How to Hire an Offshore Web Designer

How can you tell a good web designer from a bad one? Here are guidelines in hiring an offshore web designer when you're not one.

Learn the ropes.

You don't need to be an expert but you need to know the best practices of good web design. Here are the basics:


  • keep the file size small to prevent slow pages, preferably around 10-12 kb
  • use graphics that match your content unless they are used to design a page
  • use animated/Flash graphics sparingly
  • test colour combinations and look at colour palettes


  • keep it simple - this will make your website easy on the eye for readers and highlight what is necessary (here are some layout examples for your homepage)
  • white space is important - it makes your website look organised and skimmable
  • use graphics as part of the layout
  • place important information above the fold
  • make sure that your website passes the blink test
  • consider different resolutions and devices (tablet, mobile, laptop)


  • limit to 2-3 standard font families
  • consider what font (which matches your design) will look best on the screen
  • strip unnecessary characters to keep file size low
  • if you want something more than your typical web safe fonts, make design choices based on your typeface


  • if you chose to monetise your site through ads, make sure that they are relevant to your target audience

Smashing Magazine and A List Apart are good sources of information about web design. Awwwards and Behance are good sources of inspiration.

Write a detailed brief.

Think about what you want for your website and consider these factors:
  • user experience
  • target audience
  • needs and pain points of your customers
  • what motivates your customers to make a purchase decision
  • marketing objectives and business goals
You can use Balsamiq to create a mock-up. It is a web-based wireframing software that has a 30 day free trial.

Search the market.

You can outsource web design to get quality talent at half the cost and reinvest your savings on web development and marketing. Demand for a portfolio. Pick an offshore web designer who has experience in your type of business and industry. An eCommerce website would need a different approach from a company website. Likewise, a B2B company would need a different approach from a B2C company.

There are two ways to outsource web design:

Hire a Freelancer

This is informal and easy to set up, but takes more effort to manage. You'll be responsible for recruitment and employee management. This is better for short-term arrangements.

Hire Offshore Staff

This is convenient, but you have to sign up for a contract. The offshore outsourcing company will be responsible for recruitment, day-to-day management, and other administrative tasks. This is ideal for long-term projects.

Here are traits you should look for:

  • Impartiality - recommends options that fit your business goals
  • Context - knows the impact of design on web development and SEO; considers usability, content, browser capability, and typography 
  • Communication - can communicate technical jargon in layman's terms
  • Project management - has a plan to track and document work

Web design projects are rife with horror stories. The common complaint is that clients hijack the design process, which leads to outdated and plain awful work. On the other hand, web designers do little to improve the project and execute whatever is requested.

This is completely avoidable as long as both parties collaborate. You should understand that design isn't subjective and set expectations. Web designers should level with the client.

Determine your needs, pick the right offshore partner if you opt for offshore staff leasing, collaborate with your web designer, and manage the outsourcing relationship.

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