Working with a graphic designer for the first time can be quite daunting. Entrusting your entire brand identity and reputation to a complete stranger may seem risky, but believe it or not, it’s actually a wise move from a business standpoint.
When you establish a solid collaboration with your graphic designer, the end result will surpass even your wildest expectations. However, it’s crucial to remember that the creative field operates differently.
To ensure you achieve the best possible outcome for your investment of time, energy, and money, we have compiled a list of seven invaluable tips for working harmoniously with a graphic designer:
- Demonstrate, don’t just explain
- Determine your needs beforehand
- Establish agreement on specifics
- Frame feedback as challenges, not solutions
- Embrace designers as team members
- Provide detailed explanations
- Maintain an open mind
- Crafting an effective design brief
By following these recommendations, you can maximize the potential of your collaboration and achieve outstanding results.
1. Demonstrate, don’t just explain:
Every client desires a design that truly “pops.” But what exactly does that mean? You may find yourself thinking, “I’ll recognize it when I see it,” and chances are your designer is in a similar situation. So why not opt for a show-and-tell approach?
Instead of relying solely on words, visually demonstrate your desired outcome to your graphic designer. Gather samples of styles you admire from various sources like logos, websites, advertisements, signs, t-shirts, and business cards. While it’s true that a picture speaks volumes, visuals also enable your designer to grasp the artistic subtleties and techniques you appreciate, allowing them to incorporate those elements into your project.
Don’t limit yourself to closely related examples either. Expand your horizons and unleash your creativity. Present your favorite Van Gogh painting as inspiration for your logo or an 18th-century newspaper clipping to convey the desired font for your website. By providing the designer with a visual representation of your preferences, you offer a more valuable and effective explanation than words alone.
If time permits, consider constructing a mood board filled with images, colors, icons, and typography that encapsulate your vision. Mood boards serve as an excellent starting point for solidifying a distinct visual style.
2. Determine your needs beforehand
When it comes to clients, they can generally be divided into two categories: those who have a clear vision of what they want and those who don’t. Care to guess which group tends to be more satisfied in the end?
The more you comprehend your own desires, the better equipped your designer will be to fulfill them. This understanding encompasses both the creative aspects (such as visual style, color scheme, and subject matter) and the business considerations (such as your target market, desired outcome, and main message). While it’s essential to entrust many of the creative decisions to the designer (after all, that’s why you’re hiring them!), certain business and branding choices cannot be made on their behalf.
Additionally, it’s crucial to establish the project’s scope early on. If you have specific requirements like an adaptable logo or a series of projects rather than a single one, it’s best to clarify these details sooner rather than later. A well-constructed creative brief, which serves as the fundamental outline of a project, can effectively communicate many of these preliminary aspects.
3.Establish agreement on specifics
While focusing on the creative aspects with your designer, it’s vital not to overlook the concrete details. Addressing elements such as deadlines, schedules, revisions, deliverables, and payment early on can help prevent numerous issues that may arise later in the project.
Ensure you establish reasonable timeframes for your projects. Setting realistic deadlines is crucial, as tight timelines can often lead to unfavorable outcomes.
Although negotiations regarding these practical matters may not be the most enjoyable part of the process for either party, they are essential to address. Having clear and definitive answers allows for a more streamlined design process, avoiding potential conflicts that may arise later, particularly regarding financial matters.
The importance of attending to minor details should not be underestimated either.
For instance, aspects like the final file format may seem trivial, but neglecting them can result in inconvenient or even catastrophic consequences. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to even seemingly small details to ensure a smooth and successful outcome.
It’s important to remember that the agreed-upon deadline applies not only to your designer but to you as well. If you expect your designer to deliver files on time, it’s equally important for you to fulfill your part by providing feedback or necessary resources promptly, as agreed upon. Instead of disappearing for weeks without any communication, it’s considerate to send an email and give your designer a heads-up if there’s a change of plans. While we understand that unexpected circumstances can arise, maintaining open communication about any alterations to the timeline is crucial for a successful collaboration.
