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hiring a graphic designer? how to be a rockstar client

Hiring a Graphic Designer? How to Be A Rockstar Client & Ensure Project Success

May 11, 2015

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If you are like many small business owners, hiring a graphic designer for the first time can be a little scary. You are venturing into unchartered waters with your business and your hard-earned dollars are at stake.

Lucky for you, if you’ve done your homework and taken the time to search for a trustworthy graphic designer that fits your business, you can breathe easy knowing your in good hands. Once you’ve found the perfect fit, you may be wondering what’s next and what you can expect.

The truth is that every project and client are different. Some projects turn out much better than expected, while others can quickly turn into nightmares. The majority of projects fall somewhere in between. What’s the difference between the good and the bad? It all boils down to the line of communication and the relationship you have with your designer. Better relationships = better outcomes.

So how can you create a relationship with your designer that ensures project success? Here’s where you should start:

Trust Your Graphic Designer

Since we’ve already touched on the topic, I’ll start with trust first. This trust isn’t the warm fuzzy kind you may share with your best friend or your significant other that develops after years and years. This trust is rooted in cold-hard facts.

As we’ve already established, you’ve done your homework to find a designer with the right skills and experience to fill the job. So why second guess yourself now? Trust the judgment you used to hire your designer throughout the duration of your project, not just at the beginning or when things are smooth sailing.

If you find yourself constantly eliciting feedback from various colleagues, or dare-I-say other designers (cringe), it’s likely you do not trust your designer. Your mistrust will be clear to your designer from the get-go and will create tension for the rest of the project, if it doesn’t derail the project all together.

Trusting your designer doesn’t mean you have to give up the reins completely, so to speak; just loosen your grip. Let the trained professional, you so expertly sourced and hired, do what they do best. If you have a question, feel free to speak up. Any professional designer should be happy to help you understand why they made certain design choices.

Give Objective Feedback

Giving feedback to your graphic designer can be a touchy subject if you feel uncomfortable communicating with them. However, requesting changes from your designer will not be seen as a personal attack on their work unless you phrase it as one. When giving feedback to your designer, be honest, but also try to be as objective and descriptive as possible.

Here are some examples of things to avoid and some things to try:

I don’t like the color orange, so can you use my favorite color, blue, instead?
I have research that shows the color orange is unappealing to our target market. Could we use a different color that we know they will respond positively to?

I hate it! It looks ugly. This is not my style at all. What were you thinking?
✅ I’m not sure I agree with your approach. Could you explain to me why you made some of your design choices? I feel like there is a disconnect between the brand we discussed and what you have created. For example, we talked about a modern, clean design and these elements feel very busy to me.

It’s missing something, but I don’t know what. Can you just try again?
✅ I revisited our communication objective, and don’t feel like this design satisfies our goals. For example, the imagery only caters to half of our audience.

When all else fails, always think about the bigger picture and revisit the goals of your project. In my experience, one of the hardest parts about giving feedback for clients is remembering that feedback should not be about personal preference, but about what will be the best solution in satisfying their objectives and reaching their audience.

Get Organized

The quickest way to become a superstar client in the eyes of any designer is to be organized. Taking the time to organize your project can mean the difference between project success and failure, or at the very least, the difference between having an enjoyable experience and a nightmare. Essentially, being organized boils down to respecting the other person’s time and setting them up for the best outcome.

As a designer, I organize all my clients files in a way that make it easy for me to find things when the client needs them. This gives me the opportunity to spend their money on creating awesome designs rather than sifting through files and content. It may take some practice, but getting organized will help produce a better outcome for everyone.  Need some organization tips? Try these on for size:

  • If you’re communicating your feedback about a design through email, use a program like Acrobat to post comments directly on the design. This cuts down on ambiguity and confusion.
  • Compile and edit a complete, solid draft of your content before asking your designer to start the project. The content you provide will greatly influence the design and a half-baked note on a napkin isn’t helpful to moving the project along.
  • Avoid a string of email attachments and use file sharing tools like Google Drive and Dropbox to share large photos and organize them into folders with appropriate naming conventions to the project.
  • Even if your agreement allows you unlimited revisions, condense your edits into rounds. Sending a separate email every time you find something to change can get costly for you and confusing (not to mention exhausting) for the designer. 2-3 rounds of revisions is a good place to start unless otherwise indicated by your designer.

Looking for a designer to see you through your next design project successfully? Talk to K Design Co. today.

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kristin pruis

Before I enrolled in design school, I was *this* close to switching my major to become a writer. But fate had other plans, and here I am, 10 years deep as a designer while nurturing my love for writing on the side.

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Teaching others everything I've learned about branding, design, and marketing over the past 10 years is a passion that truly fills my cup. No matter where you are on your journey of owning your business, I hope you'll find something here that you can take with you and leave you feeling inspired.

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