5 Neatly Effective Ways To Ruin Your Graphic Designer’s Project


With any collaborative project, it's a two-way street. Graphic designers exist to help companies bring their visions to life. But, there are a few ways to really rub these creative folks the wrong way. Consider the five points below if you want to jeopardize your working relationship.

1. Call Them Mind Readers

Who needs a creative brief, anyways? Graphic designers should know exactly what you want, right? Wrong! Many clients like to say 'have fun with it', or 'do whatever you think is best, I trust you', and while they think they're providing a world of possibilities, they're only setting up their graphic designer for failure because they're leaving a large margin for error. Don't leave your designer guessing as to what you want, and then complain when it's not what you envisioned. Instead, answer questions like these in advance:

  • What do you want the design piece to accomplish?
  • What is the age range of your audience?
  • Do you have any specific imagery in mind?
  • Do you have any colour preferences? What colours should NOT be used?
  • What feeling or message do you want this piece to evoke to those who view it? (Fun, adventurous, encouraging)
  • Do you need different versions or file types? (Black and white, .EPS, PDF, PNG)
  • Where do you plan on using the document? (Online, print, screen)

2. Let Them Design Without Any Content

Don't let your graphic designer Lorem Ipsum the crap out of your brochure. There are a few instances where content isn't necessary - a logo, for example. But if you want a brochure, poster, or anything else containing persuasive sales text or carefully crafted messaging - please, provide it. First of all, it saves the designer from plopping all of your content in later. Second of all, the design of some materials is crafted based on the amount of text it contains. Furthermore, reading the content can help your graphic designer to add more visual cues or appropriate images if they see it written throughout your content.

3. Tell Them To Move Something A Smidge To The Left, Or A Smidge To The Right

As a client, your opinion does matter. But it's when you get into personal preference where a project can go from enjoyable to painstaking. There are usually reasons that one colour has been chosen over another, that the text is a certain size, and that image placements are where they are. It's important that you're happy with something you've paid for or requested, but if the graphic designer just caves and plasters puppies all over your poster because that's what you really want, they aren't really doing their job, are they? Instead of asking your graphic designer to change something immediately, ask them why they've chosen to design it a specific way. It might help you understand their choices.

4. Expect Them To Get It Right In One Shot

I'm not saying that graphic designers are true Picassos, but there does have to be some level of creativity and inspiration to produce a terrific product. While the first draft should be close to what you want (with a good creative brief!), expect there to be a second revision, and maybe a third. Remember that the only person who truly sees what you envision is you, and graphic designers have to try and put that to paper.. err.. screen. Sometimes it takes a few trips back to the digital drawing board.

5. Request All Of Your Finished Files Repeatedly And Separately

Don't treat your graphic designer as a human desktop folder. Once a project is completed, save all of the final files to your computer. Your graphic designer likely has multiple clients or departments to work for. Don't waste their time by requesting a PDF one day, and then a JPEG weeks later. It is not their responsibility to constantly fish and send files that you have lost, misplaced, or are too lazy to find yourself. Sometimes computers crash - things happen. Feel free to request hard copies of files after a project is wrapped up, or better yet, back them up on a USB.

There you have it! Complete all five suggestions above and you're sure to be left with pen and paper or Microsoft paint. May all of your future projects and partnerships be happy and collaborative!

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* Leader image adapted from by kevin.roberts

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