How to Hire a Game Designer: A Clear Guide

Game designers play a critical role in the gaming industry, and finding the right one for your business can be a daunting task. With so many factors to consider, it’s important to understand the role of a game designer, the skills required, and how to evaluate their portfolio.

This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to hire a game designer.

When it comes to hiring a game designer, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what the role entails.

Game designers are responsible for creating:

  • The games concept
  • The game mechanics
  • The games rules.

They work closely with other members of the development team, such as programmers and artists, to ensure that the game is engaging, fun, and challenging. A good game designer should have a strong understanding of game mechanics, be creative, and have excellent communication skills.

If you are specifically hiring for an indie game designer role, you will probably want someone who’s skills in game design span a number of the areas listed below.

The hiring process can be overwhelming, but it’s important to take the time to find the right candidate. This article will guide you through the process, from evaluating a game designer’s portfolio to working with them on your project. We’ll also cover legal and financial considerations to keep in mind when hiring a game designer.

How to hire a game designer

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the role of a game designer is crucial when it comes to hiring the right candidate.
  • Evaluating a game designer’s portfolio is an important step in the hiring process.
  • Working with a game designer requires clear communication and legal and financial considerations.

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Understanding the Role of a Game Designer

Game designers are responsible for creating the overall design of a video game. They are involved in the game development process from the initial concept to the final product. Game designers work closely with other members of the development team, including programmers, artists, and writers, to ensure that the game is engaging and enjoyable for players.

The design of a game is a critical component of its success. Game designers are responsible for creating the game’s mechanics, rules, and objectives. They must consider the target audience and ensure that the game is accessible and enjoyable for players of all skill levels. Game designers must also be able to balance the game’s difficulty level to keep players engaged without making it too challenging.

Game designers have various responsibilities, including:

  • Developing the game concept and design document
  • Creating game mechanics, rules, and objectives
  • Balancing the game difficulty level
  • Designing the game’s characters, levels, and environments
  • Testing and debugging the game
  • Collaborating with other members of the development team

Overall, game designers play a crucial role in the success of a video game. They are responsible for creating the game’s design, mechanics, and objectives, and ensuring that the game is engaging and enjoyable for players.

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Skills Required for a Game Designer

Game designers need a combination of technical, artistic, and communication skills to succeed in their field. Here are the main skills that a game designer should possess:

Technical Skills

Game designers should have a good understanding of programming languages such as C and C++, as well as game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. They should be able to write code and debug it, and have a solid grasp of game mechanics and physics. A game designer should also be familiar with software development tools such as Git and JIRA.

Artistic Skills

Game designers should have a good sense of graphic design and be able to create compelling visuals for their games. They should be able to work with 2D and 3D graphics, and have a good understanding of color theory, composition, and typography. A game designer should also be able to create storyboards and concept art, and have a good understanding of animation and special effects.

Communication Skills

Game designers should have excellent communication skills and be able to work collaboratively with other members of the game development team. They should be able to articulate their ideas clearly and concisely, and be able to give and receive constructive feedback. Game designers should also have strong writing skills and be able to create compelling narratives for their games.

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The Hiring Process – How to Hire a Game Designer

When it comes to hiring a game designer, it’s important to have a clear process in place to ensure you find the right candidate for the job. This section will cover two key sub-sections to help guide you through the hiring process: Where to Look for Game Designers and Interviewing Potential Candidates.

Where to Look for Game Designers

There are a variety of places you can look to find game designers for your project. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Job boards: Posting your job on job boards like Indeed or Glassdoor can help you reach a wider audience of potential candidates.
  • Freelance websites: Platforms like Upwork or Freelancer can connect you with freelance game designers who can work on your project on a contract basis.
  • Social media: Posting about your job opening on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter can help you reach a more targeted audience of game designers.

When looking for game designers, it’s important to consider their experience, skills, and portfolio. Look for designers who have experience working on similar projects, have the necessary technical skills, and have a portfolio that demonstrates their ability to create engaging and innovative games.

Interviewing Potential Candidates

Once you’ve identified potential candidates, it’s time to start the interview process. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Prepare a list of questions: Before the interview, prepare a list of questions that will help you evaluate the candidate’s experience, skills, and fit for the job.
  • Ask for portfolio examples: During the interview, ask the candidate to walk you through their portfolio and explain their design choices and thought process.
  • Evaluate their communication skills: Game designers need to be able to communicate their ideas effectively. During the interview, evaluate the candidate’s communication skills by asking them to explain their design choices and respond to feedback.

By following these tips and having a clear process in place, you can find the right game designer for your project.

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Evaluating a Game Designer’s Portfolio

How to Hire a Game Designer - Chau Ho is a great example!
Check out this great example of a Game Designer Portfolio from Chau Ho

When evaluating a game designer’s portfolio, there are several key factors to consider. These include the quality of the portfolio, the designer’s artistic abilities, their game design skills, and their understanding of game mechanics.

First and foremost, it’s important to evaluate the quality of the portfolio itself. The portfolio should be well-organized and easy to navigate, with clear descriptions of each project. It should also showcase a variety of projects that demonstrate the designer’s range of skills and experience.

In addition to evaluating the portfolio as a whole, it’s also important to consider the designer’s artistic abilities. This includes their ability to create visually appealing and engaging game art, as well as their proficiency with tools like Photoshop, Maya, or Unity.

Another important factor to consider is the designer’s game design skills. This includes their ability to develop engaging game mechanics, create compelling narratives, and design levels that are both challenging and fun to play.

Finally, it’s important to evaluate the designer’s understanding of game mechanics. This includes their ability to analyze existing games and identify what makes them successful, as well as their ability to design new mechanics that are unique and engaging.

