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How to Get the Most Out of Your Designer

Rod Kelloway - Sunday, September 21, 2014

If you’re a small business owner or operator, then chances are you’ve had to work with some sort of a designer along the way. Maybe a web designer? Or a graphic designer? Regardless of what sort of designer it may be, the road to design success may have been somewhat rocky. Miscommunication, or misunderstandings about project scope are common complaints when it comes to relationships with designers.

So, to help you overcome these issues in the future, we thought we’d put together some advice on how to get the most out of your web designer or graphic designer. Our tips and tricks should help keep both you, and your designer, happy and help ensure an optimum outcome for all parties involved.

1. Do Your Research

Before you even think about picking up the phone and engaging the services of a designer, do your research. The more research you do ahead of time, the smoother the design process will be. Pinpoint the sort of designs that you like. Have a few website examples, logos, and graphics that you like on-hand. The list doesn’t have to be too extensive (after all, your designer will come to the party armed with some creative genius). But, if you can provide a starting point for your designer, then the first draft of your designs are much more likely to capture your brand essence and personality. Another tip (when it comes to research) is to peruse your designer’s portfolio. Make sure that there is a few designs included that match the look and feel you’re after. And then highlight these to your designer during your design brief.

2. Be Realistic About Price

Once you have decided upon your designer, it is always a good idea to ask for a ballpark estimate. Once you get this estimate, you need to be realistic about what it is that you are expecting to be delivered. You simply aren’t going to receive a high-end, custom hand-drawn $1,500 logo if you’re only will to pay $150. More is always possible, but it just means that you have to be willing to pay for the service. Everyone’s time is valuable.

3. Have Some Idea of What it is that You Want

As mentioned in our first tip, if you have a little bit of an idea of what you want before you hire a designer, then it will save you both money and time in the long run. Generally speaking, the more versions, and the more edits that a designer has to make, the more expensive the project will be.  

4. Agree on the Scope of the Project

If it’s not 100% clear at the outset of the project, then make sure that the project scope is agreed upon as early as possible. Make sure that you know what’s included in the quote, including the number of revisions. Agree upon the delivery date. Know who is responsible for which outputs. Work out a contingency plan if delivery dates are missed. Clarify the payment terms and turnaround times. Make sure that you are both on the same page from the beginning; it will save disagreements and issues down the track.

5. Expect to Pay More if You Change Your Mind

If you get halfway through the project, and then decide that you’re not 100% happy, or that you’d really prefer something completely different, then unfortunately, you do need to expect to have to pay more. While most designers, including the team here at Gloss, are keen to provide exceptional customer service, we have invested time and money and do need to be compensated.

6. Provide Constructive, Specific Feedback

If there is something that you’re not keen on, let your designer know. But, as much as possible, try to pinpoint exactly what it is that you don’t like. Feedback like, “It needs to pop more”, or “I thought it would have more wow factor” is really difficult for designers to work with. Instead, try feedback like, “I don’t like the colour – it’s a bit too dark” or “It looks a bit crowded, can we introduce some more white space”. Your designer will love you for it!

7. If Your Designer is Great, Share the Love Around

As small business owners and operators, we all know that word-of-mouth is the best possible advertising around. So, if you are super happy with your design job, then make sure you recommend your designer to all your friends, colleagues, and family members. You never know, you might even get a discount next time around.

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