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Working With a Graphic Designer

Small Business

Finding a great graphic designer that has a design sensibility that appeals, and seems to understand what you want, is the first part of the equation in producing appealing collateral.

The second part, and just as crucial as the first part, is being able to work with them effectively.

I’ve found there are 3 key factors to getting that relationship right:

  1. Write the content first before working out the design

This can have a big impact on the look of the final product. When you’re writing, whether it’s for online or offline use, keep in mind that the best designs make good use of headlines and graphics. If you don’t want to use those elements then you probably don’t need a graphic designer and can design it yourself in Word.

When providing content to the graphic designer you want to break up your text with headlines and bullet points. This will make it easier for the designer to know what areas to highlight in the design.

The reason to break it up is also that most people will scan content first. They will read the headline and if it engages they’ll move on and through the rest. This is particularly true with online content but applies to written material as well.

  1. Brief the Graphic Designer thoroughly on what you want

Provide examples of designs you like, try to convey how the collateral should look, as well as how you’ll be using the material. Remember that graphic designers are visual thinkers, so try to use images where possible to support what you are saying.

You could annotate an image or PDF to say what you like or don’t like, or use a tool like Canva.com to quickly mock-up the type of look you’re after. It may feel like you’re doubling up by creating your own design first, but Canva makes it quick and easy with so many existing templates (once you get the hang of using it). This can considerably shorten the design back and forth process, which means faster results and less frustration on both sides from simple misunderstandings. 

  1. Getting the look you want is a process

Don’t expect that you’ll send off your content and the designer will send you back a beautifully designed piece of collateral that you can instantly start using. There is almost always some back and forth to get the look right. Be patient but firm during this process. If it’s not right then ask for changes.

If what you’re saying isn’t being reflected back in updated revisions then you need to look at what you’re saying and how that’s being interpreted. Sometimes a rough visual, in other words creating a hand-drawn layout or image, can help to bridge the communication breakdown.

Every small business owner will face a time when they will need to work with a graphic designer but the process needn’t be stressful or costly. Keep these three things in mind when you’re working with them and you should get the design you’ve envisioned for your marketing material.

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