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how to work with a graphic designer

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New Year, New Process—What’s it like to work with me as your graphic designer?

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work with a graphic designer or HOW to work with a graphic designer, you’ll get a little glimpse of that here.


I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty or all the details, but I am going to unveil a little bit of what you can expect as I detail what my own new process looks like for 2019. This is great insight for all of my past clients, so they know what to expect going forward and also great insight for anyone who wonders what they can expect when hiring a freelance designer.

So, here are the things I want to touch on in my updated process:

  • Contracts

  • Deposit Payments

  • Proofing

  • Testimonials

  • Referral Program


Contracts

For 2019, I will require signed contracts for ALL projects for both new and continuing clients. For every project, I will need to have a contract signed and if there are multiple deliverables in a project, I will bundle them into one contract. This is to keep me organized and to keep projects going really smoothly. It actually protects my interests and my clients’ interests.


Deposit Payments

Most designers, including myself, require a deposit before they begin work. For design work, I typically work with my clients on the deposit amount and payment schedule based on the scope of the project.

For projects that require printed materials, such as wedding invitations or business cards, where I need to order the materials and have them printed, I will require a 50% deposit upfront.


Proofing

Once I design your project, I send it to you to proof. You then get back to me with changes and we work back and forth until you have a final design.

Going forward, once a proof has been finalized, you will need to sign off on it. This will be after the back and forth with changes. The pdf of your final proof will have a place to type your name on the pdf. You’ll type it, save the pdf, and send it to my email. I then save this email and final proof as confirmation that you’re happy with your design and we’re all finished and ready for print or to send them to you via email.


Testimonials

After we’ve completed your project, I’ll send you an email requesting feedback and a testimonial about our work together. I would really appreciate feedback as this helps me make my process better and also helps others make a decision about working with me.

If we’ve worked together multiple times, one testimonial is all I’ll kindly request.


Referral Program

I’m so excited to have a referral program and incentivize you for telling others about me.

Whether you refer a business client or an individual client, your  referral will get a 20% off discount from me and, if your referral orders from me, you’ll also get 20% off your next order. To get the discount, all your referral has to do is mention your name and that he or she was referred by you for a referral discount.

If you have ANY questions, feel free to reach out to me. Otherwise, if you’d like to chat about an upcoming project you need a designer for, I’d love to learn more.


Reach out to me via the contact page to chat further.

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How to Work with a Graphic Designer: 8 Steps to A Successful Client-Designer Relationship

For those who haven’t worked with a graphic designer before, the process might be a little daunting.

“Will she get you?”

“Will she be able to create the design you’re looking for?”

“What do you do if you hate what she comes up with?”

A million questions about how you’ll navigate the process and relationship might be running through your mind.

And, if you’ve worked with a graphic designer in the past and had a bad experience, you might have many more questions and a lot more hesitation.

No good relationships just miraculously appears that way. It takes effort and intention and the same goes for any business relationship or collaboration. Both parties need to put in the effort, define their roles, and communicate.

Here are 8 steps to help you navigate any concerns you have about working with a graphic designer for the first (or fifth) time, so you have a successful client-designer relationship:

1. Establish the Goal

Establish the goals of your project and design before you begin the project. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and clear about what needs to happen. Your designer needs you to explain the complete creative brief, goals, target audience, vision, and more in order to create the right design that meets your expectations.

2. Define Each Other’s Roles

Remember, as the client, your role is to provide all of the necessary information for the design, the feedback, and the design problems you’re having.

You’re hiring a designer to provide design solutions, so don’t try to take on that role by also offering up design solutions. Let the designer know what problems or struggles you’re currently having with your design.

If you look at the design and say “make this text bigger,” that’s a solution, not a problem. The designer might do just that and it still may not be the right solution, because your problem might ultimately be that the wording doesn’t grab your attention or is difficult to read.

Tell her exactly what the problem is and let her use her design skills to work out solutions that address the design as a whole.

3. Understand and Agree to a Contract

Contracts are super important in any business-client relationship. Due to the nature of the work, many clients get frustrated with designers and just stop their project after a certain number of attempts. They then think that since they didn’t get a final product that they liked, they don’t have to pay a final balance ( or pay altogether).

Remember to be very specific in your contract and to understand the terms. You need to clearly outline the deliverables, the number of revisions included in the agreed upon price, and a kill fee, if necessary should you or the designer wishes to discontinue working together.

4. Lay Out How You’ll Communicate and On What Channels

Determine how you’ll communicate ( over the phone, via email, through video conferencing, etc.) and what channels you will use. If your designer is having to piece together instructions and communication from email, text, and Facebook messenger, there’s a good chance something is going to get missed in the mix and you’re going to be unhappy, because she didn’t see or implement your feedback.

