16 Tips for Working with a Designer
1. Do your homework. Clarify what you want from the beginning. Pay attention to designs you like and don't like. Show your designer samples. Don't use words that are vague or can be interpreted in many ways. The words "cool", "unique", and "different" don't mean much if you're both thinking of different things. They key is to communicate, communicate, communicate!!!
2. Ask to see a portfolio in your first meeting. The portfolio is a great way to determine if you and the designer have similar styles. If you don't see your particular style in the designer's portfolio, ask if they can share more projects with you.
3. Know what your budget is and state it right from the start.
4. Tell your designer how involved you want to be in the creative process. Some clients have specific ideas in mind, some want to give the designer more creative latitude. Be straightforward about where you stand and what you expect.
5. Have one or two people meeting with the designer and those same people making decisions about the design.
6. Know that less is usually more when it comes to design. Help your designer narrow down the most important aspects of your business so he/she can emphasize those the most. Stick to one main tag line that really defines what you do.
7. Design is an opinion - but it's also a science. Trust that your designer wants it to look great but he/she is also thinking about design principles and guidelines to make your project as effective as possible.
8. If you don't like the design, tell your designer. When giving constructive criticism, state specific examples why a design doesn't appeal to you. The worst thing for a designer to hear is, "I don't like it, but I don't know why." It doesn't give the designer anywhere to go from there.
9. If you don't want your designer to educate you about marketing strategies and graphic rules, tell them. Most designers consider client education as part of their job desciption.
10. Understand that color is difficult! There are lots of words to describe color, instead bring samples to show your designer. Also, remember that the color you see on your computer screen is not the color you'll see when it prints.
11. Expect frequent updates from your designer. He/she should be informing you every step of the way, so if they are heading off track you can catch it before it gets too far.
12. Expect to have to provide appropriate resolution photos if you want them in your design. Your designer will need photos at 72 dpi for web and 300 dpi for print. You may need to hire a photographer.
13. You must think about who your main audience is and what they would like to see and be attracted to. Some business owners aren't extremely fond of their own logo but they know it works for their target audience and that's what matters.
14. Ask questions when you're confused. Design jargon can be difficult and sometimes designers forget to put things in layman's terms. If you don't get it, ask!
15. Proof carefully. When you sign off on a project, you are responsible for the cost of the re-do if there is a spelling error. Check, re-check and then check it again.
16. Work with a designer you like, one who has the same style and approach to business that you have. You will be working with this person a lot and design is a very personal process. You don't want to be working with someone who gets on your nerves or who you don't trust.