Without fail, every entrepreneur or small business will need the services of a graphic designer for marketing and web collateral purposes.This process can be a prime and unproductively frustrating experience that taints your willingness to collaborate with graphic designers in the future.
“Graphic Designers are so slow.” “It’s such an arduous process.” “They just don’t get it.”
Although Wellington Studio is a full service design firm, I actually began my career as a graphic designer over 20 years ago. I first learned design by way of page layout in high school then went on to college to learn more. One of the first design courses I took was setting type for an entire semester. At that time, I wasn’t amused but I came to realize that I actually developed an eye for typography through manually setting type.
Preparation makes all the Difference
Graphic designers,across the board, tend to be “slow”; this is considered a right brain characteristic. The creative process is very dynamic and takes time. Designers need time to adjust and to understand a client’s goals and market. A firm deadline is very motivating, while a “pretty soon” or “whenever you have it done” is not.We like to go “wide and deep” when working with our clients. It’s important to set clear expectations on both sides. Informed expectations will alleviate a lot of confusion and frustration from the beginning.
Avoiding those Pesky Graphic Designer Mistakes
Most graphic designers do NOT read. I’ve always been a reader; I tend to read copy or make suggestions to copy. It is always helpful when clients provide a buttoned up copy that has been vetted thoroughly by their team before giving it to a graphic designer. Word count matters a lot actually, when it comes to creating a finished design.
It’s all in the Details
Clients that are very detailed and organized tend to get the best results. When choosing which graphic designers to work with, pay attention to the details. Are their response times adequate? Do their emails contain errors? Are their lead times long?
At Wellington Studio, we love to receive our client’s ideas. We use Pinterest a lot. Although we’re the creatives, a client’s visual cues are very valuable. We encourage our clients to create mood boards and tag favorable color combinations. Remember, this is a collaborative effort and all input counts; so, show us your vision.
Precise feedback is critical to the success of any project. Generally, we look for comments in the following areas:
- Overall Aesthetic
Statements such as, “I don’t like it,” or “I’m not really feeling this.” “I wanted something hot.” are not very helpful.During our experience, a client may not know what they want but definitely know when they dislike something. Not knowing what you want can help shape an idea of what you want. Design is subjective. Please keep in mind that most designers are creating for your audience and not for an individual’s personal taste.
Deadlines are a Big Deal
We like deadlines at Wellington Studio. Since the majority of our graphic design projects revolve around events, we start with the actual event date and work backwards. The deliverables and processes are clear and concise. Deadlines matter;so, make sure you set yours.
When choosing a designer, try to work with someone that has a robust client list. Also someone who knows and understands the importance of deadlines, is a good communicator and reliable. The only way you’ll really know this is from networking, referrals, choosing someone who has been in business a long time, etc.
Tips for optimal results and minimizing costs:
- Give firm deadlines and deliverables expectations
- Let them know every possible way their designs will be used. For example,it’s very frustrating for your designer to be informed of an email flyer, only for you to request a printed flyer and poster after the original work has been done.
- Provide as many specifics and examples you can. Telling your graphic designer “whatever you can come up with” is not helpful. Providing clear examples of collateral, logos, and branding speaks volumes. Pinterest can be your best friend.
- Allow graphic designers the artistic freedom to share their expertise on the project. A great graphic designer will know how to create an appropriate design and color palette for your intended market reach. Neglecting your designer’s expertise and having rigid preferences is not productive, and can often negatively affect your project.
Graphic designers are creative people, but we’re also in business. Ask questions! This is a collaborative effort. Let your designer be creative and allow them to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals, and take the time to explore what the experience was like for the client. Good or bad, you can possibly avoid many frustrating moments by following this step!
———Updated February 18, 2017