Establishing-a-Creative-Partnership-With-Your-Graphic-Designer
September 2nd, 2014

Establishing a Creative Partnership With Your Graphic Designer

by Steph DeLuca

Did you know that the Facebook Like button is seen over 22 billion times per day? That it’s the single most viewed design element ever created? And that the designer who led the project spent over 280 hours redesigning this innocuous little button over the course of months?

280 hours.

Crazy, right? But we’re not here to talk about Facebook. We’re here to talk about the importance of communicating design needs effectively.

In a fascinating TedTalk, Director of Facebook’s Product Design Margaret Gould Stewart discusses how an appreciation for timeless, great design and digital technologies create optimal user experiences online. And while her discussion speaks of the vast implications of designing at scale, similar concerns and barriers arise in any creative endeavor—whether intended for a large, national audience or a smaller localized one.

Design decisions are highly nuanced, with various degrees of complexity. As a business owner or marketing professional, it’s easy to say that understanding who you are designing for is the priority. But it’s not only a strong understanding of your customer that you communicate your design needs effectively. Just as you place yourself in the shoes of your customer, you must place yourself in the shoes of your designer. Thoroughly appreciating the exciting, and sometimes frustrating, world of design will help communicate your needs and translate your ideas into cohesive designs.

First and foremost, Stewart makes an excellent point that great design requires two things: audacity and humility. Designers must have the audacity to believe that what they are creating is 1) something that the audience needs and wants, and 2) encompasses appropriate elements that properly share the brand story. Secondly, all good designers must have the humility to recognize that this piece of content—the website, graphic, or combination of both—is not for a portfolio; it’s for the people you are designing for. And creating a design that impacts its target audience is what’s at stake.

Here are some tips from our team here at Sage that will assist in communication efforts with your graphic designer:

  • Remember that your designer is your creative partner. This relationship is effective only if you are honest and open about your needs and vision.
  • Be clear about your ideas and goals, and include as much information as possible. While Sage Island conducts its own thorough research, a client’s input on their brand’s perception helps us better portray their culture and ambitions.
  • Knowing what you like and don’t like gives designers a better sense of what you are looking for. Be prepared to show work that you feel strongly about: the good, the bad, and the not-so-great.
  • Stay positive. Don’t be discouraged if the first draft is not exactly what you’d had in mind. Luckily, it’s just that—a draft. Remember how long that tiny little Facebook Like button took to create?
  • Spend time reviewing the design you’ve been given from your agency/designer. There’s a methodology & purpose behind everything that’s done, and good design will communicate and support this through its aesthetic and attention to detail.
  • When providing direction and giving feedback, be as thorough as possible. Think about color, logo placement, basic layout, page count, document size, use of infographics, and messaging that you will be trying to communicate.
  • Always ask questions. Again, design decisions are extremely nuanced. If we can help you understand our thought process, you’ll not only be more informed—you’ll have high-level feedback that we can use across the entire project.
  • Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Don’t settle when it comes to design; respectfully communicate your ideas and needs until it’s perfect.

At Sage Island, we facilitate the convergence of quality content and digital technology to create the best user experience possible. And we consider ourselves very, very lucky to work with many businesses and organizations (for almost two decades!) that understand the importance and time it takes to make a project successful. At the end of the day, nuances aside, our behind-the-scenes processes result in more visits to your website. And the combination of our user-friendly design and engaging content keeps them there. We’d be thrilled for the opportunity to take on your design project—contact Sage Island today.