Many times, individuals looking to hire a graphic or web designer don’t understand the different segments of time involved in design. Everyone knows that “time is money”, and what people don’t realize is that you can save a decent amount by simply providing proper information and expectations.
Ultimately, you will find that you want your designer to guess as least as possible. Guessing means a shot in the dark. That is paid time spent on you shaking your head. If you want ideas, Google has a world of ideas. Plus, Google is free.
One might say, ”I don’t have any creative instincts”. That’s fine. In fact, designers aren’t necessarily looking for your “creative ideas” (unless you’ve got them). They are looking for what you are attracted to. If you want to give your designer full artistic control, that’s great—but don’t fool yourself into thinking that there aren’t colors and styles you really don’t like! Make note of these, and make sure you mention it.
It really comes down to this: Communicate what you expect, the message you want to portray, and the style in which you want it presented.
Here are some tips and suggestions that will help your designer save you time and money.
1) Have a good idea of what you’re looking for
One problem is that a lot of design seekers don’t really have any idea of what they’re looking for. A common thought among those is, “I don’t know, I’ll let the designer figure it out.” While it is true that a designer should have some good suggestions, a direction from his/her client helps immensely. A quick google search can provide a ton of information. For example, if you are seeking a new logo, start by entering [your desired field] and the word “logo”. The results should provide a lot to go through. If anything sticks out to you, ask yourself why you find it so attractive. Is it the simplicity, detail, or color that catches your eye? Modify the google search by adding your new realization. Your new search might be look like “Simple purple flower logos”. After you have found what your eye tends to be drawn to, you’ve now got a decent idea. If nothing else, it’s a start in the right direction.
- Google: “[your industry here] logos” or “Restaurant Brochure design”
- Ask yourself why you like it!
2) Provide examples
Designers can’t read your mind. Put yourself in their shoes. What would be helpful for them to succeed that you can provide? Shoot your designer some ideas (like the ones you came up with during your google search). It’s recommended that you explain why you like the art that you are forwarding. Also include anything that you don’t particularly like, if anything. Ask for the designer’s professional opinion on the direction you’re heading. Think about the feedback and give credit where it is due.
- Send favorite Google search results to your designer.
- Tell your designer why you like specifically.
- Ask for their feedback.
3) Have an idea of color scheme
This is not as important, but it does alleviate guessing on your designer’s end. Typically your designer will choose colors based on the emotion he/she thinks that you want to invoke. It’s always helpful that you offer some ideas of color. This is always easily changed later, but as was mentioned–it’s less time that the designer has to spend wondering what you would like.
- Pick a few of colors that you have in your head
- Google “[favorite colors here]” color palette. ie, Sky blue color palette
4) The more information you can provide, the less guessing involved
Your job is to eliminate the guessing game. This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how seriously lacking the provided “details” are sometimes. There are questions in a designers mind that you have not even ventured to think about. Stating up front what the design will be used for, how it will be used, or what the purpose is, will give your designer a much better idea. If your artwork is to be printed, make sure that you give (exact) dimensions. Taking a picture of what you want to put the design on comes in handy. If you have a product, send it to your designer so they can inspect and measure precisely. If you you are having something designed for on-screen display, size is everything as well. Not only size in terms of dimensions, but file size is sometimes crucial (such as working with personal website images). A great Google Chrome extension is Page Ruler. With this tool, you can precisely measure any size online image.
- Provide your whole story. What is your design for where will it be shown?
- Use online tools such as Page Ruler to help for online images
Hopefully this has given you a little something to think about. If you answer these questions in your mind, I promise that you will have a better experience with your designer. You will also save money by eliminating unnecessary time, and that is spoken from experience.
Freelance Graphic & Web Designer