7 Best UX Portfolios For Hire Right Now – Agency Work
By Rob Williams
Agency UX designers need to be great at things outside of the design, like talking to clients and getting their feedback. This makes hiring a UX designer for your agency difficult, because these skills are way under-emphasized in most design communities.
As a result, finding a UX designer that can not only produce results for your clients but also present work coherently is one of the most difficult recurring tasks an agency owner has to accomplish.
Yet, their business depends on it.
Agency founders spend a great deal of energy and time finding, pitching, and closing great clients. Deals with these clients can mean high 6 figures or more over the course of their work together.
Keeping these clients happy and returning is the lifeblood of an agency.
That’s why an agency owner’s UX team can’t just produce good results, they also need to work extremely well with others (including other staff and client’s staff); sell their ideas, present their work, and take feedback directly from clients.
Hiring a UX designer who’s lackluster in any of these areas often means your clients get an inferior representation of your company, which is unacceptable.
Since these things aren’t emphasized in most schools or places like Dribbble and Behance, trusting your clients to the average UX designer is one of the riskiest propositions an agency owner can make. The last thing you need is a designer that’s condescending, ill-poised or bad at time management to represent your company. Yet with the amount of designers that fit this description on design platforms, hiring is a minefield.
How to hire dream UX designers for your remote agency.
In the past few months, I’ve been helping agencies hire quality designers a new way. I do it by sending their job out to my newsletter of vetted designers, jumping on 10-15 minute call with them and introducing the best ones to the agency owner (video of call included). This video provides the agency owner a chance to watch the designer talk about a relevant project in their portfolio, the problems their designed attempted to solve, and finally the results.
The result is the agency owner gets to meet designers on a deeper level than a dribbble profile prior to hiring. They get to see their faces, mannerisms, and how they think and talk about their work from the same perspective their clients will. This allows for an informed, calculated, hiring decision.
Both the agency, and the designers get to skip wasted time in the process.
As a bonus, I now have a nice collection of designers who I know I can go to when an agency owner is in need. So to share the wealth, and help solve the problem most agency owners face, below is a list of some awesome UX designers to hire right now if you’re a remote agency.
I created this list based on the following criteria:
- Experience in complex, enterprise, or large scale design systems.
- A special talent stack, including: passion, people-skills, time-management, and organization.
- 5+ years of experience in B2B or enterprise software or similarly complex domains.
- Experience in one of these industries: enterprise, manufacturing, systems monitoring, security, supply chain, inventory management, and wide-scale operations.
Here are my 7 favorite UX designers to hire right now if you’re a remote agency:
- Kevin Chang
Kevin’s rock-solid. He’s worked on projects for Guidea, Pivotal Labs, and the US Airforce. You can watch: Kevin walk me through a UX project for the US Air Force. On the side, Kevin rocks out in church band in his home base in Boston.
- Stas Kulesh
Stas is a great full-stack designer to that’s run an agency in the past and knows exactly what it’s like to be in your shoes. He’s also chatty and based in 🥝Auckland, New Zealand. Watch Stas walk me through several healthcare related projects.
- Jes Albro
Jes brings a holistic approach to UX design and has a passion for bringing amazing user experiences to life through coding. She’s worked with companies like Houghon Mifflin Harcourt, Matter Supply Co, and Wieden + Kennedy. You can watch Jes walk me through a recent UX project for a government alert app.
- Zach Smyth
Zach is an awesome, energetic, and fast-working UX designer. He’s got a ton of visual design chops and is prolific in designing apps for a ton of different startups. Zach walked me through a project for Pilot Propsal Software. He works out of St. Louis, MO.
- Brant Day
Brant is a meticulous UX designer who focuses on meaningful delight. He’s worked with huge projects for companies like Target, and BCSBS (which you can watch him walk through here) and works out of his home studio in Minneaoplis, MN.
- Rory Reiff
Rory is a UX designer in San Diego, CA who’s worked on a ton of awesome mobile UX projects. He’s also a pro at 💎Sketch and in fact, walked through a Sketch file recently.
- Trevor Wernisch
Trevor’s a UX designer in Austin who does contract work on the side. He infamously worked with the game studio Riot Games after writing an out of the box cover letter. He’s available for up to 20 hours a week.
These designers are all looking for UX design work right now – and I’d love to introduce you to any of them.
Reach out if you want an intro, or if you would like me to conduct a search specifically for you and create a list of awesome designers just for your agency.
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About Rob Williams...
I run Folyo which can help your remote company find the right designer in the next 7 days. I also host Freelance, a podcast about how you can be more effective at independent work featuring remote companies like Basecamp, Converkit, Highrise and more. If you're a designer looking for clients, you can also get a free 14-day trial of my referral newsletter today.
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