5 Thoughts on Working in Harmony with Your Designer

5 Tips on Working in Harmony with Your Designer  |  Tips from a freelance graphic + web designer

I LOVE to keep my design process with clients as simple as possible.

The unavoidable thing is that every client works in new ways, and above all - they have many decisions, distractions, and priorities in all aspects of growing their business. How do they fit a design project in the mix?

In an effort to reduce complexities, save you money, and keep your design process light and quick, here are my top tips gathered from my most efficient design clients over the years. Essentially, it all comes down to communication...

1. Wait til you have the bandwidth to begin a new project - your designer will need you on their team.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I can recall several projects that could've been wrapped up fast, but extended weeks or even months longer because the client simply wasn't able to dedicate the time to keep us moving forward. 

I totally get busy schedules, trust that. And there's no need to clear your calendar. Just be available. Don't ghost us! We need your feedback, content, and approvals among many other tasks that could come up.

If you can plan on dedicating at least 10-30 minutes a day while you have an active project with a designer, the project can usually keep its momentum.

Even a simple - "Hey, I'm slammed! These designs look ________. Back to you by Friday!" Takes under 10 seconds to type and keeps us in the loop.

2. Gather your inspirations and outline your ideas.

A "blank canvas" can cost you a bunch of money.

Sounds funny coming from a creative (who loves blank canvases), but when we don't have artistic direction from you, it could potentially take a bunch of time - and money, money, money - to hit the mark. 

Amazing clients have come to me with an outline, sketches, Pinterest boards, or links to looks they love, content they'll need, and other information that can help me build their projects. It also helps me get to know where their passions lie and invests me in their brand as well. 

3. Give well-thought feedback, let go of perfection, and have a little faith in your designer.

One of the best ways to think of design when you're working with a new designer is in phases. There's always a "discovery" phase when you bring on a designer and every project over time will bring us closer to aesthetic cohesion for your brand. 

Until your designer has this time to understand your work together, give them well-organized, thoughtful feedback. If you're very clear on your feedback and vision, your designer should be able to organically capture your look naturally in the future and hopefully evolve it past your imagination.

Please remember - every new employee will be green while they're onboarding. In the early stages, I'd recommend letting go of "perfect" and strive for "beautiful". "Perfect", in all its millions of edits and communications, takes time, resources, and money. 

4. Keep the momentum going with quick response time.

OH man - this is as simple as it sounds, and one of the most important requests I have as a designer. Simply stay in touch with us. 

My best clients will 1) Let me know their best method of contact. And 2) Respond within 48 hours. 

You fall off the map with your designer and we could potentially lose our mojo, the train of thought for our concept's dialogue, and perhaps fall a little bit out of love for the project. That's natural - just like any relationship in life. 

5. The emailing game - subject lines and simplification are key.

I receive hundreds of emails a day. Hundreds! And I'm sure your inbox can look the same as well. 

Three things amazing clients will do while crafting their emails:
1. They use a concise subject line. Why? Get this: it's easy to search for when we need to go back. "No subject" or "Fwd:Fwd: Print #101920" Doesn't find itself found.
2. If they have a few thoughts throughout the day or week, they'll compile non-urgent memos into one email with a numbered list so I can respond to the corresponding #. 
3. They keep it simple and they proofread before they send.

Just some top moves from my fave client emails. Easy peasy.

These are my top 5 thoughts on working harmoniously with your designer, or heck - any freelance contractor. It takes two to tango. 

What kind of things help you keep harmony with your designers?
What do amazing designers do to help you from our end? 

All my best, 
Courtney O