Effective communication and collaboration are key in work and business relationships and lead to beautifully on-point marketing campaigns. However, designers often speak a different language using words such as white space, kerning, serifs, and other general rules of design. We don’t expect you to understand everything, that’s our job. We appreciate meeting in the middle. Here are our tips for communicating effectively with your designer:
1. Know the Basics
Take initiative to learn the main terms designers use so you can effectively communicate what your vision is. Know your competition. You want to stand out from them, not have a design that could possibly be their advertising. Have a clear project and end result in mind.
- Be clear about your ideas and goals with as much detail as possible. How do you envision the final design?
- Share as much as you can about your business, product or campaign, your target audience, and your competition. The design should reflect the culture and ambitions of your company/product/service (not your rivals). The more your designer knows the more precise their designs will be.
- Consider what you want your design to communicate with your customers. What messages, concepts, emotions or attitudes do you want to convey?
2. Do Your Research
Have references in mind. Images, colors, and possibly other designs you think suit your business. Again, know your end product and goal this will inform the final size and format of your project.
- Include details about size, resolution, format, file types, fonts, branding colors, and other branding materials.
- Know what you don’t like. Is there a trend, color, image or concept you want to avoid?
- Visual examples are super beneficial! Find examples and share with us.
3. Ask Questions
Good designers know how to explain their process, products, and services and are happy to do so! You may not have the answers to some of the questions we listed before. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
- Ask questions if something is unclear. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
- Ask about the details. No you don’t need to, (nor do you want to), know every detail, but there are basics you should be aware of.
- Ask about the best format. Your designer will help you pick the best size and format for your product to best reach your target audience.
4. Have Realistic Expectations
Be clear about your deadlines and expectations when a project is first discussed. Also, keep in mind a one-day turn-over is unrealistic. Most designers will do it, in exchange for a hefty “rush” fee. Typically there is a refined process in place to create the best product in a manageable time frame. This way everyone is happy.
Realistic expectations keep you from getting frustrated (and your designer as well) as will remembering the time, skill and knowledge needed to create a professional design.
- Discuss timelines and deadlines. This keeps everyone on the same page and ensures your end product is delivered on time.
- Quality, effective design takes time. There are 3 components to any design: Time, Quality, Money. Pick Two.
- Exceptions cannot always be made. A one-day turn-over is occasionally doable but do not be offended if the price increases dramatically or if the project is declined. Designers have other project deadlines to meet and will decline if they are unable to provide the attention your design deserves.
5. Allow Creative Freedom
Remember how we asked for references, but that’s all they are…references. Your designer cannot, with respect to other designers’ hard work and effort, create a design exactly like your pictures. They can, however, use elements that you admire. You’re paying your designer for their skills…and creative input! Have faith in their ability to use both.
- Trust your designer to both meet your needs and create an effective design.
- Copyright is a thing. Good designers don’t use images pulled off Google or copy another’s work.
- Expect three types of designs to choose from: what you are looking for, what you need, and one that is a little extraordinary.
6. Give Feedback
Designers cannot read minds! Without specific direction, you will not receive what you are looking for. After the first draft, this is the time to give constructive, specific feedback. Phrases such as, “I don’t like it”, or “It’s missing something” do not help a designer understand what you dislike.
- If a concept comes through that you do not want to proceed with, let your designer know ASAP. This will save time on both sides because your designer at least now knows what not to do.
- Mind reading isn’t a thing. No two people will ever imagine the same thing.
- Provide constructive, well thought out feedback so your designer can best meet your expectations.
- Keep what you “personally” like out of the equation. Instead, ask yourself what will work best for your business and the audience you are targeting.
7. Honor the Contract
Before your designer begins working on a project they will draw up a creative brief that explains exactly what they are doing for you, the timeline/deadlines, the format of the end project and more. Everything about the project will be there, every expectation and everything you’ve agreed to.
Sometimes things get mixed up, we understand, remember to look back over the contract so you are aware of exactly what your end product will be.
- Pay us on time, we have bills to pay too.
- Review the contract. If you believe we have made an error in delivering your final project, check your contract. It will tell you exactly what you were supposed to get, and both you and the designer can refer back to it to quickly resolve any issues.
- Extras cost more. If you want something that was not included in your contract, expect an “a-la-carte” fee.
There’s a lot to cover. In fact, a whole day wouldn’t be enough, but these are the key points. Keep these in mind and you will have a much smoother experience the next time you hire a designer.