How To Get The Most Out of Your Designer…

For the most part most us of have been effected by the economy in some form or fashion. Keeping that in mind it put a lot of us in a place to start over or explore our own self made business ventures that suit out own flavor seasoned with our own form passion. In the midst of that you still have one major obstacle to deal with when doing that and that is your businesses identity and dealing with graphics designers and marketing professionals. Here a couple of thing to keep in mind when work with these creative professionals…

1) DO YOUR HOMEWORK
No matter what business you are in it is a good idea to know what you are getting into and all the intricacies involved to guarantee your success in your field. Also, with that added knowledge it gives you a better idea how to give direction to the creative individuals working with you which can save you time and money. So take some time to surf the web, read a book, or talk to a friend about your desired venture so you will know what your getting into.

2) HAVE A PLAN
Think about this…when you bought your car or rented an apartment…most of you new what color, what size and or style you wanted. Going into your business and deciding what kind of identity is no different. Never think because you are not an artist you don’t know what you want. There are plenty of images on the web for you to choose from to give as references to your creative professional. Make sure you take the time to think…color, shape, and imagery (I try to suggest more simplistic designs, because it is more cost effect to reproduce in most mediums (print, silkscreen, etc.)

3) MAKE AN ITEMIZED LIST
If you buy your produce and dress shirts in the same place please stop reading my article (no offense if you have to against your will). It’s never a good idea to jumble up thoughts and ideas into one big paragraph. When you have a list of things you need and you are putting them in writing make sure to itemize each task or item (with bullet points) and be sure to state in no uncertain terms.

FOR A SAMPLE PLEASE EMAIL ME AT INFO@JUSSRAY.COM AND IN THE SUBJECT TYPE HOW TO ITEMIZE

4) CHOOSING A CREATIVE
The horror stories…when choosing a graphic or web designer know what you are looking for. The best graphic designers are strong in all print mediums and concept design for other mediums (web, video, clothing, etc.) or they are usually called multimedia artists. The better web designers have knowledge of coding and can put together a site on the web with some knowledge of code and design for the web and tend to work with individuals that just do coding (php, mysql, flash action scripting). It is my strong suggestion to never work with an individual that is all in one(in regards to web design) due to there being a lot of logic vs. creative thinking involved and if you know any one that does both most burn out very easily.

4a) CHOOSING A CREATIVE
Please take into consideration some designers friends may know, personality types, etc. Be sure that the person has in his/her portfolio the type of artwork you are looking for specifically or if not ask them to do spect art and pay them a minimum fee to show you something (not related to your project) if you dong see it in the portfolio, but be reasonable with your request. In all this remember designers are people too so treat like you like to be treated and pay there rates. If you are unsure what the reasonable rates are for services please check the Graphic Artist Guild Book in you local book seller.

5) EXPLAIN YOUR VISION
If you have done STEP 1) AND STEP 2) this step should be a breeze. After getting a feel for the designer you want to work with walk them through the vision of the artwork you had in mind. Make sure to bring pictures, books, and print outs of examples you had in mind of how you want your identity and collatoral materials to look. If it is website have five examples and what elements you like for each site and how you want the elements to work together. The better reference the more time and money you can save. Also, it will help the artist bring your vision to life for you.

***SUGGESTION: Whenever you are creating logos for your brand the art should be done in vector based program so you can reproduce it easily (I would suggest Illustrator or Freehand) talk more to you designer about this. Also, designing this way is very cost effective in the long run. TRUST ME.

6) PUT IT IN WRITING
After you have explained it and even before you explain what you want in complete detail in no uncertain terms be sure to give the instructions to your designer in writing so they have something to follow and in some cases include your creative vision in a contractual agreement that you make with the designer.

7) COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Know your style of communication when working with a creative and voice that to them. So, if you need to hear daily updates tell your creative. Or if you’re the type of person that only needs to know whats going on by email, SAY THAT. However, I will say do not be the person that likes to call or email just to hear themselves talk or like to be a micromanager. When you develop communication between yourself and your creative remember to treat them like you like to be treated and if you don’t know you can always ask them if you are over doing it or ask yourself if you may doing too much. In all that remember, it is your dollar however don’t mistreat the people who work for you cause they may sabotage your project thus costing you more to restart the project or picking up the pieces…

***When discussing changes with your designers if you have partners makes sure that only one of you is the person your designer talks to on the phone of via email(unless there is an emergency). One point of contact that has all the major changes and additions…ask yourself if you are the only one in a room and 5 people are yelling things at you…how would you feel?

***Also, be sure to call or email back when you here news regarding a quote or status of your account…It’s never a good idea to leave anyone hanging…where are your manners?

8) BE MINDFUL OF THE TIME
Does it take a week to make your favorite food? (I’m sure some smart alleck will say yes)
Try not to take more time than it should for the project to get completed. Roughly, business cards, flyers, brochures, letter head take about 3-5 days to complete if you have all the information up front and you don’t have too many changes. Websites depending on complexity and if you have all your information up front can take 2 weeks to two months to complete. These time frames are all depend on communication and complexity.

8a) CREATE TARGET DATES
No matter what project you do make sure you have target dates and even fudge the dates if you have a specific deadline you need to reach. By doing this you avoid frustration on the behalf of both you’re the client and the creatives behalf so you’re both not at each others throat. Remember the goal here is to make good quality artwork that best represents you and your work(or business) not some second rate brand identity from someone that is inexperienced.

9) BRING IT ALL TOGETHER
Yeah…You may be saying to yourself all these steps are tedious, but in the end it will save you a lot of time and money if you think it through first then act. As someone once told me don’t try to take the elephant on all at once but attack it little by little. And also remember to have fun while your doing this stuff. Loosen up a little, crack a joke every now and then, listen to your favorite tunes while your strategizing and planning. If you keep that in mind I am sure you get a great result out of not only the task of art directing a creative professional, but also out of any endeavor.

***IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE REACH ME AT JUSSRAY@GMAIL.COM

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