The design process at it’s best is a focused collaboration between client and designer, producing materials that further the mission of the client. At it’s worst it’s an expensive frustration producing ineffective materials that are a waste of everyone’s time & money. So you don’t fall down the rabbit hole of countless revisions, overdraft fees on your checking account and masses of hair missing from your head (that you’ve pulled out from utter frustration in response to seemingly futile communication efforts) consider approaching your next design project with these specific questions for your designer:
- Can you give me a written estimate?
Once you have communicated to your designer about the specifics of your project you must get a written estimate before you begin. This keeps both parties clear on expectations and costs – which are the root of all evil when not communicated clearly.
- When can I expect to see something?
After you have agreed on what needs to be done and how much it costs, make sure you let the designer know what your time frame is. If you don’t have one, the designer may take heart and not produce anything for quite some time. Clear deadlines keep everyone on track. The creative mind is never bored and your designer may just wander off if you’re not helping to keep them focused.
- How do you like to receive feedback?
Designers NEED feedback from the client to produce materials the client will be happy with. Being clear on how that happens is crucial to a successful project. Establishing your method of communication – whether phone, email, text or recorded video chat – will help facilitate positive results and keep the project moving forward.
- Is it ok if I give you some of my ideas?
There is a difference between wanting to see your ideas and telling your designer how to design. Designers LOVE to show people their ideas – it’s what we do. A good designer will want to help you out, so they will be happy to show you some of your ideas along with some of their ideas. That way the best possible outcome is most likely to develop. In many cases the designer will come up with something you’ve never thought of and you’ll see that thing you thought sounded really cool looks terrible.
- Is it ok if I just let you be creative?
Remember that you’ve hired a designer to bring her skills of creativity to the table. Good designers are well trained and have spent years honing their craft. The worst possible thing to do to a designer is to tell them how to design. If you can do it yourself, then you should. Save everyone from expensive therapy and don’t hire a creative person to be creative if you’re not willing to give them the freedom to create.
As a client, your responsibility is to communicate clearly, set expectations, be open to possibilities and expect amazing results!