5 Tips for Communicating with a Designer About a New Logo Design
Working with your designer should be a great experience, however, I’ve heard horror stories from both sides. “The designer doesn’t understand what I want at all!” or “The client just doesn’t get why this is awful!”
At the end of the day, it always seems to be a communication issue. A misunderstanding. An untold frustration. A hesitation to be honest.
From the side of the designers, it’s hard to communicate our expert opinion about a client’s design when the client has little to no knowledge of design theory or principles nor the language. Designers live in it every day and they forget that not everyone knows the right lingo.
Alternatively, it’s hard to communicate with a designer when the client can’t express in the right words what they’re really wanting to see. Sometimes they’re genuinely not even sure what it is they want to see. The designer will do their best to get it out of the client, but it holds true that you don’t know what you like or don’t like until you see something you like or don’t like. It’s can be hard to express into words what your vision is.
So, as a client, how do you solve for both sides and help your designer turn your vision into a masterpiece?
1. Ask a lot of questions
Can I see this color? Can that be larger? Why not? Why is this writing so large? What is that shape? What do you recommend? What are others doing? Why did you do it that way?
These types of questions help designers understand (and remember) that you need help translating what they’ve designed or are about to design in a way that you can comprehend. There is nothing wrong with not knowing the language that your designer uses and it helps if you ask what things mean or why things are. Designers don’t know what you don’t know and the more you ask, the better we can understand where you are and what you’d like to see.
2. Don’t be afraid to answer questions honestly
If your designer shows you something you don’t like, tell them. As humans, sometimes we like to soften the blow and keep some information to ourselves, however, that isn’t helpful for your designer. What ends up happening if you don’t tell it how it is? Your designer keeps trying to make you happy with things that don’t quite make you happy and it takes a lot of time on both sides… and then no one is happy.
Be kind to your designer, but also clear up any confusion you or they have about what you want to see. Don’t like the color? Say that. Aren’t sure that you want to give full creative freedom? Say that too. Any hesitation or holding out on details or feelings could mean the difference between getting your project done in 24 hours or in 2 weeks.
3. Remember why you hired a designer
I’ve very often seen a struggle between a client and a designer where the client has requested a certain change that the designer knows isn’t good for the client. And your designer is going to hesitate to be honest with you because they don’t want you to be upset – they want you to have a good experience so that you leave them a good review.
You hired a designer initially because you wanted something professionally done, by a person or group of people who are experts at what they do because you don’t have that skill set. Always keep this in mind when you feel hesitation from the designer that you’re working with – you might have asked them to make a change that goes against design standards or that they know will hurt your final design. Even worse, your request may be so far against design standards that your designer doesn’t even want to show off your final design in their personal portfolio of work. Why? Although you hired a professional designer, they may not have had the frankness to tell you that your suggestion makes the design look bad and succumbed to do what you asked without properly cautioning you about the long term effects of the bad design. It’s hard to blame them – no one likes their idea shot down and they really have trouble shooting down a client’s idea.
Great design can give you killer marketing results and bad design can kill your business quickly. Designers know that and want to keep you from bad design. Remember that your designer’s guidance to you is based on their professional experience – if they shoot you down or try to talk you out of something, they’re really trying to help you get the best results possible, not to hurt your feelings at all.
4. Be up front with your intentions
Don’t leave out any details about your project. Plan on putting your design on a t-shirt? What color? Sharing it on Instagram too? Want it on your Facebook Banner? Handing it out to clients on paper? Putting it on a notepad? Although your designer can assume where you’re using your designs, we don’t always know 100%. Help your designer understand what you’re using your design for and where, because it may make a difference on how they approach your project.
5. Set up a face-to-face meeting or a phone call when you can
There are projects that I’ve worked on that have had 4 or 5 e-mail strings going for the same project with a total of 25+ e-mails in a day. Things get lost. Wires get crossed. T’s get dotted.
If there are a series of changes you need to see or if there is something you have a concern about, it’s always better to set up a call. Things can get lost in translation or misinterpreted easily via e-mail. Phone calls can clear up things immediately and help make sure both parties are in agreement to what needs to be changed.
Face-to-face meetings are even better. Designers can draw up what they think you want to see and you can immediately provide feedback. You can talk with your hands and eyes, give physical examples and clear things up so much more easily if there is confusion. Not to mention, you get to know your designer better and your designer gets to know you better. The more your designer can anticipate your needs and understand your style, the better it is for a longer term design relationship.
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