January 2016

How to Speak with a Graphic Designer 

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone that spoke a different language? You might use gestures or try to speak louder thinking that might communicate your message but unless you have an interpreter; the conversation is going nowhere.

The same can be true when designing a new marketing campaign, trade show graphics or a large format digital printing project like custom outdoor signs or retail graphic displays. If you are unable to communicate what you want the finished project to look like the end result could be a disaster.

The first step is to make sure you are using the same terms. Designers use terms that may be confusing to most operational and marketing professions. Terms like typography, bleed and padding. Or asking questions like: "Would you prefer that as a jPeg, Gif or Png file?"

The infographic to the left, provided by Pagomodo is a great tool to help you understand the basic information. Click on the image to view a larger size.

What Questions Should I Ask?

When first meeting with a graphic designer, they should be skilled at leading the conversation so they can gain an understanding of the scope of the project and the ultimate goals. For example, if you need building wraps that are two stories high, the designer will approach the project differently than if they were designing a postcard.

Wes McDowell, designer, has put together a few thoughts that help you prepare for the conversation:

  • Create (or review) a design brief in conjunction with the designer.
  • Explain how you would like the material to look and feel, and the message you want to convey.
  • Give an overview of the business or product
  • Provide the designer with a few samples of designs that you like.
  • Allow the designer to use his/her judgment. Avoid providing too many detailed instructions.
  • Ask the designer to paraphrase the goals and guidelines. This ensures continuity.
  • Avoid technical jargon when describing your product or service.
  • Remain open to the designer's ideas, even if they don't align with your vision.

  • Pamela Wilson shares one the of the worst comments you can make when speaking with a graphic designer:

    "I'll know it when I see it." 
    When you say this, we have visions of parading design after design by you as you sit passively and observe. Design is a two-way process. Your participation and guidance are key to coming up with a final product that meets your needs.

    Her article, The 10 Secret Code Phrases to Get What You Want from Your Graphic Designer also provides four really great phrases to use to help the work process be smoother. In the end, Wilson says:

    Clients who are easy to work with and use the secret code phrases on a regular basis don't just get our best work. They also get the lowest invoices, because we can work efficiently and don't have to fight our way through the process.

    She is right - when the client and designer are clear on the project, share mutual respect and listen carefully, the end product is completed faster, more affordably and with the best result possible. 

    At E&E Graphic Innovations, our professional graphic design services team focuses on large format digital printing. We'll spend time learning about your marketing objectives, so we can make appropriate recommendations for your overall project design and materials.  We work directly with graphic designers and provide them with the necessary information like templates, file guidelines and file preparation information for us to print the ultimate color and resolution needed for your eye-catching large format graphic.
    Give us a call to learn more about how we can help with your large format graphic designs.

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