How to Work With a Graphic Designer – 8 Strategies for Better Designs

Whether you need social media ads, a website design, branding, or anything else visual, your business will need to work with a professional graphic designer. If you don’t already have a designer on your team, this probably means hiring a freelancer.

It’s essential to understand how to work with a graphic designer to get the best results. Knowing how to work with a designer will help you spend less time on feedback rounds and achieve better quality deliverables.

Basically, you’ll be able to get better design results faster.

Follow this guide for some of the most important things to keep in mind when working with a graphic designer.

8 Tips for Working With a Graphic Designer

Working with a graphic designer can be a wonderful experience or a complete pain. This just depends on how you work with them.

Here are eight important things to keep in mind to make it easier to work with graphic designers.

1. Use Visual References
2. Know What You Want
3. Know Your Business
4. Figure Out the Details
5. Be Clear About Problems During Feedback Rounds
6. Be as Engaged as Possible
7. Overexplain
8. Keep an Open Mind

1. Use Visual References

When you start to work with a graphic designer, you’ll soon find that describing visuals with words can be a serious challenge. Ok, so you want a design that “pops” – what does that mean?

Possibly the biggest challenge that people face when working with designers is properly explaining what they want. Without a good brief, the designer will easily miss the mark. This will result in back and forth rework, which nobody wants.

The easiest way to assist the design process is to include visual elements in your brief. The more visuals you include, the better!

Gather up as many samples as you can of your favorite design examples. They don’t have to be of the same thing that your designer will be working on, but they will help you point out the typography you like, the colors you like, the kind of visuals you want to see, and so on.

Using visual examples also helps you as a client to better understand the design process and which elements to look out for. The more you know graphic design and the more specific you are with what you want to see, the better the chances are of your graphic designer nailing the brief.

how to work with a graphic designer

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2. Know What You Want

When it comes to graphic design, you get two kinds of clients: the clients that know what they want and the clients that don’t. Needless to say, clients that know what they want from the get-go are generally a lot more satisfied.

The more you can communicate to your designer, the more they will have to work off. Of course, you still want to give the designer plenty of creative freedom – this is why you hired them in the first place. But make sure you cover all of the critical details in a detailed brief. This will save you time and help you achieve better results.

You’ll also need to understand the scope of the project from the beginning. This will help the designer produce better work, making it easier for you to request designs. For example, do you want an adaptable logo, a single poster, or an ongoing series of marketing visuals? These are things you should establish before getting started.

3. Know Your Business

Graphic design isn’t just an artistic process; it also requires strategic input. Just like you need to have a good understanding of what you want from the graphic design, you also need to have a strong understanding of your business.

This includes knowing your target audience, destination, and the main takeaway you want from the design project.

You should be able to explain what you want the design to look like and what you want it to achieve. Good graphic designers will be able to incorporate this business strategy into their visual work.

how to work with a graphic designer

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4. Figure Out the Details

Besides all the creative decisions you need to make, you also need to establish a clear set of processes with your designer. Working with a designer will become a lot easier by having all of the important details properly laid out.

This includes things like deadline dates, how many revisions you can do, what will be included in the deliverables, what your schedules look like, what the payment will be like, and so on.

Nobody enjoys going through these details, but covering them early can help you avoid many conflicts and problems. It’s best to figure out these details early on and decide on every small detail to avoid frustration.

These details are there to help both you and the designer. For example, if a deadline is set, that’s when the designer should turn in their work. However, it’s also your job to leave any revision requests within that same deadline timeframe.

Having clear systems in place makes the work a lot easier.

5. Be Clear About Problems During Feedback Rounds

No matter how good graphic designers may be, there will probably always be some kind of feedback required. Knowing how to provide feedback properly can assist the design process in a major way. If the feedback isn’t helpful, the design project could involve multiple back and forth communication rounds.

The best way to approach feedback is to be clear about problems instead of offering solutions. Remember, your graphic designer is a professional. They know what they’re doing and they probably understand what will be best for your business in a design sense. Continually asking for new solutions can be counter-productive to the overall design.

For example, let’s say your graphic designer created a landing page, and you have a problem with the way the images are laid out. The best approach would be to say, “I don’t want this image here, and I don’t like how this image is positioned.” Your graphic designer will be able to solve the problem quickly.

If you say, “take this image out and put a big yellow visual in its place,” you will probably end up with additional feedback rounds. Graphic designers want as much feedback as possible, and they want the client to be happy, but they also don’t want the creative process to be impaired too much.

how to work with a graphic designer

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6. Be as Engaged as Possible

On the topic of feedback rounds, let’s just make one thing clear: feedback is good. In fact, graphic designers love it when clients get involved and care about the project. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with telling a designer what you want, what you like, and what you don’t like.

