Where can I get a designer?


For my startup (web 2 SaaS) I am looking for a good designer, probably with HTML/JavaScript skills. It seems this is pretty difficult - all good people have jobs. So I am thinking about remote work. I am interested in co-founders and freelancers.

Are there any sites out there to get in touch with these graphics people? I already found some low-budget job centers, but this is not really what I am looking for. Any ideas are welcome.

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asked Jun 11 '11 at 16:58
3,590 points

11 Answers


Christian, try these:




These are some of my favorite places to keep track of the designs and designers. These are places where the best designers like to show ase work. Spend some time on them, find sites you like and see who designed them. There are good freelancers and boutique studios out there.

Some thoughts on working with designers:

-- Vet the portfolio, what you see is what you'll get since individual designers have particular styles.

-- Front-end programming skills are not the same thing as visual design skills. Two different disciplines. Again make sure you vet the portfolio to make sure you are comfortable with the visual style.

-- Design is service and as such is a function of time. The best designers tend to cost more because they spend more time thinking about your project and fine-tuning it. They don't treat their work as a commodity.

-- The best clients are neither too hands on nor too hands off. You want to give your designer a comprehensive brief at the beginning and constructive feedback throughout the process. But don't micromanage her or you may miss out on her surprising you.

I wouldn't go with elance.com or similar bc the quality of the design offered is mixed. I also don't like contest sites because you are asking a lot of people to work for free, and that's not good for the design profession. Choose a designer like you would a doctor and develop a long term working relationship.

Let me know if you need any more help.

answered Jun 11 '11 at 18:29
Miguel Buckenmeyer
482 points
  • Thanks Miguel these is a good starting point for me. It seems you have a similar thinking on that matter as I have. I will surely make use of your tipps. – Christian 13 years ago
  • Excellent response. – Carson McComas 13 years ago
  • I agree with a statement on elance.com. It's too time consuming to find quality providers and/or endlessly review work to get what you need, unless your needs are very specific and you just want execution against your design concept. – Webbie 12 years ago
  • Completely agree with the observation that front-end programming and design are not one and the same. Consider shopping for each separately, if it's rare to find a good designer, and rare to find a good front-end programmer, it's _very_ rare to find both in one individual. – Edwin Buck 11 years ago


I don't suggest elance, odesk or any other outsourcing/freelance service. I understand that cost is an important factor but these places have designers compete primarily on who can offer the lowest price. As a result you really only get inexperienced designers, most of whom don't even understand our culture. I've used these services in the past and I always ended up wasting more time and money than I could have anticipated plus the final artwork is usually pretty lame.

I've also tried the design contest websites but while the concept is great, they often don't produce the results I was expecting. Again, it is usually inexperienced designers who often don't understand the culture.

One of my friends who used to live in Seattle now runs his own R&D office overseas, so I now run my projects through him. The difference is that he understands the US culture and has direct access to a talented group of experienced designers and c# programmers, yet because he is overseas the cost remains fairly low.

Feel free to contact me and I'll pass his information on to you.

answered Mar 29 '12 at 15:32
21 points
  • thanks bill. It would be great if you could drop me a mail with your friends link. You can find my address at grobmeier.de/contact – Christian 12 years ago


My experience with design contest sites is you will get a lot of mediocre (even amateurish) entries but you might get one or two steller (or at least quite good) entries. Since they are not expensive compared to directly hiring a good web designer, it might be worth a chance.

My experience with sites for hiring independent contractors is that the sites can be very useful. Elance is very good and I think Odesk is probably quite good too. Pay attention to ratings and reviews of contractors.

The cold reality is that there are big income disparities between countries but not necessarily as big talent disparities. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what benefits that might provide to you.

answered Nov 27 '11 at 20:09
Dan Rothman
11 points


Absolutely! Many freelance sites exist, one of my favorites being Elance (elance.com). You can view designers, their portfolio, then hire them and manage the job. I've had a good experience on there

answered Jun 11 '11 at 17:01
174 points
  • Thanks, didn't know that site too. I will check it out after Miguels tipps. – Christian 13 years ago


I've met brilliant designers at Startup Weekends. If there's one in ore area, it's worth a visit.

For cheap and quick designs (but often quite good) have a look at Themeforest. The Admin designs area should have something suitable for a SaaS platform. You can also contact the authors of the designs for customisations.

answered Jun 12 '11 at 01:51
Filippo Diotalevi
2,573 points
  • excellent tip! will try that (startup weekends)! – Christian 12 years ago


check out 99designs.com

the name may sound cheap at first, but it's really a live community of designers where you set the price for your project, others submit work proposals and suggestions, and you pick up who you want to go with.

answered Jun 12 '11 at 07:41
Ron M.
4,224 points


You can also check out a site I recently launched Folyo.

It's a private job board where everyone has been approved by me personally, so you know you'll only get replies from skilled designers.

answered Nov 27 '11 at 05:20
101 points


As a freelance designer, I check mediabistro.com frequently. This website is not just a community of designers, but professionals.

answered Aug 2 '11 at 02:54
Meaghan Burke
21 points


You can check ODesk or 99Designs. Both have amazing talent.

answered Jun 12 '11 at 07:56
Rafferty Pendery
466 points


You should check out crowdSPRING. It's a website where you post a project, assign a budget and let others design it for you. The benefit is that you get multiple different design options, you get to communicate with the designers to let them know what you like and don't like and get to choose whether or not to award the money to someone at the end. It's essentially risk free.

The server has been used by large corporation such as Starbucks, Amazon, LG and many more. With that said, you set the price and other details so the designers will work with your budget.

answered Jun 13 '11 at 04:32
Francois Deschenes
101 points


Try http://dribbble.com, it is a community of designers.

answered Jul 5 '11 at 15:53
Aymeric Gaurat Apelli
221 points

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