9 Things Never to Say to Your Graphic Designer

by Go2Girls graphic designer LeAnne Wilson

There are many reasons to hire an expert; someone who really knows what she is doing and can help you reach your goals in a cost-effective manner. Now, when I say an expert is “cost-effective,” I don’t mean cheap; I mean the person you hire for her expertise will save you time, do the job you hired her to do, and will deliver your project on time. That will save you money in the long run, which is the very definition of cost-effective.

Look at it this way; you’re an expert in your field, right? Are you worth the fees you charge, or are you cheap? Would you rather be known as “the cheapest,” or would you rather be known as the best – and worth it?

Hiring a graphic designer is no different; especially when it comes to designing your website – where the goal is to make an impression, build brand identity, create traffic, and make sales. Helping you accomplish these goals requires the help of an expert, and you can’t afford to hire just anyone to help you get there.

And, when you hire an expert, it’s important to know how to get the most out of your relationship. So, here are the 9 things you should never say to your graphic designer. Avoid these at all costs:

“I’m not sure what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

I believe that there is a direct relationship between great design and great client input. The more information you can provide about your business, your goals, your target market, your preferred design aesthetic, and your brand, the better I will be able to create something you will love.

With that in mind, before tackling most design projects, I like to meet with clients via a kick-off call; which is a key part of the information gathering and research process. Take some time to think about your brand, your marketing plan, and your business – you’ll find that the time you invest at the beginning of the project will pay off later, when you see a design that makes your heart smile.

“I don’t have the content yet, but how about you play around with the design?”

The more I understand the content of your opt-in page, website, newsletter or publication, the better I am able to communicate effectively and successfully through the design. A good design helps to communicate ideas and it really supplements copy – otherwise, it’s not design, it’s just decoration.

“How about you send me the file and I’ll play around with the layout for a bit, and send it back to you when I’m done?”

You’re working with a graphic designer because we have the knowledge, skills, and experience in the industry to put together high-quality work for you. Use us; take advantage of our knowledge and experience. In the long run, you’ll be happy you did.

“Don’t worry about making it look great – just spend 15 minutes on it and send it back to me so I can see where the design is heading.”

The whole idea behind graphic design is to make things look great. Often, the beginning stages of a layout are the most time-consuming ones. If you don’t want to worry about making things look great – don’t work with a graphic designer.

Maybe you can hire your nephew, the one who “knows about computer stuff” instead.

“I want my design to look exactly like this website.”

While it is absolutely helpful to have you point to site designs that you love, you shouldn’t want your design to look exactly like anyone else’s. Your brand and your design should tie in with your marketing goals, your business plan, and your target audience. Mimicking someone else’s website is not only unethical; it also assumes that your business strategy is the same as that of another company! Is it? Is it really?

“Can you make my logo bigger on my website?”

Your logo doesn’t necessarily have to be huge to be noticed and, while your logo is important, it shouldn’t be the focal point of your website.

Your website will convey what you do, how you do it, and how incredibly great you are at doing it, while making your logo bigger, doesn’t mean your company is better. Remember, your logo is just one part of your brand – other parts include typefaces and corporate colors. Simply make sure your logo is legible and works well within the proposed design, and that other parts of your brand are reflected on the site, too; that is a winning combination.

“Can you just make this quick change?  It won’t take too long.”

Oftentimes, non-designers imagine that any design change is a quick and easy one. For example, imagine I have designed a header for your site that integrates your copy in a beautifully balanced way. You love the design, but now you’ve decided you want the headline copy changed. I can’t just spend a quick 5 minutes to simply edit the copy. I will need to go in and re-work the layout of the copy, working to achieve the balance that you loved in the original design. I don’t mind doing so, but I do want you to know that it takes time to do so.

“I need the design done in Word so I can make the changes myself.”

Graphic designers use programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign because they are meant for design. While Microsoft Word is a fabulous program for basic word processing, it is not a design program. In fact, I find it infinitely more time-consuming to attempt to do a layout in a word processing program than the design programs I am used to working with, as I don’t have the flexibility I need to create a truly great design for you.

“Just grab my logo from my website and use it on my business cards.”

The logo from your website is not going to be high enough quality to use on your business cards. Your website logo is most likely a 72 dpi image, while designers need to incorporate high-resolution images (optimally 300 dpi) for print purposes.

Not to get too technical – but – when working with a designer in branding efforts, be sure to get your logo in a high-resolution format, as well as .EPS/vector files, if possible. EPS/vector files are fully scalable, meaning there is no loss of quality when you scale an EPS/vector file up or down in size. When working with a design professional, logos are created in vector-based programs such as Adobe Illustrator, where it is easy to save out EPS or even native .AI files. Don’t worry that you won’t be able to open these files; designers or print vendors will be able to open your files, and will be super happy you have them!

When you hire a graphic designer, or any other expert for that matter, the best thing you can do for yourself – and her – is to simply let her know what you’re looking for, then sit back and let her do the work you hired her to do. It’ll be much less stressful for everyone involved, and changes can always be made later.

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