8 Ways Business People Can Communicate Better with Their Designers – Ensuring both Great Design and Positive Relationships
If there’s one thing you’ve come across during your journey as an entrepreneur, it’s the need for a graphic artist. These talented workers may have created anything from your company’s logo to its business cards. Though, as gifted as they are, they can also be a challenge to communicate with.
This is something I know personally as a business woman and blogger at Best4Businesses blog with years of experience. Graphic artists are often creative-types who, in many ways, speak in a VERY different language than us businesspeople. Their jargon is not always compatible with our strict entrepreneurial focus, which creates challenges when the time comes for you to hire one.
Despite these difficulties, I’ve learned some powerful lessons over the years that will help you navigate the mind of a graphic artist and achieve maximum results.
#1 – Understand the Graphic Designers Language
One of the most important things to consider when communicating with a graphic artist is that they often operate much differently than we entrepreneurs. Mainly, this refers to their creative spirits—after all, you’re not hiring them for their skills in financing!
Whether it’s a flyer advertising campaign or a company logo, you want someone who can think outside the box and create something that stands out. Going forward, just keep in mind that you’re interacting with someone who may respond better to random inspiration than a sharp deadline.
#2 – Create Clear Expectations
When a graphic artist is tasked with creating something bold and impactful, it’s often difficult to predict what they’ll come up with. This is due mostly to how the creative process works—it’s often disjointed and random.
Thus, before they begin working, make sure you both have a clear understanding of what’s expected. To do this, simply specify what you want them to deliver. A good example of this would be asking for 3 versions of a flyer design, at which point you can choose 1 of those to be revised up to 3 times.
This way, they have enough freedom to express different creative concepts without being fully committed. You can then provide them with feedback as they begin to refine down to the finished product.
#3 – Pay What It’s Worth
Creativity is one of the most unique human skills—no robot or automated machine can create musical masterpieces. When working with graphic artists, it is critical to remember that the creative process is often random and messy.
Maximizing efficiency for a great price is not the best strategy. Excess pressure on an artist could actually inhibit their productivity and ability to create something amazing.
By allocating the right budget for their hard work, you are giving them the opportunity to let their talents flourish. Cutting them short will only sell your business short.
#4 – Determine Revisions (Process and Number) In Advance
Before working on a project together, you should establish the revisions process. Artistry is subject to a diverse range of opinions; what one person despises, another might love.
Revisions allow both the client and the worker to meet halfway and compromise towards a desired goal.By setting up revision agreements in advanced, you can help ensure that all parties involved understand what’s expected. An example of this would be requesting 5 revisions on a project. This can help the artist schedule their workload.
Also a little tact and kindness will go a long way in good working relations. When you want to reject a design, don’t criticize unnecessarily. Just pass on it and say that it is not a good fit for this particular project. Remember designers are sensitive artists who put their talent and soul into their craft and want to please you – thus their feelings could be hurt by your careless, negative comments.
#5 – Establish Communication Expectations
If creativity is a random process, then it may take some time before the graphic artist has found his or her muse. For you as a business owner, you are probably focused on meeting deadlines and finding out how things are progressing. Imposing your desires onto the workload of the designers could prove detrimental to their effectiveness.
Before beginning the project, set expectations on how you will communicate about things like project status and updates. Also, open yourself up to as many communication channels as possible. This could include phone calls, text messaging, emails, etc. Different artists prefer different means of communicating and you may find them more willing to talk using certain methods.
#6 – Keep An Open Mind
As much as it is the graphic artist’s job to be open-minded for creativity’s sake, you could also benefit from exercising this principle. Think of it like this: you may have grand ideas in mind for your company, but sometimes it’s best to let go and leave it to the experts. After all, that is why you’re hiring the talent designer.
Consider a more open mind to the artist’s suggestions. If you’re still skeptical, do not hesitate to ask them about their rationale. You might be surprised by why they thought of a certain idea.
#7 – Time Zones
A simple yet often overlooked factor to keep in mind is time zones. In a global freelancing economy, you are open to people from countless parts of the world. As a matter of courtesy (and not seeming pushy), think twice before sending out that email at 7pm EST that might reach its receiver in London at midnight.
#8 – Provide Detailed Examples
Although you cannot predict what the artist will create, you can help them understand your vision as much as possible. This is where examples come into play. At its core, providing examples of what you want can help visualize what’s in your head in a clear and detailed way.
If you’ve hired a graphic artist to create a company logo, think about other companies that share a similar theme or motif with yours. Or, if there’s another business that you’re taking direct inspiration from, don’t hesitate to provide it as an example.
Graphic artists are creative people who excel at thinking outside the box. As an entrepreneur, you can learn a great deal from them while benefiting from their contributions. Give them clear instructions beforehand but remember to keep an open mind to their creative suggestions.
About the Author!
Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your business.