If you’re thinking about working with a designer then you’ll want to get the best out of the relationship – to ensure the work you end up with is thoroughly top bananas.
Here are my tips on how to become friends with a designer.
The Kitchen Fitter – a quick tale
Imagine if you were a kitchen fitter and you’ve come to fit a kitchen in a house, the design had been specced, feedback given and acted on then finalised.
You’ve spent hours fitting that kitchen and it’s all done, but as you’re about to leave the owners decide that they want a cupboard in a different place.
Firstly, the owners probably wouldn’t ask at that stage because they know how much hard work would go into rearranging everything but secondly, you’ve previously spent a long time with the kitchen shop working out what needs to go where.
Although graphic design doesn’t involve heavy lifting (for the most part), it does involve a planning, speccing and feedback process that requires following as close as possible. Moving that word two pixels to the right may have serious ramifications on the rest of the design.
Have all the project information up together to pass to your designer at the beginning, they’ll benefit from knowing as much information about your brand, project and future plans as possible at this stage. As the relationship and project develops things change but having a clear, solid brief upfront that both sides have discussed is a great start to this process.
This might sound strange if they’re only designing a simple banner ad for example – but them understanding more about you will allow them to produce work that reflects your personality and really help get your future plans in action.
As a quick example, say you are looking at getting 2000 more followers on Twitter within a specific timeframe, they can tailor your design to make this happen.
Don’t be afraid of sharing as much relevant information as possible. Some pertinent questions to ask yourself;
- who is your audience for this project
- why are you having this piece designed; what’s it’s purpose
- what results are you expecting to see
Understanding the reasons why will give some much needed insight into the goal for the piece of work you want created.
Don’t be afraid to sketch ideas out, no matter what level your art skills are, designers are visual, they will get a better idea from any sketches you send them.
If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask.
“Setting up design work can take time,
having to go back and rework one thing
may lead to the reworking of several elements.”
Be constructive, be specific and keep in mind the objective and brief. This may be the time that things alter slightly in terms of where you’re heading, most good designers don’t take things personally when feedback is given, and actively seek constructive criticism to better themselves, so don’t be afraid to be honest and fair.
Give feedback early, if a design is heading towards the final stages and feedback comes in with changes that could have been done several steps back this can be a pain (see kitchen fitter woes above).
Setting up design work can take time, having to go back and rework one thing may lead to the reworking of several elements. So take your time to check and double check the first draft, offering as much feedback as you need.
Why limit my changes?
Some designers offer only a few revision sets within the contracted timeframe and quote, this is because each change can involve more work than just the change itself, minor tweaks and changes could go on indefinitely – which takes the focus away from the bigger picture.
To avoid that, designers offer you a window of feedback opportunity, utilise those opportunities wisely and feedback as much as you can within those windows – this hones the mind into gathering everything up at once.
Feedback that goes along the lines of ‘I don’t like it’ isn’t too helpful when it comes to moving things forward. So if you don’t like it, let your designer know why you don’t like it. Is it the colour? The shape? The layout? Explaining your thoughts and giving some substance to your feedback really helps.
Asking other people
Creative work is subjective, everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has a full understanding of the brand, past, present and future.
Having a small amount of other people in on the project that are aware of your brand, future plans and audience are a valuable commodity. Bringing in Bob and Jean from next door may potentially put a spanner in the works, as they won’t be coming at it from a brand perspective.
Once all of the feedback and amends are out of the way – it’s time to wrap up and finalise. Make sure you’ve communicated everything you need for the project, if you’re not happy with something, your designer would rather the piece be perfect than releasing it with regrets, so express your concerns, there may be method in the designer’s ideas that you hadn’t considered.
To sum up
It’s like all relationships, they need good communication to work effectively, and it works both ways.
Take the time to build up a good brief beforehand, really understand the reasons why you want the design created.
Feedback clearly and with as much info as you can as early as you can.
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This post was originally written Aug 2016, updated May 2017