Obviously, the caveat here is that you may be hiring for different roles, so focus on making sure the applicants skillset matches the role you are advertising. However, it is still beneficial to check their understanding of all these ancilliary tasks to measure their abilities to work within the team and have a solid understanding of the different roles that exist.

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Working with a Game Designer

When working with a game designer, it is essential to establish clear and effective communication channels, as well as maintain a collaborative approach throughout the development process.

Additionally, it’s crucial to implement effective project management techniques to ensure that the game development project runs smoothly and adheres to its schedule.

Implementing these techniques helps manage resources, monitor progress, maintain communication across teams, mitigate risks, and resolve issues efficiently.

A keen understanding and practical knowledge of project management can significantly influence a game’s success, affecting factors such as completion time, budget, team morale, and the final product’s quality.

Communication and Collaboration

Communication is key when working with a game designer. It is important to establish a clear line of communication and ensure that both parties understand each other’s expectations and requirements. Regular meetings, whether in-person or virtual, can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any issues or concerns are addressed in a timely manner.

Collaboration is also crucial when working with a game designer.

Designers bring a unique perspective to the project, and their input can be invaluable in creating a successful game. Encouraging the designer to share their ideas and thoughts can help to create a more well-rounded and engaging game.

Project Management

Proper project management techniques must be implemented to ensure that the project runs smoothly and on schedule. This includes setting clear goals and deadlines, as well as assigning tasks and responsibilities to team members.

Utilizing project management tools, such as Clickup, Trello or Asana, can help to keep everyone organized and on track.

Here are some project management methodologies that may be useful for a game designer to know, and you may want to investigate the methods your applicants are familiar with prior to hiring:

  1. Agile: This iterative approach to project management and software development helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. It advocates adaptive planning, early delivery, and continuous improvement.
  2. Scrum: A subset of Agile, Scrum is often used in game development. It involves sprints (short, scheduled periods of work) and daily stand-ups to track progress.
  3. Kanban: This is a visual system for managing work as it moves through a process. Kanban visualizes both the process (the workflow) and the actual work passing through that process.
  4. Lean: Lean project management eliminates wasteful practices and improves efficiency. It’s about delivering value to the customer more efficiently.
  5. Waterfall: This sequential approach is helpful for projects with clear, unchanging requirements. Each stage is completed before the next one begins, providing a straightforward way to manage tasks.
  6. Critical Path Method (CPM): This technique identifies the critical and non-critical tasks from project start to end and prevents timeframe problems.
  7. PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments): A process-based approach for project management providing an easily tailored and scalable method for the management of all types of projects.

Understanding these methodologies will empower a game designer to better manage their tasks, interact effectively with their team, and successfully deliver on project goals.

It is important to be flexible and adaptable when managing a game development project. Unexpected issues or delays can arise, and it is important to have contingency plans in place to address these situations.

When it comes to hiring a game designer, there are several legal and financial considerations that you should keep in mind. These include budget, contract, and copyright issues.


First and foremost, you need to have a clear budget in mind when hiring a game designer. Game design can be an expensive process, so it’s important to know how much you can afford to spend before you start looking for candidates.

Be sure to take into account not only the designer’s salary, but also any additional costs such as software, hardware, and office space.


Once you’ve found a game designer that you want to hire, you’ll need to draw up a contract. This contract should outline the terms of the designer’s employment, including their salary, benefits, and any other perks that you’re offering. It should also include details about the project itself, such as the timeline, milestones, and deliverables.

When creating a contract, it’s important to work with a lawyer who specializes in game design. They can help ensure that your contract is legally sound and that it protects your interests as an employer.

For advice and guidelines on how to create a solid contract, consider consulting with the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) resources or similar industry-focused groups. They provide various resources and can often recommend legal professionals who specialize in the game industry.

Additionally, various online platforms like Upwork or LegalZoom provide access to legal advice and contract templates.

However, always ensure any advice or template is reviewed and adapted by a legal professional to fit your specific needs.

Finally, it’s important to consider copyright issues when hiring a game designer. Game design involves creating intellectual property, which means that you’ll need to make sure that you own the rights to the work that your designer produces.

To protect your copyright, you should include a clause in your contract that assigns all rights to the intellectual property created during the project to your company. You should also work with a lawyer to ensure that your copyright is properly registered and protected under the law.

In summary, when hiring a game designer, it’s important to have a clear budget in mind, draw up a legally sound contract, and protect your copyright by assigning all rights to the intellectual property created during the project to your company.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications should I look for when hiring a game designer?

When hiring a game designer, look for candidates with a degree in game design, computer science, or a related field. Candidates with experience in game development, programming, and graphic design are also desirable.

What experience should a game designer have?

A game designer should have experience in game development, programming, and graphic design. They should have a portfolio that showcases their work and demonstrates their skills.

What questions should I ask during the game designer interview?

During the game designer interview, ask questions about the candidate’s experience, skills, and portfolio. Ask them to describe their design process and how they work with a development team.

How can I assess a game designer’s technical skills?

Assess a game designer’s technical skills by reviewing their portfolio and asking them to complete a design test. You can also ask them to describe their technical skills and how they have used them in previous projects.

What should I expect to pay for a professional game designer?

The salary for a professional game designer varies depending on their experience and location. According to Game Developer, the average salary for a game designer in the United States is around $70,000 per year.

How can I ensure that the game designer I hire is a good fit for my team?

Ensure that the game designer you hire is a good fit for your team by reviewing their personality and communication skills. Look for candidates who can work well with others and are open to feedback. You can also ask for references from previous employers to get a better idea of their work style.

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