It’s also important that you effectively and honestly communicate what you like and don’t like. Don’t just say “this doesn’t feel right,” because that provides no clear guidance for the designer to work with. Are the colors slightly off? Do you not like the layout, the font, or the image used?

Be really clear and really honest. This helps guide your designer, so she creates a final design you love.

5. Provide Timely Feedback

Nothing is worse than having a design project hanging in limbo for months. When you receive your designs and revision, make it a point to provide feedback within 24-48 business hours to keep the project going.

6. Be Understanding of Setbacks

If it’s taking a bit longer to nail the design, be understanding of setbacks. Sometimes, it takes work to dig out the vision for a design, so if additional necessary revisions through off the timeline, make sure to remember that more work than originally planned for is going into the project. And don’t forget, your end result will be better because of it.

7. Cultivate Trust

It can be really hard to trust someone to design something really important for your business. But, trust is essential for a good working relationship. Even if you’re a bit hesitant, let your designer know that you hired her because you believe in her skill.

Trust that she’ll deliver exactly what you’re looking for even if it takes a few rounds of revisions. Revisions are, after all, where the real magic happens.

8. If you have a good experience, refer away

Referring people from your network is a great way to build a designer-client relationship, especially if you plan on working together long-term on other projects. Your designer will be grateful plus know that you really do approve of the quality and level of work she does for you. Plus, if she runs across anyone who needs your services, she’ll have you top of mind, too.

If you’re looking for a graphic designer for your small business, I’d love to learn more about your project.

To talk to me about your design needs, reach out to me via my contact page.

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4 Things You Need to Do to Successfully Work With a Graphic So Your Project is Efficient and Everything You Want it to Be

If you’ve never worked with a graphic designer, it can be a little daunting to hire one.

You might be worried that you won’t like the final design or that the freelance graphic designer won’t be able to “catch your vision” or adequately represent your brand in a visual way.

If you’ve worked with a graphic designer in the past and had a bad experience--well, you might be even more worried.

Listen, I know we creative types can get a bad rep. But, like most people who love what they do, the majority of us take not only great pride in our final design, but in our creative process and the way we make you, as the client, feel throughout it.

We want you to love the process and feel heard and understood as much as we want you to love your final design.

So, in order to ensure that your next project is efficient and everything you want it to be, here are 4 things that will help you improve how to communicate with graphic designers and prepare you to hire a graphic designer who exceeds your expectations.

How to Work With a Graphic Designer (Successfully!)

1. Have ideas, examples, and a goal in mind for what you want

If you want your final design to fit the vision you have in your mind, you need to come to your graphic designer with concrete ideas, examples, and a goal in mind.

You should also narrow your examples and ideas down. If you come with a ton of examples that are all incredibly different and don’t pinpoint exactly what you like about each one, your designer will have a difficult time narrowing down what exactly you want.

When you’re specific with your examples, goals, and ideas, it’s very easy for a graphic designer to take those, ask further questions for better clarity, and present a final design you love.

You’ll also likely have way less revisions and edits to get to the final design.

2. Point Out the Good with the Bad When Giving Feedback

Once you get the first version of your design, make sure you are very detailed in your feedback. Don’t just reply with “I’m really not feeling it” or “This isn’t quite right.” Those comments provide no additional direction to the designer and make it impossible to come up with a better, next version.

Point out exactly what you like and exactly what you don’t like. If the layout is perfect - say that! If you want to change the font style, color, or image - point that out.

Pinpoint exactly what it is that “doesn’t feel or look right” and provide clear direction. This will ensure that each additional version will get closer and closer to the final you’re after.

3. Be Open-Minded to New Things Before Throwing Them Out

Before you throw out an idea the designer has or something that he or she has done, be open to it. Look at it from a different perspective and the perspective of your target market.

Good designers know what’s eye catching on various platforms and do their research about your company and brand. As much as you trust your ideas and eye for style, also trust theirs. You might just be surprised by how an idea comes to life and looks in a design.

4. Get to the Root of the Problem

The biggest problem that causes miscommunication on creative projects and frustration amongst designer and business owner is not getting to the root of the problem.

This goes hand in hand with identifying exactly what you don’t like, but it’s really important to dig deeper and get to the root. Is it the color, is it the layout, is it the squiggly lines, or background?

If you can get to the root of what the problem is with your design or why it’s falling short immediately, your project will go much more efficiently. For example, if your logo isn’t as “classy” as you’d like. Get to the root for what doesn’t look classy. Is it that one color used is too vibrant of a shade and the font style isn’t quite what you had in mind. Do you have an example of a couple of classy fonts you love? Really get to the root and you’ll have much more success.

Keep these quick tips in mind and you’re sure to have greater success and a much more efficient time working with a graphic designer.

If you’re looking to hire a freelance graphic designer, I’d love to talk with you about your project. Explore my all occasions portfolio page and my branding and identity portfolio page If you love what you see, then reach out to me via my contact page to chat further.

 

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