I have been on both sides of the table when it comes to graphic design – in the corporate world we’d send proposals, nutrition education content, and other stuff to a design team and I remember a few times where we didn’t give clear direction but said to ourselves, “Well they should figure it out, that’s their job!” Now I’m a little embarrassed I had that mentality, knowing what I know now, being a graphic designer myself 😳
Yes, it’s 100% the job of the designer to bring your ideas to life – but we can’t read minds, and it is just going to take longer (and be more painful) without a clear design direction up front.
So here are a few tips to make sure you get the most from your designer:
Know your brand and ideal customer
It’s so very helpful to come to the conversation with a clear idea of who we’re designing for. Designing for a young mom is very different than designing for a corporation. If you aren’t clear on your target customer, it’s going to translate into a lot of revisions and/or a final product that feels disjointed. It’s funny how lack of direction manifests itself in design – but it does.
Provide examples (and reasons why you like/don’t like the examples)
Keep a running file of brands, logos, designs, and websites you like. When you share them with your designer, be specific with what it is about them you like – from a design perspective. The fonts? The colors? The layout? How it feels, their use of color or white space? It’s OK if your website examples are not competitors – sometimes the best innovation comes from looking outside our industry. You may want to look for examples that include similar types of content to what you’ll be presenting. Remember to also point out things you don’t like – that can be just as useful.
Be specific with your feedback
Once you get the design back, cut right to it and say what you want changed. Being vague or indecisive makes it tough for the designer to make revisions that meet your needs. Of course, be kind and professional, but it’s OK to be direct – “I think the icon needs to be made bolder and I’d like to see it centred” is music to our ears, vs. “The icon still doesn’t look right to me.” I’d always prefer a client who doesn’t sugar coat their revisions – I appreciate a direct approach, focused on substantive, constructive feedback. If you’re having a hard time putting a finger on what you want changed, it’s possible you aren’t yet clear on the vision for the project – and chances are your designer isn’t either. It may be a signal to go back to the first step and make sure you’re crystal clear on your needs and audience.
The design process is collaborative – you hire a designer to guide and implement your vision, but following the above will make it a pleasant and productive experience for everyone involved!
If you have a design project – whether it’s your website, a handout, or a marketing campaign, and need a fellow dietitian-turned-designer to help bring it to life, drop me a line. I love helping nutrition businesses shine! Book a free discovery call to chat about your project.