9 Tips for Getting the Best Work From Your Graphic Designer

A graphic designer’s goal is to provide you with the logos, artwork and page designs that best fit your business, personality, industry, and target market and conveys your offerings and differentiators. The experience of reaching that goal can be extremely smooth and pleasant if you know what to expect upfront, and if you understand that you do need to work with your designer, as opposed to just letting them loose to create with little input.

To assure that the experience you and your designer have is productive and successful, our last article, “13 Tips for Finding a Graphic Designer” offers insight, definitions, and advice on beginning the relationship. Once you’ve selected the designer with whom you feel most comfortable:

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Clarity and understanding are key to a good working relationship. Keep in mind that most designers tend to be highly visual people, so communication may be ever so slightly difficult. Have patience, and use all of the other tips in this section to facilitate your communication.

2. And, be clear about what you mean. If you’re using vague words and adjectives, or jargon, such as saying that you want your logo to look “sweet”, keep talking and explaining what you mean until you’re both sure you understand each other. People come from many different backgrounds and experiences, so clarity is vital.

3. Ask what information your designer needs, and do the homework! Without good background information, we really can’t create the best designs for you. You know your business best, so the input that you bring to the project is really the most expert information that’s available. The more informative your answers are, the better the designs.

4. Don’t be afraid to sketch if you have an idea that you find difficult to describe. Even if you can only draw stick figures, sketching is often a more direct means of communication with visual designers. We understand that this is not what you do, and we won’t make fun of you! In fact, the added level of communication is invaluable-it bridges the gap between our visual minds and your explanation.

5. Ask questions when you’re confused, as opposed to becoming frustrated. We may also use terms you’re not familiar with. And many creative types “jump ahead” unintentionally in their logic; we don’t want to leave you behind, and are happy to elaborate. Just call us on it!

6. Remember to give constructive feedback. Specify what you like and don’t like about the concepts presented. The more explicit the information you provide, the better the outcome of the project. Keep in mind that the most helpful part about constructive feedback is the element of encouragement.

7. If you plan to bring your friends and clients into the design process to provide input, it’s best to let your designer know, and as early as possible. Being ambushed by the client’s friends or family at the last stage in the process, or after committing to a direction, is often disheartening to the designer. As artists, we tend to fall in love (a bit!) with our designs.

8. Keep in mind who your target audience really is if you do bring friends and family into the design process. Pardon my brashness, but if you’re selling to Asian businessmen, but your caucasian, housewife friend doesn’t like your logo, it may not be a problem with the logo. A design often won’t be as effective outside of your target market-and that may be where your friend’s feedback is coming from.

9. If you start working with your designer, and their process isn’t working, then let them know! Many designers would be happy to modify their process to fit your needs. Just be as specific as possible about what’s not working-do you need to see color earlier in the process, or see more of the full design-let your designer know that you need additional help, or, if you know what’s wrong, how they can help!

You need to have a good working relationship, to understand each other well, and to constantly communicate to make sure the graphics that are produced are perfect for your business. Beginning the process with someone with whom you are comfortable, cooperating throughout the process and communicating effectively will provide the right solution for your professional face to your customers.