3 Tips for Better Communication with Designers
Use these tips to communicate with your designers more effectively
Graphic designers might never tell you this directly, but there are a few turns of phrase that simply send them over the edge—and chances are, you’ve said one of them at least once.
But don’t feel bad! Often, conversations between clients and graphic designers can be a little tense because the two parties don’t have a shared language or communication style. As a result, both individuals may find themselves having a difficult time expressing their needs or concerns about a project.
However, once you’ve learned a few ways to guide a project and deliver feedback, not only will your designer feel more confident in fulfilling your desires, you’ll feel better knowing that, as a client, you’re enjoyable to work with.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Give concrete examples
You know how you bring a photo of the haircut you want to the hairdresser to ensure you’re on the same page? Try that with your graphic designer before starting a new project.
Go on Google Images or Pinterest or even a competitor’s website and look for pictures that look similar to the look and feel you’re after. You don’t need to know every font’s name—just what kind of aesthetic you think fits your campaign. Note what you like about each of your examples (colors, patterns, arrangements, or styles of type) and highlight them clearly.
Similarly, find designs you don’t like. Whose website feels clunky, ugly, or hard to use? What do you not like about it? List out all of these things to go over with your designer in your first meeting.
Use specific language
It’s extremely difficult to exactly share your own mental images with another person—and it’s impossible when you don’t use explicit, exact language.
Rather than describing the look and feel you want as “summary,” try to think about what those components are. Warm? Outdoors? Where outdoors? By a pool? By the beach? In the woods? Early summer or late summer? Middle-American baseball summer?
Think about what sort of imagery goes with the look you’re going for—and, maybe even more specifically, the imagery that’s already in your head. Then share exactly that. The more precise, the better.
Deliver feedback that’s based in facts, not feelings
If you’re not thrilled with a first draft, it can be disappointing - you’ve been waiting for this work for a little while and you were really hoping to hit the ground running. However, even if you don’t like it immediately, it’s helpful to sit with the design for a while and determine why.
Critique can be really useful in narrowing down what a project should look like, but a simple “I’ll know it when I see it” doesn’t get you any closer. Is it the font? The color pattern? The message it’s sending?
Rather than delivering critique as an opinion or a feeling—”I don’t like it” or “It’s ugly” or even “it’s too confusing”—try being hyper-specific about the elements you aren’t enthused by.
Truly, though, the best way to facilitate communication with a designer is to be respectful, polite, and keep the channels open. Be available, be prompt, and never, ever tell them to “make it pop.”
efelle can bring your design to the 21st century
efelle creative is a Seattle-based web marketing firm that specializes in website design and development, website content management, search engine optimization, and other online marketing services. Since 2005, efelle has worked with hundreds of businesses to help them with their web development needs. Call us at 206.384.4909 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with a custom web design specialist.
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