All designs in this post were created by Malika Favre
These days, everyone is a photographer. It’s so easy to whip out the iPhone and snap away. Throw a filter on there and it’ll look million bucks. Now, on top of all that, everyone fancies themselves a graphic designer too. There’s a tonne of apps available with ready-made templates to add graphics, overlay text or even animate those elements, limiting the need to employ the services of a graphic designer.
But when it comes to putting branded content out there across all your socials and making it all look cohesive and platform-ready, things get a little trickier to take care of on your own. There are some things that are better left to the professionals and trust us, it’s better to save yourself the headache and spend that time on what you’re good at: running your business!
So, if whether you’ve worked with designers before or you’re thinking about hiring somebody, here’s a few important tips to make sure that you get the most out of your graphic designer.
Choose the right designer.
No two designers are the same. Some will have strengths in some areas (like web design, or animation) and some will have strengths in some other areas (like print or logo design). Before you run out and hire the first designer you find, make sure you ask to see some work examples or their portfolio. Ask about their design process, their work load and their pricing system. Think through what you need and ask yourself if they’re really a good fit for the project.
You want to work with someone who has proven themselves reliable and has a good body of work but also with someone who can communicate clearly and effectively. Every project relies upon clear and effective communication to minimise misunderstandings and to make sure that your vision for the project is being understood and realized by your designer.
Know what you want.
While a designer can be great for helping you find the right design to fit your needs, it’s super-helpful if you already have an idea of what you’re looking for. If you can’t nail it down exactly, collect examples of the sorts of designs that you love, as well as the sorts of designs that you don’t love. This will not only help you clarify what you’re looking for in the design but it will also give your designer a tonne of information about your tastes and will most likely save precious man-hours of project time being wasted on dead-end design options.
Remember: graphic designers design what you tell them to design. They will put their stylistic stamp on the project but you are the creative director and the design brief you submit makes you ultimately responsibility for what the finished design looks like. Spend the time early on to know what you want and save time and money later.
Understand what they do.
Graphic designers take your vision and bring it to life in print or on screen. They are there to make you and your business look good. But this doesn’t make them a handbag or a pair of shoes. They have other clients, time constraints, and obligations and are working professionals, just like you. Don’t expect them to be able to drop everything and attend to your every design need right away. It’s important to be professional and value their role. Graphic design takes time and skill and sometimes the design that looks so simple and fresh takes the most amount of time and effort to create.
Give helpful feedback.
Usually a designer will present you with three or more design options for you to choose from and have them refine further (hopefully you’re happy with all of them as potentials already because the design briefing process was so thorough!). There will always be minor changes to make so ensure that your feedback is clear and concise. Avoid unhelpful phrases like “I’m not into it” or “I don’t like it” and try to be more specific about the things that aren’t working for you.
It’s a common practice for designers to limit revisions to about three rounds. This is important as it helps ensure that any changes are well thought out before committing to them, avoiding any annoying back-and-forth. It also means that you need to be careful about where you’re at in the revision process. Rather than asking for changes as you think of them, make a list and send it to your designer in one hit.
Think about if the changes you’re asking for are in line with the design brief that you submitted and be careful not to stray too far from it. While a design will naturally evolve as it progresses, constant changes waste time. And time is money, y’all. Literally, in this case. You’re probably paying your designer by the hour so do yourself a favour and make your feedback count.
Learn to use Adobe CC.
This last tip wont be for everyone. As I mentioned earlier in this post, the whole point of hiring a designer is to save you time and the headache of doing the job yourself. But if you do have some time and the means to learn to use some of the more important Adobe programs: Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, it can save you time and money in the long run, especially if your graphic designs needs are great.
If you have need for constantly changing social media assets, graphics for Instagram Stories for example, it can be a good idea to have a graphic designer build an editable template for you to update as needed without having to wait or pay for it. Sure these programs are confusing at first, but there’s a tonne of free information and tutorials out there on YouTube for those willing to find it.