5 Tips for Efficiently Working with a Graphic Designer
So this month I’ve unintentionally continued a theme on the blog revolving around working with a graphic designer. Maybe I should do themed months more often because this has made it way easier to come up with content. Yeah?! Yeah.
Anyways, today we are not yet straying from this theme! Instead, I am giving you my top five tips for working with a graphic designer to eliminate any confusion, streamline the design process and utilize your designer to their best ability.
That sounds great, right?! But how and why is this needed?
Well, let me tell you! Most clients I encounter have never had any experience working with a graphic designer. Therefore, they typically don’t have any idea what goes into the design process, what a typical design process looks like, or even how to best interact with their designer. This is totally okay!! I love teaching people the ins and outs of the design process. However, if you don’t have much experience with it, you may be slowing down the design process or making your designs less effective without even realize it. So today we are going to make sure that doesn’t happen by learning how to become super efficient while working with your designer. In return, you’ll probably become your designer's favorite client and save money on unnecessary revisions, so it’s a win-win for everyone! 😉
1 | Be Clear and Use Examples
The clearer you are in your vision or end goal, the happier you’ll be with the end result. This may seem self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many people will come to me with no clue what, hoping that the “I'll know it when I see it” tactic works for them. However, typically this tactic doesn’t work well at all – especially if you’re on a budget. It could take a long time to get to “it” if your designer has no real direction on where to begin in the first place.
If you need some inspiration, check out my Pinterest page where I have TONS of designs pinned for thousands of different types of projects. Surely you’ll find something you like!
With that being said, if you genuinely don’t know what would look best for your project or just really trust your designer to take it and run with it, that’s okay too! Just make sure you have a conversation with your designer and let them know as many details about your project as possible. They’ll be able to give you some ideas to use as a starting point and get the ball rolling. Either way though, make sure that you’re both on the same page design-wise before your designer gets started.
Providing examples is another great way to add clarity to what you’re looking for, or even just to show your designer what your style preferences are. It can sometimes be difficult to express with words what you’re envisioning in your head, so providing examples can be great inspiration for your designer while adding a lot of clarity to the design process. If you’re totally into the Pinterest scene like I am, you can even put together a secret board and share it with your designer so that all of the examples you’ve saved are in once place!
2 | Allot Enough Time
Often people don’t realize how long it takes to create graphics. Sometimes it’s only an hour to design the whole thing whereas other times it could take four hours to just make a few edits. Make sure you keep this in mind while you’re planning a project. Often times designers need anywhere from 3-5 days to complete most smaller scale projects, not including revisions, and many will even charge a rush fee if you need it sooner than their typical timelines. If you’re unsure how much time your project would take, get ahold of your designer before it’s too late so that neither one of you needs to scramble to get everything together.
3 | Avoid Vague Feedback
Using vague descriptions like “It's just not wow-ing me” or “I feel like it should pop more”, are possibly the most unhelpful pieces of feedback on the face of the planet. And unfortunately, these are things us designers hear ALL THE TIME. I’m serious – it’s become an inside joke in the design world because of how often we hear these things. Go up to any designer friend and tell them to “design something that pops” and they will simultaneously laugh and die inside because of how often we all hear that phrase.
If you’ve done this already, it's okay!!! We still love you (and to be fair, you’re among the majority). But here’s what you can do next time:
Instead of using vague feedback to request changes from your designer, try to figure out what about the project you’re not loving. Take your time and be as specific as you can. Do you not like the fonts? Do you wish the text was bigger? Do you want the colors to be bolder? Do you have an example of something you like more? Literally, anything that has any detail at all will be way more helpful and in the end will result in a design you love.
4 | Trust Your Designer
Occasionally I’ll have a client that nit-picks the entire design so much that they have completely redesigned it themselves – and to be honest, it ends up being hideous every. dang. time. Not to mention that I die a little bit inside every time I press save for the final time and send them that ugly file.
Although they obviously end up with a design they’re happy with (which is all that truly matters to me), they don’t realize that there are actually tons of design rules that designers are trained to follow, for both aesthetic and psychological reasons, in order to make your design the most effective and impactful that it can be. If you’re working with a good designer, they’re not making design choices arbitrarily so trust there is a reason behind every decision made.
This is not to say however, you can’t request changes or give suggestions! You can and should make these requests if you’re not completely happy with your design. These changes can end up being really great ideas, so don’t hold 'em back! I’m just saying be aware of how much you may be changing the design and remember that you hired a designer for their sweet design skillz, of which you probably vetted by looking through their portfolio before you hired them.
5 | Finalize your Content Before you Start Designing
One of the more frustrating scenarios as a designer is to start a project only to have the content you’re designing around be changed approximately one million times. Not only can this super redundant, but it also means you’re paying for more revisions for no other reason than that you hadn’t finalized your content before you handed it over to your designer. That seems silly, right?? Agreed. (And by the way, I’m not talking about smaller copy changes or swapping out photos – I mean changing large chunks of your content over and over again).
Aside from the ever-changing content projects, there are also occasionally those who will come to me without their final content ready, hoping I can begin the design and plug in their content later. Although this seems like an easy enough transition, this too can typically be pretty difficult to implement because usually the design itself is completely based on the content provided. My job is to make sure the important information catches your eye first and that your eye moves down the page, absorbing content in the right order (remember those design rules I was talking about? This is one of them). This becomes super difficult to implement when you don’t have any content to work with at all. We can try, but typically the final result ends up being very different than the original template we began with. Therefore, you’re once again paying for more revisions than you needed to. The frugal Target shopper in me wants you to save your money for the dollar section, so here’s an easy way to avoid these extra revisions if you can!
The moral of this story is that the design process goes way faster and much more smoothly if you have your final content (like photos and copy) ready to go before you turn your project over to the designer. This is actually the easiest tip of the five to implement, so take it to heart y’all!
And that’s all I have for you! Easy enough, right? Obviously, the entire process is a two-way street, so on top of all of that, make sure you find a great designer. Here's a post where I teach you how to do exactly that!
For any of you designers reading this, leave any of your tips in the comments below! I can’t wait to read them. 😃