The secret to hiring a designer

We just rebranded and redesigned the entire Grouper site in about 3 weeks. We came in under budget, perfectly on time, and the results exceeded our expectations. It couldn’t have gone any better.

We owe much of this to a single piece of brilliant advice we received a few months ago, which applies equally well to hiring a designer part-time or full-time.

I was chatting with Aaron Epstein and Darius Monsef (aka Bubs), the founders of Creative Market and Color Lovers — both awesome, designer-focused sites. I figured if anyone would have pro tips about working with designers it’d be them. They didn’t disappoint and delivered this gem:

Make sure you like the designer’s style so much that you would trust them to create a design for you without any input.

If you try to force a designer into a style that’s not their own it’s often slow and painful; if they’re working in their own favorite style it’s usually smooth sailing.

I spent hours and hours sifting through hundreds of Dribbble profiles looking for styles that I loved as-is. I settled on an awesome 22 year-old designer from LA named Kyle Miller.

We knew we wanted to do something retro to echo our product itself, which is all about getting back to what matters — your relationships with friends, old and new, in the real world. Kyle’s take on mid-century modern is simply brilliant and is perfect for Grouper with little or no changes.

Working together was a breeze. Since I liked and trusted his taste so much, the revisions were few in number and usually concrete rather than creative in a nature. The small number of revisions let us work much faster than we could have otherwise. Not only did we come in perfectly on time and under budget, but we were even able to expand the scope of the project to include additional designs and even new t-shirts.

I’m particularly thankful about the T-shirts in light of my previous post. They’ll be available soon at


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