The more engaged a client is, the more energy they give to the designer. This gets both parties excited about the project, and it will probably result in a longer and more successful design relationship.

You could consider some icebreaker games that will help your team get to know the new designer in a less formal environment and possibly work together better.

Designers won’t always know what to deliver when clients are lazy and don’t know what they want. If this happens, the designer soon loses faith in their work, and the client loses interest.

visual identity graphic design

7. Overexplain

There’s nothing wrong with overexplaining when it comes to graphic design. Overexplaining on briefs and tasks might irritate other jobs and functions, but not for graphic designers. The more guidelines and visual examples you’re able to offer, the better.

And don’t limit your briefs to visual explanations only. A good designer will be experienced in understanding business and marketing processes. Don’t be afraid to share the business motives and goals behind each design request. This will give the graphic designer a lot more helpful information to work off.

Quite simply, the more you can share when working with a designer, the more the designer will have to help hit the brief. Whenever you communicate with a graphic designer, offering too much information is always better than not offering enough.

8. Keep an Open Mind

When you work with designers, they aren’t just there for their technical skills. They also have a creative vision that should be trusted. So when a professional designer feels strongly about a new idea, keep an open mind and be willing to embrace change.

Often, clients have a specific idea in mind, and they want the designer to match this idea completely. Well, this idea might not be completely practical or even the best choice for the business. Designers do things for a reason, so always hear them out.

Your relationship definitely shouldn’t be one-sided. If you don’t feel comfortable about the designer’s decisions, you don’t have to accept them. You are paying for a service, so you need to be satisfied with the result. However, if a designer’s vision differs from yours, don’t shut it down straight away. You wouldn’t question a doctor or an engineer on their methods, so why question your professional designer? Trust your designer’s ability.

How to work with a graphic designer

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Common Things That Can Go Wrong Working With Freelance Designers

Working with freelance designers can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also turn into a nightmare.

Nancy Nieves, Creative Director at Wishpond, explained:

“Working with a freelance designer can be great — a seemingly quick and affordable solution, however, it will always be like flipping a coin. You have to be mentally prepared for the possibility of a negative outcome and a waste of time and money; what may have seemed cheap at first can ultimately turn out to be an expensive mistake. Choose your experts wisely.”

Here are a few possible scenarios that could happen when you hire a freelance designer.

Lack of Accountability

One of the biggest risks about working with a freelance designer is a lack of accountability in the way that they work with your business. Because the client doesn’t permanently employ the designer, the designer might just stop caring about the client’s satisfaction in the end.

This lack of accountability can cause all kinds of issues, affecting the quality of work received.

One major advantage to hiring a full-time designer or going through an agency is the level of accountability that the designer has.

They Can Ghost You

What happens if the freelancer just disappears after a week? It’s completely possible. You don’t know what the freelancer’s schedule looks like and where their priorities lie, so there’s always the chance they could completely ghost you.

If you’ve already developed a relationship with the designer and they suddenly disappear, it could be devastating.

Another variation of this could be really inconsistent delivery times. Freelancers could always take on a new major project that requires their time, so they put your designs on the back burner.

You Can’t Always Trust the Quality of Work

When you work with a freelancer, you can’t always be certain of the quality of work you’re going to receive. They don’t have any serious commitments to you, so they might not be bothered by delivering substandard work.

This is especially true when freelancers get busy with a range of different clients and end up rushing projects just to get them done. If you work with your own dedicated design team, they won’t ever sacrifice quality.

They’re Not on the Same Page as You

Any graphic designer you work with needs to have a complete understanding of your business. When you work with a dedicated designer continuously, they know your business and what works. This isn’t always the case with freelancers though.

Freelance designers may take longer to really understand your business, your vision, and your values. This could result in lengthy feedback rounds and back and forth revisions and requests.

How to work with a graphic designer

The Best Graphic Design Solution for Small Businesses

Wishpond offers an unlimited graphic design service to make it easier for businesses to have their design needs taken care of. Instead of hiring a freelancer, you can work with a team of dedicated designers ready to create visual content whenever you need it.

You can access everything from custom logo designs to video content, and more. This is the easiest and most affordable solution for any small business. Unlimited design services for a single monthly fee.

Find out more about Wishpond’s unlimited graphic design services.

Conclusion

Good graphic design is essential for any business. While you may have an incredible designer to work with, you need to make sure that you know how to communicate with them properly in order to achieve the best possible results.

Dealing with freelance designers can be a challenge if you don’t know how to work with them. This is why it’s best to use a dedicated designer to help your business grow. Follow the communication tips and strategies above, and you’ll be sure to build a much stronger design relationship to help you get better deliverables.

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