10 Tips for working with a Graphic Designer

How to ensure your design experience is efficient, effective, and enjoyable!

  1. Explain Yourself: Filling out a Creative Brief is a great way to take stock of your identity and goals. Going over this information with your designer is a great way to start.
  2. Understand the process: Ensuring you understand how your designer works- from estimate to invoice- will save you from miscommunications and differing expectations. Have questions? Ask! Every designer will have a slightly differing process, but you can find the general design process used by Ripple Design here.
  3. Inspiration and examples: Don’t know what you want or how to explain it? Do a Google image search for keywords, or to see what your competition is doing. Art, photos, publications, paint chips… once you start looking, you’ll find inspiration everywhere!
  4. Timing is everything: An unrushed project is a better project! Try to begin your project with plenty of time for design, revisions, and printing. Keep in mind; a busy designer may not be able to being a project immediately. However, you may be able to book a designer’s time in advance to ensure time for your upcoming project. Discuss the project with your designer to work out a realistic timeline with clear deadlines.
  5. Putting the pieces together: If you are providing text, photos, logos, etc. to be used in a project, do so as efficiently as possible. Ideally, send all the pieces at once and in their final forms. This means edited text and images of sufficient resolution. This will save you time and money on revisions. Unsure about your files? Your designer can you advise you on the required specifications.
  6. Show me proof: When first viewing the initial proof of your project, you will likely have one of two reactions: “Yes!” or “No!”. Either way, taking the following steps can be helpful. Discuss the proof with the designer; find out the reasons for their design choices. Get the opinions of friends and colleagues for other points of view. This can be especially helpful if deciding between multiple options.- If you’re not quite happy with it, try to figure out what’s bothering you. Too crowded? Too empty? Warmer? Colder? This will get you further than “I don’t like it!”. Once you like the looks, it’s important to ensure that all the content is correct. See tip 7 for more on this.
  7.  Revise Efficiently: Endless revisions can be a big time and money suck. To revise efficiently, collect all your revisions together before sending. If possible, have a second set of eyes review the project to catch anything you’ve missed. You may choose to make a list of changes or write on the document itself. Adobe Acrobat has a great tool called Sticky Note (Tools > Comment & Markup > Sticky Note), which allows you to add notes to a pdf proof.
  8. Review twice, print once: After the revisions are done and your design project looks amazing, be sure to look over the final file before sending it to press. If you find any errors that have slipped through, you’ll be glad you did!
  9. Nearly there! The printer’s proof: This of course only applies if your project is a printed one. When reviewing the proof provided by the printer, keep in mind that it is far more accurate representation of the final product than anything you may have run off your home printer. Ensure that colours are correct, images are crisp, and the size right.
  10. Invoice, the final frontier: With the completion of your project, you will receive the designer’s invoice. The total should closely resemble the estimate unless additional work has been added. To avoid surprises, keep tabs on hours spent. If you are requesting additional revisions, find out how long they will take. This is the time to negotiate, rather than upon receiving your bill. By following these 10 tips you will have assisted in making the design process as smooth as possible. This will be reflected in your top quality product and fairly priced bill. Enjoy!