Homemade Is Great For Cookies, But Not For Your Marketing: 10 Things You Must Know About Working With A Designer
You know that marketing is an important investment to the success of your business. But are you making the most of this financial commitment?
You may have a wonderful new product to sell but if your message gets lost in a reader-unfriendly format, it won’t get read. If you have a lovely layout but content that does not inform or serve any purpose for your reader the end result will be the same – no one will care. You’ve just wasted the money you spent on printing, mailing or hosting your website.
A graphic designer or web developer is able to bring experience and expertise that will help you craft a stronger and more effective marketing message while designing a consistent “brand” for your business.
Can’t afford it you say? If you are not seeing the maximum benefit from the money you are already spending on advertising, you can’t afford not to.
Here are 10 things you must know about working with a designer.
- Designers are people too. Yes, there are many big – and expensive – design and marketing firms you could hire. But look for someone who reflects the size of your business. There are many freelance graphic artists and small firms that are budget-friendly.
- “Budget” isn’t a dirty word. Expect your designer to ask about your budget. There are many ways to approach a given project. Some are more involved than others. By providing an honest assessment of your budget your designer can provide concepts that will fit within that budget.
- A picture is worth a thousand words…and should be factored into the budget. You have a variety of options for finding the right photography for your project. You may want to consider custom images. You are guaranteed not to see the same visual used for your competitors’ ad campaign or anyone else’s for that matter. But if you don’t have the “right” budget there are still options available to you. With stock photography you can get the right look for your project for less. Talk to your designer about your needs.
- Manage your expectations. Every designer is different and will have a process that is unique to the way they work. It’s important therefore to discuss what you can expect and when. Typically you will be given two or three concepts. These will be rough ideas of visuals, content, etc. Don’t expect a shiny finished product. It’s a process and you’ve only just started.
- Share what you know. When you go to your doctor and complain about a headache and don’t tell her you just got hit on the head with a brick, you are leaving out an important piece of information. If you have to mail your finished brochure in a #10 envelope, don’t wait until you see a proof of an oversized piece before mentioning it. This is considered a change order and will require reworking the entire project and additional money.
- Share want you want. Give your designer all the information you have for your project; your budget, your wish list, your “don’t even suggest it” list, your “I was wondering” list. Bring samples if you have them. This jump starts the process and gives you a place to work from.
- Spec work – what it is and why professionals won’t do it. Spec work is when a client asks a bunch of designers to put together a “sample” of what they would do with a project. The client then decides which sample he likes and pays that designer for the work. The other designers are out of luck. Spec work is considered a major no-no. You wouldn’t ask a plumber to work on your leaky faucet to see if you liked his work before paying him, would you? Instead, take a look at the designer’s portfolio to get a sense of their style and how they’ve handled projects in the past. And don’t be afraid to ask for samples of what they’ve done in the past on projects like yours.
- Ch…Ch…Ch…Changes. You will have revisions along the way. Your agreement with your designer should outline how many revisions you are allowed before being charged. This is especially important when there is a committee involved. Change orders can quickly mire down progress and it’s reasonable to expect to pay for repeated “tweaks” to a project.
- Payment arrangements. Again, every designer has their own way of doing things. You should expect to pay a deposit of some kind however. You will then have payment installments that coincide with the completion of various phases of the project. All of this should be clearly explained prior to beginning the project.
- Approval and sign-off. Designers will spell check and proof their work. But don’t let that keep you from CAREFULLY proofing the work yourself. When you sign off on a project you are acknowledging that you have proofed your project carefully and accept responsibility for the content of the finished piece. It’s a good idea to have someone who has not been involved in the project to proof as well. They will be reading everything with fresh eyes and are not as likely to read what’s supposed to be there instead of what’s actually there.