If you have ever used a graphic designer to produce a new logo, advertisement, brochure or other marketing communications material and been disappointed with the results, read on. Getting good results from graphic designers is as much about you as about them. To get fantastic design each and every time, follow these simple guidelines.
Choose your designer carefully
Before you appoint a designer to a project, get to know them, the sort of work they usually do, the type of clients they’ve worked with before, and ask to see their portfolio. Don’t buy just on price. Whilst you’ve probably got a budget to stick to, it doesn’t always pay to take the cheapest option.
Choose a designer you feel you can work with, so someone who you get on well with, and who’s portfolio of work reflects your own project. For example, some designers specialise in particular markets, like financial services, or engineering/industry, or some focus more on designing advertisements rather than direct mail.
Give a clear and comprehensive brief
The single most important part of getting the results you want from your graphic designer is to make sure that he/she understands exactly what you want. Graphic designers are not telepathic, so unless you make it clear to them what you want, you have little chance of getting it.
Your brief should include:-
Practical information such as what the piece is and how it will be used (for example, “I need a full page, full colour advertisement for the April issue of The Magazine, which is sent to all companies in the Pittsburgh area”).
Details of content
e.g.: (“I need to feature these three products and include this special offer”)
Information about the target audience
e.g.: (“I want to appeal to managing directors of companies with more than 50 employees, and who are in rented office accommodation”).
Guidance on the style and “tone of voice” for the piece.
This will probably involve showing the designer other advertisements, brochures, websites etc from your company, so that he/she gets an idea of the style you use.
It is important that the designer understands how to use your corporate identity (your logo and other house graphics), and whether you portray your company in a formal or informal way, whether the piece should be informative or educational, or if it should just go for the hard sell. You should also discuss any particular requirements with your designer, for example, “I want the advertisement to be really bold and stand out from everything else in the magazine”, or “I want a sophisticated look”.
What do you want your target audience to do once they have seen you advertisement? Do you want them to call you, visit your website, come to your store etc?
Arming your designer with this type of comprehensive brief means you dramatically increase your chances of getting a fantastic result.
Work with your designer
Graphic design is a creative process. It is unlikely that your designer will get it spot on first time, so you need to allow for the development of ideas. If you don’t like what your designer comes up with, it isn’t because it is “wrong”; it’s just one of many interpretations that could be put on your brief.
If you had something more specific in mind and didn’t get it, it is likely that you failed to be clear in your brief. Discuss what you like and don’t like about the ideas your designer comes up with and why, and then he/she can go away to develop the project further. It is true that sometimes you don’t know that you do or don’t like something until you see it, and that’s ok, it’s just part of the process.
If you follow these guidelines you will see the quality of work from your graphic designer increase dramatically, and your return on investment improve accordingly.
Businesses often find that they ask a graphic designer to work on a project for them and are disappointed with the results. This article examines why that is and gives guidance on how to get better results in future.