Whether or not we’d like to admit it, it’s happened to the best of us. Countless hours spent executing a brilliant idea, only to have the project fall flat on its face and we are left asking ourselves, “Where did we go wrong?” Among the many successful projects at ODEA there are a few that have taught us our most valuable lessons on communication. Many times a bump in the road arises when there is a disconnect or miscommunication between the designer and client. Whether it’s your first time working with a designer or your 100th, here are some basic pointers for working effectively with creatives.
1. LAY IT ALL OUT ON THE TABLE
Before beginning any sort of project with a designer, come prepared to share all known project specifications and existing brand assets with the design team. Bring your best photography or design elements from existing brand collateral to help guide our path. This is a great place to start.
Also, don’t be afraid to get technical, the more detailed you can be the better. Try to include if there are any special project requirements that your designer should know about beforehand. These could be things like size, format, and file types. This would also be a good time to inform your designer if there are any existing brand guidelines in place that we should be following.
The more information you are able to provide upfront, the more time and money you will save everyone — a true win‑win.
2. SEEING IS BELIEVING
Designers are visual people, so coming prepared with different examples of work you’ve seen that you like will go a lot farther than, “I want it to look (insert adjective here).” Everyone has a different interpretation of what “cool” or “fancy” looks like to them, so a literal example of what it means to you will be best.
3. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
While it’s nearly impossible to have all your ducks in a row before handing off a project to our team, it is helpful to at least have a clear set of objectives before diving in. This keeps everyone accountable and all expectations realistic. If you don’t set aside money in the budget for a photo shoot or stock photography, we will need to get creative with visuals. We will be honest and upfront about this with you before starting a new project.
4. ESTABLISH A POINT PERSON
The key to seamless communication is establishing a point person for a project. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Things tend to get lost in translation, email inboxes, dropboxes — the list goes on… If you delegate this responsibility to a single person, there is no question on who to contact and less of a chance of something getting misplaced or ending up in the wrong hands.
5. TRUST THE DESIGNER
If you have taken the time to hire a team to help develop marketing that drives ROI, you are hiring them for their expertise and knowledge. If that team comes back with unexpected designs, take a step back and keep an open mind (BE BOLD). At ODEA we believe that if we don’t make you a little uncomfortable, we’re not doing our jobs. Chances are the designer had a good reason for executing something the way he or she did. At this point, we will encourage taking the leap of faith once, but ultimately the final decision is up to you.
Above all else, remember that designers are on your side! We also want the final result to be the next best, client-converting, sales-producing product out there. The more time and effort you put into effectively communicating your needs and wants to the creatives, the more your vision will become a reality.