How to Work With a Graphic Designer

I am not a graphic designer by trade, but I am sympathetic to their situation and the work that they do. Graphic designers are in the unique position of understanding the industry and its trends, often working with people who do not. There can sometimes be head-butting between a good client and a good graphic designer, even if both of them are doing their best and have the best of the project in mind. Even if there is misunderstanding, there can always be compromise, but sometimes it works well for the client to simply trust a good graphic designer. Here’s how and why.

1. Trust a Graphic Designer on the Basis of Their Other Work.

One of the potentially awkward parts of the designer/client relationship is that many designers turn in a finished product. Many times this is the first time the client is seeing the work – work that representing dozens of hours of effort. If the client loves the piece, all is well, but if the client is unsure, what happens now? Does the client pay full price? Demand another iteration? Scrap the project and start over with someone else? Sometimes the client simply doesn’t love a piece of work, but if the Graphic Designer is well chosen, my advice is: listen to the designer, for the betterment of your brand. These people are in the business of giving you work that will give you value in the real world. If you have seen them work wonders for other, similar brands, chances are they’ve given you work just as good, even if you don’t get it at the moment. In a few days or weeks, you will likely see the value in what they’ve done. If you hit an impasse, and the work is absolutely unacceptable, work at a revision, and compensate them for their time, but a good designer will work with you.

2. Have a Clear Understanding of What You Want, and Be Able to Explain it.

It is natural for clients to lack the verbiage to explain a concept to a graphic designer in their own terms. And this is OK. After all, I wouldn’t be able to speak with the owner of a finance blog with absolute financial accuracy. But make sure you do your best. See if you can form a picture in your mind of exactly the kind of piece you want. Look for examples online and bring them to your designer. Make sure your ideas and examples aren’t totally contradictory. Have the designer tell you, in his or her own words, what it is they think you want from them. Work extra hard in this early exchange to make sure you’ve laid a foundation of common understanding. By doing so, you are much more likely to love the work produced, and your graphic designer will like working with you a lot more, too.

If you invest in good design, your graphic designer will likely be a joy to work with, someone who creates your vision into something better than you could have imagined. But it takes some work to communicate with a creative person like this. Take some time to understand your own vision, and how to best communicate it with the designer. If there are hiccups, work through them graciously, and know when the simply trust the professionals.