Firstly, what is a Graphic Designer?
Graphic Designers are visual communicators. They use text and image to portray messages and solve problems. Their aim is to help people understand, through colour, tone and mood, through both written and visual language.
It may seem designers are just creating 'pretty pictures', but there is a lot of mind power that goes behind every decision a graphic designer makes. There is also a bit of a psychology in typography (font choices, how they make you feel, the way the text is laid out, etc). Good typography not only looks beautiful, but is fit for purpose. It helps people process information, read quicker and easier, and so on.
There are a lot of creative people out there. But don't underestimate the power of design thinking, and intentional design. You may not realise it, but every post you see, every book cover, every advert, every logo and brochure – your brain is processing everything. A good designer can help your business cut through the confusion, and stand out in the crowd.
How do know when you’ve found your dream designer?
The term Graphic Designer is very broad, they could be amazing at building websites but become totally stumped at a logo design. They could create the most amazing logo but unable to create an Annual Report. It’s all about skills, experience, passions, and ultimately what their ‘niche’ is.
Every designer is different, and each has their own unique style and process. You’ll want to explore their websites, portfolios and social media to find somebody that is suitable for you and your project. You’ll know you’ve found them when:
- You fall in love with their work… in fact you cannot stop looking at it!
- They have clients in a similar industry as your own
- They are able to fulfil all your design requirements
- They have excellent client testimonials.
Once you find a graphic designer that fits
To do their best work, your graphic designer needs to understand your business, target audience, goals, design preferences and the message you’re wanting to portray.
This isn’t something they can achieve without some serious input from you. You’ll need to prepare your ‘who, what and why’. Don’t worry though – you won’t be left alone to do this all by yourself.
Step one: You complete a design brief.
After all the start-up admin is complete, your designer should require you to complete a design brief. This might be completed via email, phone or through an online video or survey. For example, my design brief is an online Google Form.
You’ll take your time filling the brief out thoughtfully and thoroughly.
Don’t rush this important step! A good design brief is essential in setting up your project for success. Designers aren’t mind readers, so they’re relying on you to provide them with all the information and resources they need to create magic for you.
Step two: They’ll give you a project timeline
This might happen before or after step one, but early on in your project your designer should provide you with a project timeline/commencement date.
Most designers are great at following schedules, but they can only meet your deadlines if you provide feedback efficiently and within set timeframes.
If the timeline doesn’t work for you, let them know before the project begins. Most designers are able to adjust their initial timeline to suit your needs, but they have to plan and schedule everything in advance, so they’ll need to plan before the project commences.
Step three: You’ll supply extra material to support the creation of your design
Remember, your designer is not a mind reader. They may have crazy, creative ideas flooding through their brains at any given moment, but they don’t have super mind-reading powers too. Providing your designer with your well-considered design brief, proof-read copy, high-resolution images, and any forms/paperwork is essential.
Step four: The magic begins!
Your designer will review your design brief and undertake research into your target market to ensure they’re creating the best possible design for your audience and requirements.
The years of training and experience they offer will ensure they are carefully and strategically selecting the best design elements for your project and applying them in a way that best serves your goals and needs.
Step five: You’ll receive a design concept to review.
Yay – all their hard work (and your invaluable input) has been transformed into a design for you to review and approve.
Your designer will be relying on you to provide insightful, thoughtful and detailed feedback that they can use to refine and perfect your final design.
Step six: You’ll receive your final design
Once any revisions have been made (most designers have a set number of revisions included in their fee), you should receive the correct and appropriate final file formats for your project.
If you are engaging a designer for a logo design, expect to receive your final logo files in the following formats EPS, AI, PDF, JPG, PNG (however, I recommend you check this with your designer).
I see way too many businesses who have had their logo created elsewhere and can’t provide me/others with their high-resolution logo file in the format required, simply because they weren’t given them in the first place, or worse, their designer did not create the logo in the correct design application.
For all other projects you should receive print ready PDF’s, or JPG’s/PNG’s suitable for digital use.
Then your design is all yours to use and enjoy!
What separates a good graphic design experience from a not-so-good one?
I believe a good graphic designer will offer:
- A seamless and refined process to make your journey as stress-free as possible.
- Clear communication that ensures you feel cared for and valued. Designers should want the process to be easy for you, and to see you and your business succeed!
- Total honesty. If your feedback doesn’t align with your design brief, a designer has a responsibility to let you know when your suggestions are going to jeopardise the success of your design.