There comes a time in a graphic designers life when there are SO many thoughts going around. We’re business owners, creatives, human resource managers, accountants, and the backbone of our businesses.
Although you’re probably new to working with us, we want you to know the following things (just in case you’re like me and worry that service providers require certain things when working together).
1. We are genuinely so excited to be working alongside you!
Seriously, I think I can speak for all designers when I say we’re just SO excited that you’re trusting us with such a large decision! We take our jobs very seriously, and we know that this investment is not only financial, but a time investment as well. We don’t work with just anyone – we all have our niche audiences, and (speaking for myself here), personally screen all of my client consultations to make sure we’re a good fit together. THANK YOU for choosing us to transform your business!
2. Your input is valued (and there’s a specific way to give feedback)
I always ask my clients to give feedback a certain way. I have a set of Do’s and Don’ts for giving feedback that include the following (legit these are the exact instructions I send to my clients!)
Effective feedback – DO
- Be honest. If you don’t like something, tell me.
- Be specific. Point out what, exactly, is not working for you, and WHY it’s not working. That last part is a biggie.
- Ask why. If you aren’t sure what I was thinking, I’d love to better explain my reasoning. Everything I’ve done for the project has a purpose.
- Refer to your goals. Revisit your brand strategy to support thoughtful feedback.
- Relate to your audience. Your audience should be top of mind for every decision or critique that you provide. What do THEY need? What will THEY enjoy?
Not so effective feedback – DON’T
- Involve everyone you know in the creative process. I work best when you alone serve as the expert on your business and its audience. Art made by committee is rarely successful.
- Take things personally. If something feels off or missing, we need to figure out WHY and move closer to our mutual target.
- Prescribe fixes. Instead, explain the problem and we’ll discuss potential fixes, based on my research, experience, and skills.
3. We can’t do it without you (and we don’t want to)!
Going along the same lines as #2, we could not do this job without you. You have specific needs and a specific audience, and you TRULY make our job more unique. I LOVE getting to serve my audience because they come in with different requests, strengths, and overall personalities that are so different from the previous client. And who said being different was wrong?
4. Less is More
When a design becomes “too much” without being strategically thought out, it can become overwhelming for your audience and, instead of attracting a specific niched audience, attracts nobody. And we don’t want that for you.Trust that our minimalism is more strategic. Less fluff = more strategic in most circumstances.
5. Content is EVERYTHING.
Have you ever gone out to get ingredients for a recipe only to realize while you’re making the meal that you’ve forgotten one of them? Hard to deal with, right? The same goes with graphic design.
It’s SO MUCH easier to produce good, professional, intentional work when all of the content is available from the beginning–so a good rule of thumb is to make sure you have most/all of your copy and photos ready before you start working with a designer. If a designer creates a design first and tries to plug your content in later it may not mesh well and that can mean a lengthy and possibly frustrating process for both parties.
Prepare yourself with as much information up front as possible. Your designer needs all of the content that’s going into your website –it also helps to have as much background information (and inspiration) for the project as you can provide as well! This brings us to the Pinterest board.
PRO TIP: I like to ask my clients to provide TWO (2) different Pinterest boards. One is for brand aesthetic inspiration (NO brand identity/fonts/color palettes should be pinned here) and the other is for actual brand inspiration (feel free to mostly pin fonts and colors here).
I can’t for everyone in the graphic design industry, but I am a firm believer in transparency and vulnerability when working with my clients. I believe having these two things as focus makes for the best (and most professional) process while working together!
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