Choosing a designer to work with on your next creative project can be a scary task. After all, you want to find someone that understands your vision but can translate all of your best ideas into something that not only looks beautiful, but serves its function too.
But when you do find the perfect designer to collaborate with, who can do all of the above and more...how do you prepare yourself to work with them - and to take full advantage of their time and talent?
As a designer myself, I’m so excited to share with you my top 5 tips for prepping to work with a designer - bear in mind that every designer will work differently, but this should give you a good headstart:
Every designer will have a different set of systems and processes that they use when working with their clients. This is for good reason - these systems are in place to help streamline the work that you do together and take full advantage of putting your creative ideas together with the skills of your designer.
That said - do NOT be afraid of asking questions, particularly when you don’t understand something or want something clarifying. A good designer will not be worried or phased by you questioning something and will want to reassure you and ensure that you are happy with the end result. I know that you know your business better than anybody else, so this is something I actively encourage my clients to do. Asking questions will make the end-result of the work we do together better - no doubt about it.
That said - you also need to be comfortable with putting a lot of trust and faith in your designer. They know what they are doing - they have the skills to take your incredible vision and turn your message into something visually amazing.
Trust in your designer - they know what they’re doing, have often trained for many years (and I’m a big believer in that our training never ends!) and they can make decisions for your brand and designs much more objectively than you can. As a designer, I am always invested in my clients and want them to succeed - and the work I do will reflect that.
This might seem a puzzling point - after all, if you’re hiring a designer for something, you might think you know exactly what you want. However - I would encourage you to dig a little deeper. Ask yourself questions you might not have considered before: what is the objective for this piece of work that’s being created? How do you want your dreamy, ideal audience to feel when they see this design (whether it’s your logo, a graphic or your website)? What is the purpose of this work - where will it be used, integrated, etc? What is the larger vision that you have for your business? How does this vision play into the work you want completed?
All of these questions - and many, many more - will help you to discover exactly what you want from the work and will help you to communicate this to your designer more clearly. And the clearer the spec you hand to your designer, the more likely the work you get back at the end will match what you envisioned from the start.
One of the most useful things you can hand to your designer is a brand style board. Yep, that’s right - I’m giving you an excuse to go Pinterest crazy! Firstly, start off by creating a mind map of different words you’d associate with your brand. Think of feelings you want to evoke with your ideal audience, words that you would use to describe your business and look at the language that your ideal audience use when interacting with your business. Using all of these words, start searching Pinterest one word at a time and add all images that you connect with to a special Brand Style Board. This is an invaluable resource to pass to your designer, because they’ll get a great insight into your favoured styles and will help you communicate what you want much more easily.
This, for me, is the most important thing you can do. Get excited about the work you’re doing together with your designer and bring all of that excitement, passion and incredible energy into the fold. Enjoy the opportunity you have to work with your designer and really appreciate the effort that goes into creating your work. I get so heavily invested in my clients and their work - I truly want them to succeed and hope that my work will help them to do that. When my clients feel the same way and are truly excited by the opportunity to collaborate...it’s a designer’s dream come true.
Please note: This post was first featured on Passion Junkie but is now being republished on the Rachilli blog.
Rachilli is a creative studio dedicated to empowering every independent creative, business owner + small business to brand their business authentically, aligned to their core values, mission + vision.
We also want to empower other's with chronic illnesses to carve their own path and create a life + business that works for them, and to lead the way by creating a platform for, and being a voice alongside, those with chronic illness in business.
Rachel, the founder, is an award-winning designer + photographer, published logo designer + author, and is mama to two - slightly crazy - dogs, Storm + Jasper.