Tips for Collaborating and Communicating with Graphic Designers (and other people who help your brand vision come to life)

I wish everyone understood how much effort goes into creating a graphic design piece. I think people assume that marketing and design teams can throw together art pieces in two seconds [snaps finger]. But if you’re a marketer like me, then you know that designs go through several revisions. Sometimes those revisions can be tough to get through, especially when you, the idea person, are having a tough time communicating your vision to the designer so that it comes out just the way you see it in your head. I understand the frustration that can come with this process so I’m going to share some tips that I’ve learned so that you can create a winning situation (and design) for you, your designer and your client.

  1. At the start, give specific instructions and details, as specific as possible. Many designers are happy creating an original piece. However, if you already have an idea in your mind of how you want your design to look, spell that out so that the designer does not feel like his or her time is wasted further down the line.
  2. When it’s time to edit, be able to articulate which elements of the design you like and which you don’t. You may not know design jargon – I don’t – but you can say things like…

“The design appears heavier at the top.”

“I’d like to see more white space toward the bottom.”

“I’d prefer a font with fewer curves.”

You can also use descriptive words like warm, cool, busy and dull. Just be sure to use tact when communicating. You don’t want to offend the designer by saying their work looks bad, for instance. Instead, you want to be able to point out exactly which elements you believe take away from the appeal of the design.

3. Be receptive to the designer’s recommendations. Your designer has likely worked on a million projects, and through experience, has become knowledgeable about what elements create a strong design. If they give you a suggestion, seriously consider it. If you don’t understand their angle, ask questions. In the end, you will likely end up with a design that is a combination of your vision and the designer’s influence, honestly.


4. Communicate until you’re clear. As I mentioned earlier, designs can take several revisions before they are just right. As you work with your designer, keep giving your input until you are satisfied. If you get stuck/can’t quite pinpoint what’s wrong and have the luxury of time, take a break and come back to your design the next day with fresh eyes. Your designer may try to rush you or convince you that the design is fine as is. But remember, you are the client and the designer’s job is to satisfy you in the end. So just keep communicating until you feel you’ve made progress keeping in mind that, as I mentioned above, your design will likely end up being a combination of your vision and the designer’s influence.


5. Show appreciation. Getting a design just right is a celebratory moment! (At least for me, lol.) When the designer finally gets your design just right, thank them! Let him or her know how much you appreciate their effort. Because the truth is: you wouldn’t have been able to implement your next marketing piece without them!



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