Choice Can Be A Good And Bad Thing
For many businesses, finding a good packaging designer can be simple, by selecting one from a range of different designers, or frustrating, by the sheer variety of agencies around. A little like going into a music shop and going right to what you are looking for, or being overwhelmed by the sheer choice to go through.
There are a number of factors to consider before selecting the right designer to work with (work with meaning that they need to work alongside you rather than just design the packaging); although choosing the wrong designer will result in a product that will not sell.
Does the packaging designer have experience in designing similar products to yours? If your product is for the retail industry, to children under 7 years old, then talking to a designer that has experience in the medical industry is not very sensible. You would be better talking to a packaging designer that has experience in designing for the retail industry and know about how to target children of that gender & age group.
All designers carry different experience be it in the retail industry, medical, books, toys, chocolates etc. so selecting one that has done design work in your market is very wise.
Visiting a designer is always wise, although planning and discussion can occur over e-mail; real communication should be kept to face to face meetings. This gives the chance for 'chewing the cud' and thrashing out in-depth details.
A meeting also gives the opportunity to control 100% of the designers attention (rather than them answering to your e-mail while listening to music and texting a friend) and ensuring they are completely focused on your needs rather than you just being 'another client '.
Price is always a factor; for any business (especially the smaller ones) price is going to be a deciding factor as to which designer is chosen. Choosing the cheapest based on price is unwice, as the finished product is unquely to be as good as it could have been paid a little more; however cost has to be considered and compared against others.
The best advice that can be offered when talking to different packaging designers is to take your time, do not rush into choosing a designer due to getting one in place. Take your time and look around at different designers; have a look at their portfolio's (to make sure that they have the desired experience in your market) and do not be afraid to ask for referrals. By talking to a few 'current' customers, you should be able to get a feel for what they are like, speed of service, if they can take initiative, if they offer value for money etc.