7 ways to get the best from your Graphic Designer

Business card graphic designA Graphic Designer can take your business to the next level. Slick, well designed promotional materials speak volumes to your clients and prospects about your professionalism and quality of service (or products).

Your relationship with your graphic designer and the quality of your communications, can make all the difference to the final result.

Here are 7 tips to get the best possible work from your designer:

1. Know what you are trying to achieve with the design

When you are paying for an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, what is the goal of the ad? To sell something? To position your business in the market? The end design will have a different feel and calls to action depending on the goal.

If you don’t know the goal of a given promotion, STOP. Don’t bother asking your designer to come up with anything until you know what you want it for.

2. Who is your target market and what is the aim of the work?

A design targeted at 18 year old mountain bikers is going to look different to one aimed at 40 year old mothers. That is pretty obvious, but important.

Are you wanting to inspire, educate or shock your audience? Great graphic design elicits an emotional reaction from the viewer, and different groups are going to react differently to colours and imagery.

The old cliche, ‘If everyone is an audience, then no-one is your audience’, holds true. You are better to be loved by some and hated by others rather than ignored by all.

3. An idea of what you want it to look like.

Stop here for a minute. I don’t mean you should turn up with the design already done. But it can help a designer greatly to give some examples of work you like. Or even better, some of your current promotional materials as this helps with continuity within your brand.

“I’ll know it when I see it” doesn’t help.

There is nothing worse for a designer to work hard on some concepts and you all of a sudden realise that they are nothing like what you had in mind – tell them what you have in mind from the start and discuss it with your Graphic designer.

Do some research of design you like online (even from different industries). Ask yourself how adventurous are you willing to be to stand out from the crowd?

4. Make sure you have the information your graphic designer will need to complete your job.

Each job will be different, but most will at least need these in some form or another.

  • High resolution logo
  • Any images you use.
  • Examples of your current branding or promotional materials (to make sure the branding is consistent).
  • The copy you want to use including a call to action and contact details.

It’s a great idea to keep all of your resources and marketing materials in one folder on your computer, so you always know where they are. Once you have an ongoing relationship with a designer, they will likely keep these on file as well, but it pays to keep your own copies, just in case.

5. Set a reasonable timeframe

Tomorrow is not reasonable.

Allow for time to review and critique the designers concepts as they supply them to you. Constructive feedback is critical to get the end result that you want.

With an important job such as a company logo, that will be the face of the company for potentially years in the future, allow time for discussion and back and forth changes.

6. Discuss issues early.

If the design isn’t going in a direction you are happy with, let your designer know as early as possible. Throwing out a couple of hours work is a lot easier than an entire days effort. And cheaper, as the final cost is based on creative time spent.

7. Care about the design you are asking for.

If you don’t care about it, your designer can tell and you won’t get the best results.
It is hard to put in 100% effort for someone that isn’t going to appreciate it.

How do you let your designer know you care?

Sell your business to your designer, tell them where you are going and what you are going to acheive. Get them excited about your business and they’ll do their best to get you there.

Oh, and do all of the steps above…

Conclusion

What a Graphic Designer does… is make things look cool… but more than that, they aim to relate the work to the target audience through colour, images and text. They are trying to tell a story of your business or offer and entice the viewer to engage with it.

The more work you do with a designer, the better they will understand you, your business and your goals.

Do you have any burning questions about working with a Graphic Designer?

About Al

Alistair has managed and built small businesses in a varied industries from agriculture to the web. Years in sales lead to his obsession with marketing.
In his spare time he enjoys time with his family, sails and reads marketing books.
Get more from Alistair on Twitter and Google+.

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