Communicating With Your Graphic Designer to Get the Results You Want

Graphic design would be a lot easier if we were all telepathic and could read each others’ minds. But we can’t. Here’s the reality – if you don’t brief your designer properly, there’s going to be a lot of misunderstanding, confusion and time wasted on making dreaded changes on your project. And no one likes responding to dead end back-and-forth emails! Save yourself (and your designer) some heavy lifting and refer to these notes as a checklist of the bare minimum when it comes to giving  instructions on any publication, branding or promo piece.


1. Pitch your purpose

Are you looking to sell a product? Stand out amongst other similar businesses? Send a message across? These are all important questions to have on paper before you give your project lowdown. Put yourself in the position of your favourite clothing brand. A poster to push Black Friday sales won’t have the same vibe to a poster that’s announcing a new summer collection. Unless you’re crystal clear about your who’s your what’s and your why’s, there’s a big chance that your first design draft will have a totally different concept to what you have in mind.


2. Speak in your designer’s language

We designers are visual creatures. Feed our senses by sharing three to five examples of other designs that have caught your eye. This’ll give your designer a much clearer understanding of what you’re after from a branding and stylistic perspective. It doesn’t do justice to use descriptive language like “make it more grungy” or “try get it to jump out of the page”. People don’t always see eye to eye on styles and motifs. Your designer will be forever thankful that you did your homework by sending screen grabs of colours, fonts and layouts.

3. Say it with pictures

So you’ve received the first draft and you’d like to make some tweaks. If you’re working with a freelancer, agency or contractor, you’ll probably be charged for every edit so you can imagine how much this part can bump up your bill (especially if the communication part’s not done efficiently). Make the amendments a seamless process by marking your changes with diagrams. Have a play with Adobe Acrobat or Mac’s Preview app to add notes and correct copy. If that’s tipping outside your tech comfort zone don’t stress! Printing out your draft and putting pen to paper works just as well.


4: Keep it clear and concise

It’s true – common sense isn’t that common! Our last little hack is to keep messages and assets organised – especially if you want quality work with a fast turnaround time! When you’re supplying images and branding assets to your graphic designer, package everything an organised shared folder that will make it easy to sift through logos, inspo images, photographs and copy. Avoid the temptation to go on an email rant every time you have a change of mind. Instead, keep your comments, project briefs and changes in their own email threads so it’s easy to track the edits. Oh, and stick to email or one chosen collaborative platform. Scattering messages across Facebook Messenger, Skype and text causes confusion and clutter and you wouldn’t want to be penalised with hidden invoice hours!


Felisha Mendoza Mina is a multidisciplinary creative, teaming up with brands across Australia, North America and Europe. With 6+ years of experience across Graphic Design, Creative Direction, Videography, Photography and Marketing, she takes a highly integrated approach to media and communications that uses a breadth of technical and analytical skills to help industry leaders look better, work smarter, and create with efficiency. 

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