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5 ways to get the most out of your Graphic Design Professional

You’ve hired a graphic design professional. First off, thank you! We know you’ve likely spent a lot of time researching, looking through portfolios and convincing your team and/or boss it’s a good investment. If you are new to working with a design professional, here are some tips that will set the table for a seamless design process.

1. Provide a project brief

As designers, we’d love to spread our creative wings on your project, but we need to know the intent behind it first. Providing a basic outline of the project goals, final output requirements (print vs. online), sizing, and copywriting gets your project organized and on the right track from the start. Sending vague instructions or asking us to “make it look pretty” is not going to be enough to run with – the more details you can provide the better. If it’s a larger project such as branding or website design, a few in-person meetings or phone calls are well worth the time to properly express your vision and make sure the designer is on the same page.

2. Collect some examples of designs you like

We recognize you may not have the lingo to express what kind of design styles you like. This is where google comes in! Searching for other brands or logos you identify with is a great way to show us visually what you like. Creating a mood board or a Pinterest board is also a great tool to share ideas with your designer. When we see your samples, we pick up on the little details such as colour palettes, typography, and technique. A word of caution – we generally dislike being told to make something look exactly like ____. Visuals are helpful to set the project in the right direction but exact copying isn’t fun for your designer, and will result in a less than original design.

3. Allow time for the creative process

Designers understand you run a business, we are running one too. We expect you may want us to deliver a project yesterday, but the reality is design is still art and ideally needs time to be explored creatively. More time means more energy, positive energy, going into your project. For branding and logo design especially, allow at least a month to work through research, concept drafts, identity and final renderings. Your designer will love you to the moon and back if you allow for a reasonable time frame, and you will receive a final product that is well thought out, creative and effective.

4. Provide constructive feedback

Communication during the design process is key. Don’t be afraid to tell the designer when you don’t like something, but make comments that are to the point. For example, saying “I’m just not feeling the colours” is difficult for your designer to interpret what you’d prefer to see. Instead, offer more detail: “I’m just not feeling the colours here, perhaps something softer or more pastel”. This will get you closer to getting what you want in the next proof. And don’t worry, we aren’t in the business of taking things personally. A mantra we like to follow is “fall in love with your best design and then let it go”. Because sometimes our best designs don’t get chosen by the client. Where the real magic happens is when the best design does get chosen. These designs end up as features in our portfolio and give you a unique design to sell your product, it’s a win-win all around.

5. Let us work our magic

Likely the biggest pet-peeve of most designers is micromanaging. There’s nothing that turns us off a project more than a client who respectfully, is not a designer, telling us how to design. Now, there are extreme ends of the spectrum here. For example, if there’s a font your designer has used that you just can’t stand, let them know and have the designer explain why they chose this font and talk it over. Or maybe there’s a design element such as an area of white space, or a large ampersand blown up bigger than other type on the page, and you just don’t know if it’s a “design thing” or an error. Ask your designer. Look at other designs if you aren’t convinced. Or just trust us.

Remember we not only design for a living, but it is also our obsession. We scour blogs, books and magazines daily finding inspiration and understanding up and coming design trends. We likely went to College or University (or both) to become an expert in design and mastered the technical skills required. We even have years of experience in our field. Yet there are still clients who insist they know more. Don’t be one of them, remember why you hired a design professional in the first place. Let us bring our experience and knowledge to the table to collaborate with you and bring your vision to life. It is after all, what you’re paying for.