COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY WITH A GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Contributed by Logan Rhea
Getting the most out of a graphic designer / design project begins with communication. But how do you communicate effectively if you know only a little bit, (or maybe you don’t know anything!) about the software, design lingo/process or design in general – maybe you’re not even sure what you want the final product to look like. Don’t fret! Communicating with your designer doesn’t necessarily require you to have a crystal clear vision of the final product or know anything about design. Our system is typically for clients to work with Account Managers AND designers to achieve clear communication and vision, but in the event that you work directly with a designer, all these strategies apply.
1. GET DESCRIPTIVE
Maybe you’re not exactly sure what you want the final design to look like, but you might have an idea as to what style you prefer or how you want the design to feel. The more information, the better! For instance, words like tranquil, bold, modern, traditional, minimalistic, etc. are all great ways of describing a design even if you don’t have a clear final vision. These are great starting points for a designer. It also helps to mention your demographic or the customers you’re trying to target (senior men, middle aged women, Hispanic women, teens, etc.) With that said, try to avoid using ONLY ONE word to describe the design you want. For instance, if you just said “tranquil” a designer is still left with an open book of design direction. Try instead, “tranquil / modern / aimed at middle aged women.” If you have a vision, let us know and try to be a descriptive as possible – the more info you have for us, the better! It also doesn’t hurt to pull designs from the web as a reference point, but it’s not necessary.
2. COMMUNICATING YOUR “DON’T WANTS”
Now that you’ve communicated what you WANT your design to look or feel like and the stylistic direction you want your design to move in, you should also consider sharing what you DON’T want. Are we including images in the design, but you don’t want kids featured? Tell the designer. Don’t like the color green? Let us know! If you’ve had any previous design work done, provide us with some of the files and / or your website URL and let us know some of the things you like / don’t like about these designs.
3. GET TECHNICAL
Where is this design going? Is it a poster that you’re hanging up in your office? Is it a postcard that your mailing out to your customers? Is it a flyer that you’re hanging up around town or handing out? Let the designer know what you plan on doing with the design. Does it need to fit inside something else (i.e. a folder or envelope)? Is it a logo — what’s the name of your business and if you have a tagline, do you want it included?
Try to provide a rough sizing estimate if applicable. For example: standard printer paper size, business card size, movie poster size, etc. Also, try to have a clear idea as to what direction you want your design to go (portrait / landscape). It might not seem like a big deal, but layout is IMPORTANT! If the layout or scale has to change at any point in the design, sometimes it’s not as simple as swapping around a few items — the entire design has to change. A good designer designs in a way that each element plays off one another so that it flows down / around the page. So something that lines up one direction, might not work the other way.
Also, think about your brand colors (if you have them defined already). It’s a good idea to provide the designer with the CMYK / Pantone code(s) so the proper shade of color is produced when printed.
4. GIVE CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK
Don’t expect your designer to nail it the first time, but with clear communication, they should get close. Typically, the more information we have up front, the more likely it is we can capture your wishes on the front end. However, it’s not unusual for a designer to need a couple rounds of edits to nail your vision. After reviewing your design concept, consider what it is that you want changed – maybe now, after seeing the design, you realize you’re not thrilled with certain colors or the layout / alignment of items. Maybe the font choices aren’t to your liking. Maybe the sizing of items needs to change. All of these things are taken in to consideration when editing a design and it helps to know what you like and don’t like about the design that was given to you.
Sometimes, it means a conversation with your Account Manager working with you and the designer to breakdown what each side is envisioning. Maybe you said modern, but really meant bold, or maybe you meant bold, but only in terms of colors or imagery. Remember, your interpretation of something might be different than the designer’s interpretation, but with constructive feedback and open communication the direction becomes clear quickly. A confused client is a confused designer, so the more information you can provide us, the better!
Even though you might not know exactly what you want, clear communication will help put your designer and entire team in the right direction. Our goal as a designer is to give you a final product that you love! We WANT to get it right and we will always work with you to figure out HOW to do that. We always provide a team of designers and account managers that truly care about you and your product and that will work to bring your vision to life!