Design is a Two-Way Process
By Kim Schlossberg, Andersen Alumnus Marketing Manager 1992-2002 and owner of Kim Schlossberg Designs
Design is a two-way process, and no designer can create their best work in a vacuum. Whether we’re designing a logo, a website, a brochure, or an advertisement, we need meaningful participation from our client to create the most successful design.
Recently a client asked me what he could do to make the design process faster, smoother, and more effective. That was a good question! Sometimes I hesitate to give clients assignments, but we really need client input to get the best possible result. And, to get the best design solution more quickly, efficiently, and therefore less expensively.
Why should you care if you make my life easier? It has nothing to do with you being a nice, generous person (which you are). It’s all about getting a better, more appropriate design solution. It will probably be done more quickly. And it just might save you time, money, and frustration.
Here are some things you, as a client, can do to help move your design project along.
How Clients Can Help
1. If your designer gives you a questionnaire (like we do), put some time into thinking about and answering the questions. Some may not apply, and that’s OK, and some take considerable thought.
2. Deeply understand your organization’s mission and vision, and be able to communicate them clearly. If you can’t do that yet, we can help you get to that point. But it’s the first step of a successful design project.
3. Understand who your market is, and who you are trying to reach with a particular project. Logos and websites might need to communicate to a variety of audiences, while (online or traditional) advertisements, brochures, direct mail, emails, etc. can appeal to a very targeted audience.
4. How do you want to be perceived in the marketplace? What is the image you want to cultivate?
5. Compile a list of your competitors and others serving your same market, to expedite the designer’s research process.
6. Gather ideas for logos, websites, layouts, etc. that meet your communication goal. Pinterest is a great tool for gathering visuals. You can create a private board and share it only with your designer if you don’t want to share your thoughts with the whole world yet.
7. Respond to requests and questions promptly.
8. Decide who is responsible for creating content, getting photographs, writing and editing text, etc. We offer these as part of our integrated marketing services, but not all designers do. Make sure everyone knows who’s in charge of doing what.
9. Be clear and direct about your budget, timeframe, etc. We really want to meet your needs, but we can’t do that if we don’t know what they are.
10. Give productive feedback. Rather than telling the designer exactly what to do (move this ½” to the right, make that piece red instead of blue) let us know the problem you are trying to solve. There might be better ways to meet your goal that you haven’t considered.
11. Rather than sending edits one at a time, compile them into a single request.
12. If the designer is using a project management tool, it is to make the project go more smoothly for everyone. Please use it.
13. When you get your drafts from your designer, run them by someone familiar with your organization but outside the design process. This is to see if the project communicates what you want it to.
14. The point of a design (especially a logo) is not to just reflect your personal likes, but to communicate something about the brand.
15. We appreciate you looking for images online. But if you want to use one, make sure you’re legally licensed to use it, and that it is of high enough resolution for your use.
These suggestions will help us all achieve our goal of providing successful solutions to business issues as efficiently and effectively as possible.