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5 Efficient Ways to Communicate with your Graphic Designer

Image of graphic designer working with client and reading over specifications

Don’t let bad communication be the deciding factor in how well your project is executed. Embrace the opportunity to collaborate to make something amazing.

The difference between good design and great design is often communication. A design professional can only interpret your vision to the extent that you can communicate it clearly. If your aesthetic objectives are unfocused, rough, and disorganized chances are your first design concepts will be a reflection of that. Designers are problem solvers though. We can take your vague ideas and build something out of it - sometimes something amazing, but the process will likely be tiresome, tedious, and expensive. Begin your relationship with your graphic designer on solid ground and give yourself the opportunity to create something amazing from the start. Here are some simple tips to fast-tracking your vision into a solid product.

1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT - As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as mind-reading mystics, most graphic designers have no clue what the vision in your head looks like. To be able to communicate your vision for your business logo, website, or brochure you need to have done your homework first. Know who your target market is, the style, look and feel of your brand, and specifications of the piece you are having designed. If none of these elements have been determined then ask your graphic designer to help, but be sure to provide samples of other work that’s within the wheelhouse of your vision to give the designer a starting point. Hiring a designer to help establish your brand and build the first foundational pieces for your business is a smart move and a good investment that will ultimately save you time and give your business a competitive edge.

2. SHOW US WHAT YOU WANT - Since a picture is worth a thousand words you can level up your communication game tenfold just by providing your designer with samples of what you are envisioning for your project. Covered briefly in #1, this is a fast and easy way to keep your project on budget and within the original scope. Be on the lookout for daily inspiration that reflects the style, feel, and vision of your brand. Save screenshots of Instagram posts, Pinterest boards, advertisements or color combos to be forwarded in design feedback.

3. SHOW US WHAT YOU DON’T WANT - Almost as important as what you do want is what you don’t want. Your graphic designer does not know about that tragic connection you have with the color fuchsia and your dying grandmother’s favorite handbag. To avoid wasted time in the revision process provide samples of design that make you cringe and that you won’t get over if it ends up in your brochure. We just don’t need to go there.

4. BE SPECIFIC - Nothing is worse than receiving a minimal amount of guidance, little direction, and zero specifications from the client at the beginning of a project only to receive feedback after the first draft that says “that’s not what we had in mind.” Sadly this lack of communication is responsible for that uncontrollable budget bloat. Besides providing specifics about size and format to the designer give them solid visual samples before the project commences. Also, take the time to analyze what it is about the design that might not be working for you. Is it the scale? Is it color? Is it balance? Is it contrast? Try to pin-point the specific areas where the piece may not be working for you before shooting off that email or posting your feedback.

5. LISTEN - A big part of communication whether it be in a relationship with your spouse or with your graphic designer is listening. If you are hiring a designer then we can safely assume you need a professional to do the work that needs to be done. Trust their expertise and always listen to their advice regarding practicalities and usability in design. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. Most likely there are solid reasons why your designer doesn’t recommend certain fonts or colors, elements or textures. Be open to the reasoning behind their creative decisions and the suggested direction of your brand or design. Ultimately, your designer will want to make you happy even if that means they add the gradients, the unreadable font, and the kitchen sink to your logo. Sadly though, you will unnecessarily end up wasting time and money at the risk of getting a mediocre final product that produces zero ROI.

Ultimately no relationship can survive without communication. It’s a foundation that is especially critical when trying to decipher, understand, and have empathy for others. In the client/designer relationship it can be the difference between an expensive, out of scope, mediocre design and a stunningly precise and effective one. Don’t let bad communication be the deciding factor in how well your project is executed. Embrace the opportunity to collaborate to make something amazing. As a team, together we can build a product that not only is a great investment that fits within your budget, but is a powerful representation of your company.

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The Flim Flam
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