What Not To Say To A Designer


What Not To Say To A Designer | Blog by Hello I'm Nik Design


Us designers can be a difficult bunch, we use a different language to communicate and software that only we understand…. but it helps to ask the right questions to get the best out of us.

Here are 10 things I’ve heard that have made me slightly less productive.

We don’t have much money, but it’ll be great exposure for you.

I do occasionally do work for free, when it’s something I’m passionate about, or if it’s something I really want more experience in. However, I’ve never walked into a shop, handed my shopping to the cashier and said “sorry, I don’t have much money, but I’ll tell all my friends how great this supermarket is”. If you want a good job done by a professional and experienced designer, please never say this to them.


We don’t have a brief/the copy, but can you just get a quick mock up to us?

The biggest aid to getting an accurate solution to any design problem is to truly understand what is required. When there is no explanation or brief, the designer can’t give you want you need. This is the main issue I’ve had since I began my freelance career, which has meant I’ve had to create a list of questions to ask anyone who doesn’t quite know which direction they need to go in. But, nothing quite beats having a well thought out brief, so if you’re thinking of hiring a designer, get your thinking cap on and give them as much information as they need to be able to grasp what you’re looking for.


Yeah, I like it, but just send it to me and I’ll redo it?

When you’re a creative, there isn’t always just one answer to a problem, and occasionally the relationship between client and supplier isn’t the right fit; sometimes that’s because of personality, sometimes inadequate briefing or miscommunication, not everything was meant to fit together, and that’s just the way the world spins.


Could you lower your price, because I could do this myself?

As a designer, this is fairly insulting. And if you could do it yourself, please…feel free.


How about we use some clipart?

Clipart has been around for quite some years, it’s generally avoided in the industry – it’s created quickly, badly and is incredibly generic, which is completely the opposite to what decent graphic designers produce.


Can you just do X, it won’t take long?

There are some things that I can create quickly – some days the creative juices are flowing and it falls into line, some days not. One of the hardest things for me to learn in the early days as a designer was to calculate work cost / time but saying it won’t take long isn’t going to help it take less time. Creativity x Inspiration = time taken.


Can we have this (photoshop file) as a word document?

You can’t create/export/mould a .psd file into a .doc word document. That really is as far as I can go with that one.


I found this on Google images, can you make it bigger and change the colours?

Firstly, one thing people don’t realise is that the images you can find on Google images are in the main, copyrighted. So, never assume you can use them. Secondly, most design work requires high resolution images, Google images generally doesn’t hold high res images. Take your own photos, hire a photographer to produce shots for you, but never use Google images.


I’m not sure I like this one (3 revisions later), can we go back to the first one?

Sometimes this is something that occurs, not just client-side but designer-side too, on occasions, I’ve worked my way through 3 revisions and I actually prefer what I created first.


I’m not even going to explain why asking a designer to make something pop is the worst thing to hear….. *cries*


So there are my 10 things you probably shouldn’t say to a designer if you want to keep them productive and happy, thank you for reading and if you’ve had any experiences that you’d like to share, please feel free to comment :)


Hello I’m Nik, I provide mindful social media
marketing as well as brand + marketing design for
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