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I recently had a conversation with another library marketer who was looking to build her team. She was trying to figure out where to start. Without hesitation, I told her to start hunting for a rock star graphic designer.

With the emphasis on visuals as a key part of marketing, a graphic designer is arguably the most valuable member of your marketing team. A great artist can create a consistent look and feel to everything surrounding your library’s brand. He or she can be the touchstone for all projects. You want your customers to be able to recognize your visuals as being part of your brand, even before they spot your name or logo on the material. A good artist can convey the message of your library without actually using your library’s name. They can listen to you convey a vague idea and create something visually stunning which helps enhance your customer experience.

So what should you look for in a good library graphic artist?

1. Someone with good customer service. Your artists will be working with multiple departments, with branches, with customers, and with outside partner agencies. You need someone who can listen to your clients, understand their needs, and translate their vision.
2. Someone who can communicate with your customers. Ask your candidates how they will create pieces for different age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and interests. Make sure your artist can switch viewpoints and create visuals that speak to many different library audience segments.
3. Someone who can translate your library strategy and goals into visuals. These are complex concepts. A good artist will take big ideas and turn them into a visual the audience can understand. Ask for examples of infographics and annual reports from previous employers or internships. Can you understand what the message is? Are the statistics presented in a clear and interesting way?
4. Someone who can work with multiple formats. You’ll be asking your artist to create print and digital graphics, so they should be comfortable working with both. Ideally, you should also look with experience in web design, video production, and animation.
5. Someone with a vision. You’ll want to make sure your graphic designer will stay on top of the latest trends in design so your marketing material doesn’t look dated.

Does your Library have a graphic artist on staff? Share your thoughts on visual marketing and graphic artists in the library with other readers in the comments section!

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Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.