4. Frame feedback as challenges, not solutions
Even the most skilled designers may not achieve perfection on the first attempt. It’s common for projects to involve multiple rounds of feedback. However, if you fail to articulate your criticism effectively, you may find yourself going through two, three, four, or even more rounds before reaching a satisfactory result.
One expert tip to expedite this process is to frame your feedback as problems rather than solutions. In other words, clearly express what is causing concern, but avoid dictating how to fix it.
For instance, let’s consider the evaluation of a website redesign. Constructive feedback could be something like, “We need to incorporate a call-to-action or a next step on the home page.” On the other hand, less effective feedback would be, “Place a big, red button right there!”
Keep in mind that your designer is a design expert.
By instructing them precisely what to do, not only do you disregard their expertise, but you also limit the opportunity for them to devise a solution that may surpass your own ideas. When providing feedback, highlight your needs but refrain from making the revisions for them. Allow the designer the space to exercise their creativity and problem-solving skills.
I wish all of our clients would know that their energy and enthusiasm gives us energy too. A lazy and uninterested client who expects a designer to do wonders with just five words of feedback probably doesn’t know what they want. Clients like that often disappear and give up on projects if they don’t like the direction of the first two concepts. We wish they would know that the more they talk and the more they are engaged, their designer will be too.
5. Embrace designers as team members
If you want to foster a friendlier relationship with your freelance graphic designer, consider treating them more like a friend or colleague. Designers are often perceived as mere service providers or replaceable assets, but by integrating them into your team, you can create a sense of camaraderie.
It starts with effective communication. Address your designer with the same level of respect you would give your coworkers. If you need to cancel a meeting, provide them with sufficient notice, just as you would with any other team member.
Moreover, extend some of the same privileges to designers as you would to regular employees. Grant them access to relevant company documents, such as market breakdowns, sales analytics, website data, and marketing personas. These resources can be highly valuable for graphic designers to gain a deeper understanding of your business goals.
Likewise, share your team’s contact information so that the designer can directly reach out to the appropriate individuals. If you serve as the sole intermediary between the designer and the rest of the company, it can create bottlenecks and hinder workflow efficiency. By facilitating direct communication channels, you promote smoother collaboration and minimize unnecessary delays.
6. Provide detailed explanations
In the realm of abstract concepts, providing ample explanation can be beneficial, contrary to the general notion that over-explaining is negative. Alongside visual examples, it is advantageous to furnish your designer with as much background information as possible.
Avoid using vague terms and lean towards providing more information rather than less. Alongside project parameters and creative styles, share your motives and business objectives with the designer.
What do you intend to achieve with this specific project? How does it align with your overall business strategy? Seasoned designers possess a deeper understanding of this domain than you might assume, and having access to these details can assist them in formulating even more effective design solutions.
7.Maintain an open mind
When you hire a graphic designer, you’re not just investing in their artistic skills, but also in their knowledge and expertise. It’s crucial to maintain an open mind when they propose new ideas that differ from your initial concepts.
Clients often have a fixed vision in mind and hire designers solely to bring that vision to fruition. However, graphic design is a complex and nuanced field, and the designer may possess insights about your vision that you aren’t aware of. The idea you have in your mind may not be as practical or effective as you believe, while the designer’s alternative concept could tick more boxes and yield better results.
Place trust in your designer’s abilities.
While your input is valuable, it’s advantageous to blend your ideas with the expertise of a professional rather than stubbornly holding onto a subpar concept. The final outcome presented by your designer may not align exactly with your initial vision, but that can often be a positive aspect.
“The more informed the client is, the smoother the process becomes. There’s no magic formula to make the process effortless other than patience from both sides and guidance from us designers to overcome any obstacles.”
By fostering open communication, patience, and collaboration, both you and your designer can navigate the design process more effectively, leading to a successful outcome.
Trust is a crucial element in working with graphic designers, especially when you’re collaborating with someone new. However, once you gain a better understanding of how to effectively work with them, you’ll be prepared for a creative partnership built on trust, resulting in the realization of your ideas.
When it comes to logo design, you can count on us to meet your needs and deliver outstanding results.