn’t just seem decent. It should wow you.

And of course, be sure to get a detailed brief. That way there shouldn’t be any miscommunication between what the client wants and what the designer can produce.

Is your brand looking for design or branding work outside the scope of a freelancer? Our expert team of designers can help. Reach out and see what we can create for you.

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