How to work with graphic designers

We often get asked by our members how to communicate with graphic designers, as they struggle to communicate the exact vision for the project they have in their heads. So here are our top tips for how to work with graphic designers.

To get the best from your designer, give them as much information as possible. The more the merrier. If you have an idea in your head, describe it in detail. If you’re not good at describing, use pictures (Pinterest is a great way of creating mood boards to show your designer exactly what you want). There’s a large chance you’ll be working remotely so you don’t want any miscommunication, or you might get a shock when you see the finished artwork. Or, if you’re happy for your designer to get creative and do whatever they feel like, just let them know. You might also want to interview them first to make sure they’re the right fit!

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Design is a collaboration – it’s your responsibility to clearly communicate your vision. Tell them important specifications such as deadlines, dimensions, where the project will be used, colours or fonts and budget. Be understanding of their process – they’ll be able to give you an estimation of how long it will take to complete.

If you need your designs printed, unless you’ve agreed otherwise with your designer, it’ll be up to you to get this done once the artwork is handed over to you. They’ll be able to give you advice and prepare your files for print.

Proofread your text! If your design has text, your designer will probably just copy and paste what you send them, so make sure it’s correct. Check for typos, spelling mistakes, extra spaces etc…

Lots of designers have ongoing projects and might not be able to work on your project straight away, so bear this in mind if you’re working to a tight deadline.

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It’s an obvious one, but designers will be more interested in your project if you’re willing to pay. But, don’t abandon that thought altogether – if your project is particularly interesting or innovative, designers might want to get involved without payment just for the enjoyment. Or, think of what you could offer in exchange for artwork – gig tickets, merchandise, records etc. The offer of ‘your name on their portfolio’ is usually not enough…

If you know, let the designer know what file type you want the finished artwork in – .jpg, .psd, .png, .eps, .pdf etc. Don’t worry if you don’t, your designer can advise you on this.

Be constructive. If you’re not happy with your project saying ‘I don’t like it’ isn’t helpful at all. Try to break the design down and identify what it is you don’t like, for example, the colours, fonts, layout etc.

Don’t be too controlling. It’s very tempting to slip into art director mode when you’re the client and try to control every click of the designer’s mouse. But don’t do this – it creates a stifling atmosphere for the designer to work in, you need to give them their creative freedom. As long as you’ve clearly communicated your vision for the project from the start, it’s ok to take a step back. Feel free to ask for updates. Don’t bug your designer whilst they’re busy working, but if you’d like to see updates or a first draft, let them know. That way you can give feedback on the project before it’s too late. Don’t expect the first draft to be perfect, but it should give you an outline of how the project will end up.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand the artwork the designer has created, ask them to explain it.

Joe Scarffe

Joe Scarffe

Joe is the CMO at Twine.

When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.