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5 ways to get the most out for your designer

Understanding how to work with designers is a valuable skill when creating communications collateral, Art Director Cameron Jones discusses how to get the most from your designer.

Knowing how to get the most out of your creative team keeps things efficient and cost effective. Ultimately, communicating properly with your designers helps you get a better end product. Are you doing these five things when briefing your designer?

1.      Have a design brief

Having a design brief is an important first step in communicating your ideas with your designer. A design brief is the blueprint that sets out what the project has to achieve, by which means, and by when. Having a design brief means that all the correct information is in one place allowing you to save time that would be otherwise spent on multiple emails, meetings and calls. A successful design brief allows the designer to get it right the first time and means that the finished product is what you envisioned.

2.      Be specific

When communicating with a designer, being specific is crucial. Although they are highly creative and talented beings, designers aren’t mind readers. When providing feedback, go beyond “I like it” or “I don’t like it” and be specific. What do you like and why? What exactly do you not like? Avoid using jargon like “make it pop” or “it’s not quite there”. Specify exactly what you mean and want so that the designer can deliver rather than guess. Feel free to sketch ideas or bring along design examples of what you would like. Finally, remember that design is subjective, so there is no right or wrong, which means that being specific helps a great deal.

3.      Listen to your Designer

Listening to your designer is essential in getting the most out of them. Your designer will often be aware of aspects of a project which you might not have thought about. There is a technical aspect to design as well as a creative one: media specifications, limitations, standards and formatting will all play a part in the design choices made on any project. Most designers will have lots of experience in their mediums and know how to produce what you are looking for. Trust your designer and the lessons they have learned along the way – it is their job for a reason. The majority of designers will be passionate about what they do and create work they are proud of rather than making a quick buck. Respect your designer and their passion and you will get the most out of their skills and experience.

4.      Provide them with the tools

Provide your designer with the tools they need to get the job done. Logos, images, previous design files, style guides – the more you give your designer, the less they will have to recreate or source themselves. This saves you money as these additional tasks can take up a lot of the designer’s time. A useful tip is to send the original files of these documents, as opposed to placing them in Word or PowerPoint which compresses and converts graphic files.

5.      Understand designers use different programs

Know that it’s okay if you can’t open up a file given to you by a designer – it’s actually a good thing! Designers use different programs, which you may not have or know how to use. You can save the designer time (and save yourself some money) by supplying designers with these types of files, often ending in .AI, .INDD or .PSD, rather than the JPEG or PNG files that you can open. It is essential to pass working files onto other designers who can view them.

Follow these steps and your graphic designer will love working for you, you’ll enjoy quicker and more efficient turnaround, and your budget will likely go further.