6 fundamental rules for working with a graphic designer
We owe graphic designers a lot. Without them, our presentations would be less lackluster and our logos created on Paint. Professionals in communication, marketing, and pretty much anything digital are used to working with them on a regular basis.
However, many of us are unaware of certain fundamental rules that could make working with our graphic designer friends that much easier. As a result, we unintentionally commit mistakes that blur the lines of communication and may cause friction between colleagues.
At Meero, our business and marketing teams work with creative people every day. Visual content is our core business, and we aim to create the right conditions to create and share it. That's why we have made our MeeroDrop transfer tool available to all our teams (and to the public as well!).
It’s also why we’ve asked our very own graphic designers for their advice on how to smooth out communication as much as possible.
1 - Clearly define the assignment
Don’t get ahead of yourself with the brief! Before everything else, it’s essential to outline the mission in order to avoid any surprises later on.
If you’re working with a freelancer, it’s crucial to clarify the details before getting started: specify the context the company finds itself in, the objective of the assignment, what exactly is being created, the timeline, and the budget. This information will give the freelancer the information they need to give you a quote.
An in-house graphic designer will be more familiar with the company's context and brand identity. However, you will still need to make sure you provide the context of the assignment and the deliverables you expect. This will enable them to make some room in their schedule and to give you a realistic deadline.
2 - Give them something to work with
It's just not possible to hire a graphic designer without first briefing them. But what exactly is a brief? Graphic designers have seen it all: from the simple email to the (too?) detailed presentation. However, when asked, they’re unanimous: the most important thing for a brief is that it contains the concrete elements necessary for the assignment.
The text provided should be the final version and available in an easy to copy/paste format (no screenshots!). Visual elements (logos, photos) need to be delivered in a high definition format, often too heavy to be sent by email. To keep track of all of these important elements throughout the project, it is possible to create on MeeroDrop a secure sharing space (called a Drop) that centralizes all the files throughout the entire life of the project.
Another vital requirement is not to forget the technical specificities of what you expect: the format, weight, size, or duration in the case of video content.
3 - Avoid briefs that are too vague...
Who has never asked a graphic designer for a 'minimalist banner that guarantees a wow-effect?' We've all used one of those vague terms, a graphic designer's pet peeve. These terms are so vague that everyone interprets them differently. That’s what makes it so hard to decipher exactly what people mean when they ask for something 'stylish’ or “modern.”
Instead, our graphic designers recommend using simple and clear words that refer to something specific: a flowery background, pale colors, an elegant atmosphere… you get the idea.
When in doubt, do by all means send examples, visual inspirations, and benchmarks. Images speak more clearly to the graphic designer, who will understand your own inspiration.
4 - …or too detailed
On the other hand, some of us know exactly what we want from a graphic designer... and sometimes go so far as to micromanage the designer to make sure we get exactly what we want. What's the problem? If you give them more freedom, the artist will be more likely to come up with something more appealing. The job of a graphic designer is to find visual solutions to better convey a message. Give them the opportunity to surprise you!
Avoid overly precise slides that indicate the exact spot where you would like to place each element of the design. We recommend communicating to your graphic designer the main objective of the assignment and leaving it up to him or her to find the best way to arrange the different elements.
5 - Provide clear feedback on each version
Depending on the assignment, the graphic designer may create several different propositions. Afterward, depending on your feedback, they’ll make multiple versions of each proposal. You quickly find yourself juggling between Logo2_V4, Logo3_V6, and Logo4_Vfinal...
To avoid doing multiple rounds of back and forths with multiple versions getting lost in emails, it’s better to name and organize your files, which isn’t always easy. This is why the MeeroDrop tool provides its users with a real dynamic collaboration space. It is possible to update files as you go along (by deleting old ones and adding new ones) all with the same link.
On MeeroDrop, it is also possible to comment on each file individually to avoid confusion. You can also like the versions you prefer. When there are multiple stakeholders on the design, these simple functionalities become a real lifesaver.
6 - It’s not over when it’s over
When exactly does a project end? When the graphic designer delivers the final version to you? Once the design has been validated, we all tend to move on to something else without necessarily giving further feedback.
However, these last few interactions are extremely important: they allow the graphic designer to understand what you prefer and to better orient their future work. Not to mention the satisfaction of knowing that one of their visuals worked well. After a successful campaign, you don't always think about congratulating the graphic designer who created the mock-ups.
It is important to keep the discussion open even after the project wraps up. Tell the graphic designer which of their proposals were selected and what the results were. There is no need to restart old email loops. MeeroDrop sharing spaces are long-lasting. Their lifespan allows you to update the graphic designer on each creation well after the delivery phase... and why not share the results of your campaigns!