Are You in a Relationship with Your Designer?
20.05.2016 by Jon
What’s your relationship with your designer like? Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting it’s anything other than professional, but we do have a good reason for asking.
Your logo, your branding, and every piece of sales and marketing collateral you brief out to a designer will have a crucial role to play in the success of your business. Really good design has to be creative and original – and crucially, deliver the business objectives set out in the brief. It should be a process of collaboration, and the relationship between you and your designer is arguably the single most important factor influencing the quality of the outcome.
Like all relationships, it will need to be worked at by both parties, and the better it is, the better the results will be.
Design is subjective. What one person loves, another might hate and vice versa. But that’s exactly why getting it right when it comes to business is so important. It doesn’t matter if a visitor to an art gallery takes one look at a picture and moves on, but if they fit your customer profile and do the same thing when they land on your website or look at your brochure, you’ve just lost a business opportunity.
It makes sense then to invest time and effort into making sure the relationship between you and your designer is as good as it can be.
5 Essentials to Developing a Great Relationship with Your Designer
Select who you’re going to work with carefully
This advice works on two levels. Firstly, your relationship will hopefully be a long one. You’re likely to be spending quite a bit of time together, so make sure you choose someone you like and are going to get on with. You might be the perfect client and they may be a great designer, but if the chemistry isn’t there, then there’s no point in trying to force it.
Secondly, you need to use a designer who can demonstrate a track record of delivering projects that work. Word of mouth recommendations from a satisfied client are best. Avoid selecting a designer just because you like their work. A good designer won’t have a ‘signature style’, but will adjust their approach to suit each brief.
When you brief, share everything
A good designer will want you to provide them with as much relevant information as you are able to. They’ll want to understand everything about the customers you are targeting, the product or service you’re promoting, your marketplace and your competitors. You will need to share your brand values and your corporate identity guidelines to ensure any new design is completely on brand.
Your designer will also want to be clear on where the project they are working on fits into the bigger picture, and how it might be required to work in conjunction with any other marketing materials.
Avoid approaching a design brief with preconceptions of what you think you want as this will limit creativity. It’s easy to get too close to things when you’re working in your business, but being on the ‘outside’ your designer will bring a fresh perspective, so be sure to keep an open mind and give them space to work in.
Relationships require trust, and this one is no different. Your designer may suggest a direction you hadn’t thought of, but don’t dismiss it out of hand. Listen to their rationale and you may find yourself convinced. Don’t be surprised either if your designer challenges you now and then if they feel something doesn’t fit with the brief. They’ll always have your best interest in mind and will be able to back up their thinking with sound reason.
Remember, the design is for your customer, not you
This might sound obvious, but it can sometimes be difficult to separate your personal tastes from what is right for your brief. Your designer will be looking to create something that is commercially effective – not something for you to hang on your wall (well at least that won’t be their primary objective). They will put themselves in your customers’ shoes and you need to do the same.
You should never think of commissioning design as a transaction i.e. you tell your designer what you want, they design it, you pay them – it’s an organic process that will take place over several stages as initial concepts are discussed and refined, with the input of both the client and the designer being equally important.
The process will get easier and easier as the relationship develops, and your designer comes to know your business and understand your customers almost as well as you do!
Are you ready to get into a relationship with us?
We don’t want to break things up if you’re already in a great relationship with your designer, but if it’s not going so well, or it all feels a little bit one-sided, we’d really love the opportunity to meet up, find out about your business and tell you about Studio 18.
- Every design agency has their own approach, here’s ours