The graphic designer’s purpose is to provide you with the logos, artwork, and designs that best fit your business, personality, industry, and target market. The artwork should convey the products or services you offer in an effective, yet simple manner. The experience of accomplishing that purpose can be extremely smooth and pleasant, so long as you know what to expect upfront, and you understand that your job is to work with your designer (not just let them run loose to create with little direction.) Once this is understood, utilize these 9 steps to get the most from your creative counterpart:
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Clarity and understanding are key to a good working relationship. Keep in mind that most designers tend to be highly visual people, so communication may be slightly difficult. Have patience, and incorporate the other 8 steps to help communicate.
2. It is very important to be clear about what you mean. If you’re using vague words, adjectives, or jargon (ie: I want my logo to look “sweet”), keep talking and explaining. People come from different backgrounds and experiences. You must continue to clarify until you’re both sure you understand each other. Clarity is vital.
3. Ask what information your designer needs, listen, and then do the research. You cannot expect effective designs without the required research. You know your business best. The input you bring to the design process is the most pertinent information available. The more informative your input, the better the design.
4. Don’t be afraid to sketch if you have an idea that you find difficult to describe. Even if you’re only drawing stick figures, sketching is usually a more direct method of communicating with visual designers. We understand that art may not be your gig, and we’re okay with that. We won’t make fun of you! The added level of communication is invaluable because it connects our visual minds with your explanation.
5. If you become unsure or confused with the way things are going, it’s too easy to become frustrated. Ask questions for understanding. Designers may use terms you’re not familiar with. Many creative types unintentionally “jump ahead” in their logic. Let the questions fly! We’re happy to elaborate.
6. Remember to give constructive feedback. Specify what you like and don’t like about the concepts presented. The more explicit the information you provide, the better the outcome of the project. Keep in mind that encouragement can be the most helpful element in constructive feedback.
7. If you plan to bring your family, friends, or clients into the design process, it’s ideal to let your designer know as early as possible. An unintended friends and family ambush at the last stage of the design process, or after committing to a direction, can often deflate a designer. This is becausae artists tend to fall in love with their designs. So inform your designer know well in advance of who you intend on bringing into the design process and at what stage. It’s also a good idea to be flexible with those plans.
8. Always keep in mind who your target audience really is. This step is especially important if you plan on including friends and family during the design process. For example, if you’re selling to Asian businessmen, but your caucasian wife doesn’t like your logo, there may not be a problem with the logo. A design often isn’t as effective outside of it’s target market. Don’t be surprised if your family and friend’s feedback reflects this fact.
9. Let your designer know if the process isn’t working for you! Many designers would be happy to modify their process to fit your needs. Be as specific as possible about what’s not working (ie: you need to see color earlier in the process.) Let your designer know that you need additional help. If you know exactly how the process can be improved, make your suggestions known!
A good working relationship with your graphic designer includes the ability to understand each other effectively, as well as constantly communicating to make sure the designs accurately reflect your business. Beginning the process with someone with whom you feel comfortable will provide the right solution for your professional persona in the marketplace.