How to Find a Great Designer on Upwork (formerly oDesk)

Where to Find Professionals

Here’s a short video tutorial on the strategies that I have used for finding a great and high quality designer on Upwork (formerly called oDesk). Running time: 6 minutes

Video transcription below…

I don’t know if you’ve tried finding designers before. But, my experience is if you try and find a designer and you post a project for a designer, you tend to get a lot of applicants that are very average quality and the design really frankly is not very good. You might get 20, 30, 40 applicants from India where the design skills are a little bit to be lacking.

What you need to do is have a look at the couple of strategies that I’ve employed which worked really really well to find top level designers.

This is going to cost you more money. You’re not going to find an amazing designer for $2 an hour, $3 an hour. It’s just NOT going to happen because top level designers know that they are worth more than that. So, you need to be willing to pay more.

If you’re looking for the very base kind of level jobs, then you could consider just getting a cheaper designer. Like if you’re looking for someone just to do some kind of photo retouching or something that’s easier, then you may not need that high level designer.

We’re looking for “how do you create great user interfaces”, “how do you create great design.”

Post a project

First of all, you post a project. I’m not gonna go into that because it’s fairly simple. Obviously, select the design category, etc.

The Little Trick

The little trick that I have is that most or almost all great designers are now on one of these two platforms: Dribbble and Behance.

These are really great platforms for finding designers. But, the problem is when you post and you contact people on these sites (which I have done before), you tend to find that they charge you an awful lot of money. I’ve seen rates of 50 Euros, 100 Euros per hour, minimum 2000 Euros, “$2000 to do a project for me” which I really expected only to be $200.

It’s very very expensive in a lot of cases. They’re not kind of on the comparable level to the Upwork/Odesk type of rates that I’m looking for.

[On the Behance site], almost all I would say top level designers are on these sites. They all hang out here and they’re fantastic design sites.

After you’ve posted a project [on Upwork], you can’t just wait and let people apply. You need to proactively search for people to find those great designers because they’re not necessarily everyday sitting there and looking for jobs. They’ve got jobs. They’ve got some work. If you wait for the people to apply, you won’t necessarily get the best people. You need to make sure that you actually proactively go out and contact people on Upwork.

So how do you do that?

I actually searched for just “Dribbble.” It’s with 3 B’s. It’s a funny spelling of Dribbble. You find there’s only a few options. There’s only a hundred or so people that are put in the design category and you see a lot of people with great UI/UX experience.

Even the people in the Philippines that have a job profile – not all of them are fantastic. But, even the people in Bangladesh, I’ve seen that their profiles are actually really really nice and the type of work they’ve done is really great. So, even in these developing countries you can find great designers as well. That’s the trick.

Contact Several People

Now you need to actually contact several people. You can’t just contact 2 or 3 people. You need to go through and contact I would say 20 people so that you make sure that you’re getting enough responses. You can then compare the applicants and then select someone for the job.

Look at the Rates

You may want to also look at the rates like… “this guy’s a hundred dollars an hour,” maybe too expensive for you. Usually they do cost less than the rates that are recorded here so you don’t need to worry too much about that. But you can see some very big differences in the rates here. Some are $15. Some are $40.

My experience is that you’re not going to find any good designers under $15 an hour (based on the jobs that I’ve posted previously).

If you don’t have any idea what a good design is then that’s also a problem. I don’t really have a solution for that. It’s really going to be up to you just to compare the different kinds of design they’ve done before. Have they done a lot of mobile design? Have they got mobile designs that are similar to the kind of thing that you are looking for? They should have designs that are very very similar to what you are looking for and the sort of quality.

If you can’t see great quality designs on their portfolio, move on. It’s not the right person.

So that’s basically how to do it.

Other Options

There are some other options out there such as 99designs which is a great site as well. But, it’s a completely different concept which is that you post a project and then you get a bunch of different designers competing and you select the one that you liked the best.

It will end up being a little more expensive. But, you’ll get a lot more comparison. This is probably a good idea for logos. But, if you need a lot of constant design worked on, if you’re looking at user interface work, if you’re looking at something where you’re constantly improving your app or website then this is not going to work because this is more for just one specific idea or the initial idea for your website, the initial idea for your logo. It can be good for that.

But, if it’s an ongoing work then I would suggest looking at Upwork and hiring someone in there. Thank you very much!

And one last thing…

We’ve had a number of clients who are requesting for a white label version of Upwork’s Work Diary software.

If you’re familiar with how this tech works, we’ve developed a feature that will allow your business to use Time Doctor as a white label–you can track your workers’ time and generate reports for billing clients without them knowing that the tracking and reporting is actually done by Time Doctor. This article explains it in more detail.

Rob Rawson

Rob Rawson

Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.

1 Comment

  • Fingerprint says:

    Thanks for the great tips! I do have a question however that I think you could probably answer.
    I was wondering, What is difference between Interaction design, Visual Design, Web design, UX design, UI design, UI
    development? I’m really confused about how they are differnet.
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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