7 Tips for How to Work with a Graphic Designer

So you have a great idea for a visual project but dread the thought of approaching a graphic designer, because you’ve never worked with one before or you have and they never seem to deliver what you envision. Maybe you just haven’t found the right one. Or maybe you’re not sure how to work with a graphic designer. Here are 7 tips to help create a positive working relationship with your designer and ensure your vision comes to life.

Graphic Designer Project Timeline

Designers make it look easy, but great design takes time. Give your designer a minimum one to two weeks to complete a project (depending on the complexity). If your design project needs to be printed and shipped, be sure to work your calendar backwards and allow an additional two–four weeks in your total project timeline.

To help keep the timeline as short as possible, be prompt with your responses to any questions or feedback requests from your designer.

Share Your Brand Design Assets

Your fonts, logos, images, and brand guide are all tools that your designer needs do his or her job efficiently. It’s super helpful for you to provide these brand design assets upfront—in one centralized location—so your designer doesn’t have to bother you with mutilple requests.

If you don’t yet have a good file-sharing system in place, here’s how you can set up a design asset library in under three minutes. This one little trick will go a long way in setting up your project for success, keeping it on deadline, and making your designer love working with you.

Start with Your Copy

A good designer creates with your end goal in mind. But that means you need to be clear on what that is before getting a designer involved. Whether you’re creating a book or a brochure, make sure you’re know exactly what your message is and provide the finalized, edited, and proofread version of your text copy to your designer at the start of the project. This helps you avoid typographical errors, endless rounds of revisions because “something just doesn’t feel right,” and other delays.

Give Specific Feedback

Pay attention, because this is one of the best pieces of advice on how to work well with a graphic designer!

You have a vision and it’s your designer’s job to deliver on it. When giving feedback, be as specific as possible. Saying “Something doesn’t feel right” leaves your designer guessing, whereas saying, “I was envisioning bolder font and a bright color yellow,” gives them direction.

Sometimes it’s hard to articulate your ideas, so a good designer will help by asking lots of questions to draw out your thoughts. Giving clear and specific feedback helps avoid delays or additional fees for extra or unplanned revisions.

Focus on Your Target Audience

When reviewing design concepts, it can be easy to get caught up in your personal preferences. But through every step of the process, it’s important to keep your target audience in mind and choose designs that appeal to and work for them. This is part of the research and marketing expertise that a good designer applies to all their work.

Be Careful of Too Many Opinions

Getting your first design concepts back is an exciting part of the process, and you may want to show your friends or colleagues. But just remember they may not understand your vision or design choices, because they may not be your target audience or have not been briefed on the project purpose. Brief them on the entire project and process of your design decisions, so they can understand the strategy behind the concepts. And in the event you get confused by others’ opinions, always go back to the needs and preferences of your target audience.

Relax and Trust the Process

Finally, trust the process! Your designer will take your feedback, but they will also apply their years of expertise and knowledge of what works to your designs. Keep an open mind and relax, because they’re here to make this part of your job a lot easier, so you can focus on doing more of what you love in your business and you put your best brand forward!

If you’re wondering what it’s like to work with me, read this post! It’s all based on my personal experience and professional process. If you’re looking for a designer to help you build out your brand or marketing materials, let’s chat!