Top 5 Tips for Working with a Graphic Designer


It’s time to hire an expert in design, but you aren’t sure how the process works, OR you’ve had experience using a graphic designer and it didn’t go as smooth as you had hoped for. Did you know that without the proper knowledge of how to work with a designer you could be limiting the effectiveness of your design and decreasing the efficiency of the project? Graphic designers have unique skills that come with experience and expertise, but it’s a two-way street!


Here are our top 5 tips for working with a graphic designer:


1. Talk Expectations & Provide Examples

Have an idea of what you want? Make sure you can explain it or show it. Find a few examples of what you’d like it to look like to help your designer understand what you’re expecting. This will help everyone get on the same page so you don’t have to worry about the outcome being far off from what you’d hoped for. However, if you’ve provided examples, don’t expect your design to look like an exact replica… designers DON’T tend to copy other designer’s work, instead they make your piece work best for you according to the information you’ve provided.


2. Understand the Timeline

Discuss the timeline before you start your project. If you need the final design by a certain time, make sure your designer is aware and capable to complete it by then. Understand that every time you request a change, that also takes time. What may seem like a simple fix to you may take hours to complete – remember it takes an expert to create professional designs. Also remember that you aren’t the only customer. Your designer will do everything in their power to get to your request as soon as possible, but don’t expect your design to be finished the day you request it.


3. Finalize Content First

Before sending over your copy, do a spell check, and also ensure the copy is exactly how you want it to appear. It’s not in your designer’s job description to edit the text you give them, instead they are solely responsible for taking the information you give them and turning it into something beautiful. When you do send over your information, please, please, please, send over everything you want included in one email to be efficient.


Every time you send over new information, you are adding time to your design and increasing design costs. Designers work around the information you send, so if you send new information later on, it increases design time and they essentially have to redesign your piece. Not only that, but every separate request you send starts getting more and more confusing, and the likelihood of a piece of information getting lost or passed over during the process increases.


4. Be Clear & Concise

If there’s something in particular you want, use detail to describe it. For example, instead of saying things like “make it stand out” (it’s ok if this was you😉), try being more specific like:

  • “Make the text bigger and bolder.

  • “Make the background lighter"

  • “Use bright colors.”

  • “Use more imagery.”

If your designer has sent you the first proof, make sure you thoroughly review it so you can give all your changes at once. Include spelling errors, mistakes, font changes, and anything else you don’t like in your request for changes. This will help reduce the design time and in turn ensure a quicker delivery of the final product.


Make sure there are no spelling errors before it goes to print. In the end, you’re the one approving the design. It’s not the designer’s responsibility to catch those. Of course, they will try to look out for those, but their job is to focus on the design.


5. Don’t Expect Perfection

If you’re working with a new designer (or even someone you work with often), don’t expect the first draft to be perfect. It takes time to get to know your design preferences, but once your designer gets to know you, they’ll start getting closer and closer to the mark the first time around on future projects. When you do make a design request, allow a little wiggle room. Let your designer have some space to be creative because if you give exact directions, it can limit the effectiveness of your piece. You’ve hired a design expert; they know what works best and what doesn’t.


If you’ve gone through a few rounds of proofs, but you're still worried about the tiniest details… don’t be. Don’t get too hung up on the little things. Take a step back and look at it like your target audience would, does it get your point across? Then maybe it’s time to call it good.

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In the end, it’s all about trusting your designer and being as helpful has you can to ensure a smooth process. Once you’ve gone through a few projects together, the process with start getting easier and easier! As always, never be afraid to ask your designer what they need from you to do their job to the best of their abilities. Happy designing!

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