Meta Refresh 2018

Meta Refresh 2018

The web in your pocket

Winona Laisram


How do I hire the right graphic designer? (freelance, in-house, and retainer)

Submitted Aug 8, 2018

With graphic design having suddenly taken off as an industry in India the way it has; both designers and employers seem to be bumping around in the dark trying to find each other. Headhunters, managers, CEOs, who are used to gauging a person’s value to the company from a black and white resume, are now faced with the esoteric task of reading a creative portfolio.

What are you supposed to look for in a creative portfolio? How do you know if someone will be the right fit? Is that brother-in-law’s friend’s kid’s cousin your colleague recommended really up to scratch or not? Is this a portfolio or a Tinder profile? I want to help answer these questions.

DISCLAIMER: I’m a print, graphics, and online/offline visual communications person, so this is my context. Some of the pointers may apply to UI/product/other designers but that’s not my forte so I won’t claim to know anything about that.


Here is a very specific list of things I’d be interested in addressing:

  • How do you find out what type of designer you need? (Graphic is too ambiguous)
  • Where do you look for designers?
  • What expectations should you have?
  • Do you really need a designer five/six days a week?

How do you read a creative CV?

  • What do educational qualifications mean?
  • Do they matter? Which ones matter?
  • Do years of experience matter? What am I looking for?
  • This person just graduated, do I take the risk?

How do you read a creative portfolio?

  • What are all these things?
  • How do I read them? (social media creatives, posters, illustrations etc)
  • I don’t see an example of the exact specific work that I want, does that mean I need to look elsewhere?
  • This portfolio is shiny but this one isn’t. What’s better?
  • How do I interpret whether or not what I’m looking for is in this portfolio?

Talking to your potential hire:

  • It’s important to ask the right questions (especially in the case of a recent graduate with a smaller portfolio). Design ethics are as important as the designs themselves.
  • What questions are relevant for me to ask, with regard to the role that needs to be filled
  • How do I interpret the answers
  • How do I know if this is the person to close the deal with?

Instilling confidence in your designer:

  • What fixable mistakes am I making that might cause a fitting designer to decline?
  • How do I discuss stipend?

Audience Questions


Nothing necessarily.

Speaker bio

I’m Winona Laisram, a graphics, communications, and illustration designer based in Bangalore.


  • Creative Lead of Marketing at Freshmenu
  • Teacher (Design Modules at Mount Carmel College)


  • Communication Studies, Mount Carmel College Bangalore
  • Visual Communication, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology

Selected Past Work:

  • Happy McGarryBowen India (Digital Media)
  • The Takshashila Institution (New Brand Identity and Communications, 2 year engagement)
  • The Solidarity Foundation (Communications Design, reports, social, events)
  • Namma Pride Bengaluru (Art director 2016, Pro-bono)
  • Kodagu Connect (Logo)
  • Myro Prosthetics (Logo)
  • Testsigma (Logo)
  • Human Rights Law Network (Wordpress blog design)
  • BRICS (Conference Booklet)
  • The Queer Arts Movement, India (Event Posters, Social Media)
  • Tattle Tale Marketing (2017 short gig, Instagram Product Posts)
  • Forum of Environmental Journalists, India (Print Design)


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