There is a common misconception that graphic designers are all about being “right-brain”, that is, they are viewed as artistic, creative and visionary, but maybe not very “left brain” logical, disciplined and strategic. Common, but not true. Let’s not forget that as commercial designers they are talented at translating business issues into creative communications that will support a brand’s strategies.
In order to make this synthesis happen, it is essential to have a good working relationship with the designers with whom we engage. And clear, consistent communication is the foundation of this process, regardless of what the execution is, or what field, or industry we’re talking about. As in any business situation, it is always important to outline your objectives and expectations upfront being very clear and concise about what the needs of the project are.
Here are some tips in how best to work with a designer:
- Set Clear Business Objectives
Your graphic designer will need to know upfront what the goals of your project are. In order to execute a design effectively, this may include the exact nature of your business, information on your target audience, specific objectives and goals for your marketing materials. Disclosing this information to your designer is absolutely necessary in order for them to deliver on a project that will accomplish your goals.
Be clear and transparent with your designer concerning how this project aligns with your business goals.
For example, your goals might include differing objectives as converting leads into sales, building brand awareness, or growing your email list. Naturally, the execution of the project will be very different depending on the goals you select. Your designer needs to know this.
- Create Collaboration Channels
From the very beginning of the project, you and your designer should determine how best to communicate on an ongoing basis. Initially, an in-person meeting or video conference through a platform like Skype might be ideal when introducing the project information. Once the project is underway, it may not be efficient for you and the designer to do this every time. In that case, consider using other channels such as email, text or phone to handle the day-to-day questions that develop as a project progresses.
Determine early on, which will be the most effective form of communication. You may want to consider using a project management platform, such as RedBooth or Basecamp.
- Timing and Planning
With any project, the importance of time management and planning is crucial to delivering a successful communication. A clearly defined timetable and milestones for design projects should be established at the beginning of the project.
It’s especially important to identify soft deadlines and firm completion dates so that they can accommodate your designer. Providing only a firm deadline does not address the need for revisions and discussions that might be necessary during the project. By creating “soft deadlines” for sub-tasks, you are making it much easier to collaborate with your designer by including them in the overall project plan.
Planning is also imperative when working with a creative team, rather than just an individual. The more people involved in the process, the more communication and clarity will be necessary to address the complexities of a team-driven project.
Following these tips provides a framework that will make it easy for the designer to be creative and deliver the best final work product. They will also reduce the stress of managing the project since you and the designer will have both set clear expectations for the work and understand what you are trying to achieve together as partners.