Optimising your graphic design experience
(Adapted from a blog published on the Artworks Facebook page on Monday, 15 February 2016)
Commissioning a graphic design agency to produce your media should be a rewarding and pleasant experience. Here, we have compiled a few tips to ensure that your experience matches your expectations.
- Be realistic about expectations and demands (such as don't expect a complete annual report layout in three days!) Map out a production plan with enough time for feedback, corrections and implementation of those corrections.
- Be mindful of your budget and realistic about what this will buy you. Good design isn't cheap, but the studio will be able to provide you with a good price within certain parameters.
- Communicate in a way that is clear, concise and easily understandable. Graphic designers may be super creative, but they still need some direction!
- Have a realistic deadline and try to stick to it. Deadlines keep everyone on track, including designers. Without one, the project will go on the back burner, lose momentum, inspiration and sparkle. A realistic deadline keeps a fine balance between sanity and and all-out panic!
- Follow up with a call to make sure your emailed instructions are understood. Graphic designers might not grasp what seems crystal clear in your mind so perhaps draw a diagram – graphic designers are visual people!
- Communicate solely through our account executive to avoid confusion, misunderstanding and duplication of work.
- Supply a final MS Word draft for layout, not one that still needs to be approved. This will speed things up considerably, reduce frustration and ensure that the design remains punchy.
- Be open to receiving graphic design advice. Remember that you are paying graphic designers for their experience and skills, so listen to them!
- Realise that everyone has his/her own taste. What you consider ‘good design’ might look terrible in someone else's eyes. Show the design to selected people your office to get a few trusted opinions before giving us feedback.
- Designate one person in your organisation to provide feedback and approval to the studio. It can get very confusing if the account executive has to deal with and interpret conflicting instructions, and in the end, your publication will suffer.
- As much as is possible, send your corrections in batches, not dribs and drabs. It just makes sense that the more organised you are on your side, the better results you will get from the studio.
- Send a sign off on email so that there is a record of the last proof produced before printing, thus safeguarding both parties.
By Gaylene Jablonkay, Managing Editor
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