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3rd April, 2017

How to make the most of your designer

We previously published two blog posts on how to work best with your copywriter (one, two). This month, we’re continuing that series—but focusing on the copywriter’s vital colleague, the designer.

As in the client-copywriter relationship, it can be difficult to know how to work best with a hired professional designer in order to get the best from the project (especially if it’s your first time doing so). We have some tips to help.

Meet face-to-face if possible

For your brief, it’s important to be able to convey your requirements as clearly as possible. It’s a good idea to set up a face-to-face meeting rather than relying on email or telephone communication. An in-person chat will also give you a chance to gauge whether or not you “click” with the designer—choosing a designer you feel understands you and your project can make the whole process significantly smoother and more successful.

Give concrete examples of other design you like

It is in no way insulting to show examples of other design to your designer! It’s often the best and clearest way to describe the kind of look, feel, or general vibe that you’re looking for. Remember that good design is not simply how colours, lines, and shapes fit together on the page; it creates a desired feeling and achieves a particular vision. Existing visual examples can be incredibly helpful in articulating what it is you’re looking for.

Be as specific as possible

Leading on from the previous point, try to be as specific as you’re able to be. It can be hard for non-designers to understand that they aren’t being as clear as they think they are—saying you’d like the font to be a bit “cleaner” or “more swirly”, or the overall image to have “colours that pop” or “a graphic feel” is incredibly vague. Even if you’ll rarely be working with a designer, it’s helpful to take a crash course in design terms so you’re closer to knowing what you don’t know.

Don’t expect the first draft to be what you were envisaging

So, your designer has just sent you the first draft of your piece—and its not at all what you were hoping for. Don’t panic! Design is a multi-step process, even more so than copywriting. While the first version of your piece may need a lot of changes, the second and third and fourth (and so on) versions will be all the better if you clearly and calmly communicate exactly what you dislike now. In initial design drafts, a designer may try to gauge your feeling to a particular approach (Do you like the colour scheme, positioning of the text, the style of drawing?). They are not expecting it to be the finished project—so neither should you.

Don’t micromanage; have some faith in your designer

On the other side of the coin, remember that your designer is a professional, and you chose them for a reason. You may have your heart set on a specific shade of pink for your leaflet headline, but if they suggest an alternative approach, at least listen with an open mind (Why are they saying that? Do they have a point?) before deciding. Additionally, don’t ask repeatedly to see how your product has progressed since the proof you saw two days ago; design is an ongoing process. Trust your designer!

Ask as many questions as you like—don’t assume anything

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure. If a proof arrives with designers’ marks on and you’re not sure what they mean, ask. Any good designer isn’t just looking to sign off on the project—they want to create a product that both they and you love.

Did we miss any tips? Do let us know! If you’re looking for design services, feel free to get in touch and discuss your needs with a member of our experienced design team.

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