Professional graphic design is an investment, so be sure to get the biggest bang for your buck. Of course, to get started on the right foot, it’s important to choose a qualified creative professional. But once you have a great designer on your team, there are things you can do to ensure that they can do their best work.
Use this checklist, available as a PDF download, to make sure that you are giving your designer the information they need to bring your vision to life effectively.
✓Understand the Goal of Your Project
I feel like I say this over and over, but it bears repeating: you can’t reach your goal without being super clear about what your goal is. Think about your project's purpose, and be sure to share it with your designer from the start. Are you selling something? Educating your customers? Trying to share an important message? The answers to these questions can help your designer create a piece that aligns with your goal.
✓Know Your Audience
Along with knowing what you are trying to accomplish, you should understand who you are appealing to. You should be able to tell your designer about your audience and your desired mode of delivery. How does your designed project fit within the broader set of communications you have with your audience?
Having a realistic timeline for your project—especially if it needs to be printed—saves plenty of stress and headaches. If you don’t have a good sense of how long something will take, always reach out to your designer sooner rather than later so they can give you a sense of the time your project will take.
✓Share Your Brand Identity Guide
Brand Identity Guides give designers the information they need to keep their work true to your brand. By sharing your Brand Identity Guide at the start of a project, you can also avoid your designer needing to ask you lots of specific questions about fonts, colors, logo requirements, etc.
✓Offer Examples and Ideas
If you have an idea or concept in mind, please share it! It is much easier for a designer to match the vision in your head if they have a clear picture of what you like. Examples and inspiration are always welcome! It is also helpful to provide samples of your existing materials so that your designer can keep things cohesive.
✓Communicate Size & Format
The target size and "specs" (or specifications) of a project are vital for your designer. Tell your designer if the project is destined for print, web, or both. Consider whether you will need versions of the design that work across multiple platforms. Some projects, such as newspaper or magazine ads, have detailed specs that the publisher can provide. When working with a designer on a mailer, you should consider postal requirements and mailing rates for your piece. If you aren't sure of the exact size information, tell your designer as much as you know (for example, "Facebook cover photo" or "printable PDF").
✓Send Images The Right Way
Particularly for print design, please send high-resolution images to include within your design. Low-quality files look unprofessional and are hard for designers to work within your design. It will save a step to send what they need from the start. Of course, be sure that you have permission to use the images you share as well. Original photography is always ideal, but if you need to use stock photography, you can ask your designer for guidance to ensure that you select the best photos for your project.
✓Provide Finalized Copy
Waiting for copy can delay project timelines. Make sure that you have a plan to share finalized copy with your designer. If your designer gets proofread and approved text, it will minimize errors and potentially costly edits. If you need a referral for a copywriter or editor, ask!
Feeling ready to maximize the impact of your next designed piece with these tips? Get in touch and let’s work together using design to help your small business achieve big things.