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ARRHH! How Can I Work With These Creative Graphic Designers? – Guest Post

Posted by on Mar 21, 2011

Some of you might recognize Wes’ name. He’s a regular commenter on this blog, and some of his articles are on topics that are pretty cool to comment on as well. I don’t take a lot of guest articles on this blog, but he’s earned his way here and thus I’m pleased to offer him some time here. I’m even allowing the Australian spelling of words instead of changing them to the American version. 🙂 Please check out his blog as well.

It is not easy to start or run a business. You may have a long list of suppliers and customers you need to build relationships with. Among the people you will inevitably need to work with when starting a business is graphic designers. How on earth can you work with these creative, arty-farty types.

Your experience with graphic designers does not need to be as harrowing as you may think. In fact, not all graphic designers are ‘arty-farty’. However, I do understand the perception out there and have a few suggestions to make it easier and more enjoyable to deal with graphic designers. These include:

Create a rock-solid vision

Before approaching or hiring a graphic designer, it is best if you are clear in your own mind what your intended outcome is for any given project. It is a colossal waste of time to kick-off a graphic design project then change your mind when it’s almost complete. This can be quite costly as graphic designers will charge for modifications and authors corrections. I’m not suggesting you need to have a clear vision for the actual design or the look and feel but you need to be rock-solid in what your intended result is.

Communicate your vision clearly

Knowing exactly what you want and being able to convey this to your graphic designer can be difficult. It will help to write the vision down so you can communicate the brief clearly. It’s great to talk through the brief so it can be discussed however this can cause problems for graphic designers if that’s all you give them. It can be difficult determining what is clear direction and what is a passing thought or idea if you don’t write it down.
To make sure there is no communication gap, give your graphic designer samples of designs you like and dislike. This is a sure-fire way of speeding up the design process and being clear about what you are wanting. It can be difficult to describe in words what you are looking for visually. For example, if a colour was important to you, provide colour swatches or samples so you can communicate precisely what you are looking for.
If there are certain logos, graphics or images you want to be included in your project, prepare them before meeting with your graphic designer. This will save you both time and make the briefing easier.

Knowing your budget

You should know your budget limitations before starting a graphic design project. You may need to have an initial discussion with your graphic designer to get an idea of costings before you define your budget. If your graphic designers understand your budget restraints, they may be able to make recommendations so you get the best bang for your buck. For example if you wanted to produce a flyer that included photography, your graphic designer could suggest stock photography. Stock photography could save you quite a bit of money so you could then afford to print more flyers with the same budget. If you are not transparent and upfront with your graphic designer, you may miss these kind of opportunities.

Knowing your time-frame

This boils down to being clear in the communication process even during the primary stages of your project. Be honest, if it’s needed in a weeks time, don’t say you only have three days to give yourself ‘breathing room’. Your graphic designer may not be able to invest the time and energy into your short time frame that he/she would have with a little more time. If the deadline is critical, be really clear about that and trust your graphic designer to meet the deadline.

With the pace of business these days, we always tend to want things yesterday. For this reason we want our projects to be worked on immediately however, if this is going to impact on the quality of work being produced maybe you should reconsider your time-frame.


Wes Towers invites you to learn more about marketing, branding, graphic design and web design and how they can help in your business. Check out www.omnificdesign.com.au for more resources and free ebooks.

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11 Comments »

Carl:

Generally I prefer to hire graphic designer and he/she to work in house. Outsourcing graphic design works have never really works well for me. What I want to see from graphic designer is a good porfolio and example of previous work.

March 21st, 2011 | 9:33 PM

Hi, Carl. I understand your sentiments because there are really people who prefer to work with someone whom they can check on everyday. However, that is also why I check in with my clients all the time with the concepts I have come up. That way, they will have their say always on what should be included or not in their designs.

March 22nd, 2011 | 3:25 AM
Carl:

You are definitely right, I have been in design, graphic design and 3D modeling before. Many times, a customers have come to my office without an idea what they want. Right now I am looking it from another angle, most of the times, I hire designers with mixes success, but when the volume of work is higher I do not hesitate to outsource some work.

March 22nd, 2011 | 10:04 AM
Patricia:

Hi Wes

Nice surprise to see you on Mitch’s site….way to go 🙂 Like some of your suggestions too. Up until now my student graphic design niece has done my graphics for me.

Now she is so busy with course work (remember those days Wes?!) that I will be outsourcing when I need more work done.

So this is on topic for me. Thanks for sharing with us Wes. Appreciated.

Mitch: Good to see you allowed “proper” English to stay this time round too 😉

Patricia Perth Australia

March 22nd, 2011 | 2:13 AM

I do remember those days, Patricia…with fondness. 😉 I’m glad to have shared something you can use. 🙂

March 22nd, 2011 | 3:29 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Proper English; so funny, Pat! lol It’s a great post by Wes and I’m glad to share it.

March 22nd, 2011 | 10:27 AM

Hi, Mitch. Thank you for the chance to guest post in your blog, especially on a topic that is closest to my heart. It is a pleasure and a privilege. And, thanks for keeping the Aussie spelling, too. 😉

March 22nd, 2011 | 3:27 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Well Wes, it would have been petty of me to change the spelling for my purposes, and I can disassociate myself from it with my American brethren. lol Great post, and I thank you for it.

March 22nd, 2011 | 10:28 AM
Patricia:

I have wanted to RT this post and others. Am I looking in the wrong place. Couldn’t find your tweet button!

Patricia Perth Australia

March 23rd, 2011 | 3:10 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Pat, you don’t see the Topsy button at the top right of the post? I just checked and I see it there.

March 23rd, 2011 | 6:11 AM
Ana Mitchev:

Thank you for great tips – we found to be hard to work with any outsourced experts. But the more clearly defined outcome – the more satisfied both parties are.

March 22nd, 2011 | 8:46 AM