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How to Talk to a Graphic Designer: Bridging the Gap

Is it me? This is a question that both business owners and graphic designers often ask themselves when working with one another. The truth is both parties need each other. In-fact they complement one another.

But there’s often an awkward communication gap between the two. It’s not uncommon for designers to feel as if they are being micromanaged or led astray, especially if the client provides too many details about the design. Business owners sometimes feel they need to be very meticulous though, in order to achieve the desired outcome.

How to avoid or prevent the dubious communication gap

For the Graphic Designer:

Complete a design brief. Remember the brief is typically a written document that is focused on the desired results of the design, and not necessarily the aesthetics. It can be developed in conjunction with the client, and should include the following information:

  1. Overview of the business or product
  2. Description of the target audience
  3. Outline of the goals of the marketing material
  4. Ask the client for two or three examples that are similar to what he has in mind.
  5. For extra insight, ask the client to write down how he would like customers to describe his product or service.
  6. Arrange weekly meetings to review the progress.
  7. Inquire about the client’s management style and pet peeves.
  8. Understand the boundaries/limitations of the project (color, style, fonts, graphics, etc.).

For the client:

  1. Create (or review) a design brief in conjunction with the designer.
  2. Explain how you would like the material to look and feel, and the message you want to convey.
  3. Give an overview of the business or product
  4. Provide the designer with a few samples of designs that you like.
  5. Allow the designer to use his/her judgment. Avoid providing too many detailed instructions.
  6. Ask the designer to paraphrase the goals and guidelines. This ensures continuity.
  7. Avoid technical jargon when describing your product or service.
  8. Remain open to the designer’s ideas, even if they don’t align with your vision.

Wes McDowell, Lead designer at thedeependdesign has some helpful advice for anyone thinking of teaming up with a designer:

By:Courtney Knapp
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