Working with a graphic designer – 8 great tips for success
Working with a graphic designer may be slightly intimidating if you’ve never worked with one before. Finding the best graphic design company isn’t just about looking for a team local to you, it’s about making sure you get one that can deliver on what you need.
A good rule of thumb would be to try and speak to at least three graphic designers to get a feel for how they approach projects, what they will likely charge and how well you can both work together.
We’ve put together a list of eight great tips which we think you need to consider when hiring your next graphic designer.
TIP 1: Have clear goals of what you want and make sure your graphic designer understands what they are
Any design project that you work on with your graphic designer should always begin the same way. It doesn’t matter whether its a you’re building a website, creating a new logo for your business or designing packaging, make sure that you and your graphic designer have a clear design brief of what’s needed to be created and why.
Include as much information as possible. It’s doesn’t matter how irrelevant you may think it is, get it all written down and include as much detail as you can. It will help your graphic designer produce work that is close to what you want first time round.
TIP 2: Does your graphic designer have the skills to produce what you need?
It may sound obvious, but when searching for a graphic designer make sure they have the skills and experience needed to actually produce the work. Some design companies may work predominantly on print projects, some focus on logos whilst others specialise in online digital work.
Make sure you ask for examples of previous projects so you can get a good feel for their style and ideally speak to their previous clients for the most honest feedback. If their design portfolio looks great then you know you’re in safe hands.
TIP 3: Do you think you will have a good rapport with your graphic designer?
This is possibly one of the most important aspects to working with a graphic designer. No matter how good the graphic designer’s skills are or how great their portfolio looks, if the relationship between you and them doesn’t feel right or you’re not at ease discussing your requirements, then perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere.
You’re going to be working with a graphic designer to produce something that is creative and personal to you and your business… getting it right is important and takes time, understanding and a great relationship.
TIP 4: Take a graphic designer’s portfolio with a pinch of salt
Keep in mind that a graphic designer will only select their best projects to be included in their portfolio and that it may not necessarily be an accurate reflection on their true skill set. To give you added confidence in their abilities, try asking them questions about a particular project from their portfolio such as why did they decide to design it that way? how well did it work for the client? where does their inspiration come from? or would they approach a design project it in a different way next time?
This questioning will give will give you a good insight into the abilities and methodology of your graphic designer and give you a better idea of their approach to graphic design.
TIP 5: Would your project allow for a trial period?
If you have a design project that allows for it to be produced in stages then perhaps start with this. For instance, if you needed a magazine or catalogue to be designed then you could set your graphic design company to work on the cover design or a couple of internal pages. That way, you’ll be able to evaluate their work and how well you get on before commissioning the entire project.
Tip 6: Have agreed review dates with your graphic designer
This is more important on larger projects and website design tasks but it’s always good to plan in dates where you can get regular updates from your graphic designer. Graphic design styles are subjective so it’s a really good idea to keep the conversation and feedback at set dates to make sure that you’re all on the same page. Design is fluid and ever evolving, what you initially wanted may have moved slightly from your original brief so having these feedback sessions can help it change direction too.
TIP 7: What will your graphic designer need from you?
Your graphic designer will want to be armed with as much information as possible. Along with the design brief, supply as much content as possible such as logos, pictures and photos, font ideas, colours and styles. If you have previous work such as sales brochures then send them a copy. The more information you can give to your graphic designer the better and will enable them to better understand the direction to take.
TIP 8: Help your graphic designer fully understand your target market
Remember that the way you want something designing may not be what you audience wants to see, it could even turn them off. It may sound strange but try and think what your audience would want and not what you like best.
We’ve recently worked with a florist who sell online through their website. Their old website was getting a lot of traffic and a good conversion rate (visitors turning into customers). The design of their old site was very dark, in fact it was black and grey, they wanted a complete redesign of their branding, logo, shop signage and website. We looked into who their main buyers were and not surprisingly they were predominately female. We advised that their new corporate ‘look’ should be more feminine to reflect this audience better. The new website is still getting a lot of traffic (phew…) but they have increased their conversion rate by 5% just through designing their website based on what their customers wanted to see.
Graphic designers, are there to push your business forward and help you secure more customers by creating great looking visual elements, whether printed or online. The object should be to build trust in your products and services and inspire confidence in your clients.