Are you currently looking for a Brand Designer, just hired one and can’t wait to get started, or know you want to revamp your businesses look, but don’t know how to get started? We sincerely hope that our new series Brand Musing will help you get where you want to be with your personal brand, and will make your work with your chosen designer a bit easier and more efficient.
I think we can all agree that each and every business is different. Even if you are selling the exact same thing as another company, your business has it’s own personality, and it isn’t even close to the same as your competitions. You are a rare jewel with a special talent, and you deserve branding that speaks that to the masses!
The same goes for Brand Designers, every company has their own specialties, processes, and design styles. Over the past few years, I have found that the more each of the entities of the Brand Design team (client and designer) understand the process and the expectations of the other, the smoother the project will go and the happier the outcome will be.
So, how can you start off your project on the right foot, whether you are the designer or the client? Here are my top tips for each that should help to streamline the project and reduce stress on both sides.
TIPS FOR BEING AN AWESOME DESIGN CLIENT:
I am asked all the time by clients how they can best work with me in order to receive my best and finest quality of design work; these are my go to tips that help to keep the energy amazing and the work gorgeous!
- Ask your designer what your expectations should be for your project. The more informed that you are on what to expect in terms of timelines, concept layouts, their process, and deadlines, the less stress you will feel during your project. I find that some designers don’t realize how little their clients actually know about hiring someone to create their brand, mainly because they have never experienced it before. When both sides understand what is going to happen from the beginning you eliminate that tendency for stress on either side and the project seems to go much smoother. I personally provide my clients with a What to Expect sheet at the beginning of the project outlining my project rules, and it seems to greatly reduce confusion.
- If you need your project completed in a super tight timeframe, or would just like to have a finished product by a certain date, be honest with your designer up front so they can let you know if that is possible for them and can charge you the appropriate amount for rushing the designs. There is nothing more stressful as a designer than quoting a client a process and a timeframe, and then receiving emails twice a day from that client asking for updates or wondering why they haven’t seen anything yet. REMEMBER: Your designer is creating a piece of art for you, and that takes time and thought. They are providing you with creative intellectual property and want to give you the best product they possibly can. Stressing them out and demanding rushed concepts will insure that you don’t receive their best work and expertise. We know that seeing your designs is exciting, but please let your designers do a great job for you under their process and terms! It will be worth it, we promise.
- SHOW SOME LOVE! Putting your creative concepts out there for the world to see and to judge is HARD. Gah, so hard. So, when you send your work out to a client to review, and they respond with a less than polite response, it can really put a damper on the project. As a fellow business owner, it honestly should be readily evident to you that it’s a tough world out there for creators. Be 100% honest (I can’t stress this enough!) with your designer, as that is the only way you will end up with a product that you love and can be proud of, but do it in a polite, kind way with very specific feedback. Let your designer know that you LOVE their work and that you totally think the concepts they provided are wonderful, but they just aren’t exactly what you were thinking and tell them why. Constructive feedback, my friends. Honest, but kind.
- Be as specific as possible. If you aren’t sure what you want from your brand design or need a bit of extra coaching, consider hiring a designer that has a bit more experience and agrees that they can help guide you in the right direction. Honestly, if you aren’t sure what you want, but hire the least expensive designer that you can find and expect them to pump out concepts until you see “the one”, you will most likely never see it. Find a designer that can help you focus and knows how to guide your brainstorming sessions so that you find the right look for your business without wasting weeks of time looking at concepts that you don’t care for.
- If you do know what you want and just need it to be put down on paper, be specific. Tell your designer what you are thinking and fully describe your idea so they can execute it properly. So often, clients will say AFTER seeing concepts (which take hours of time to create) that they knew what they wanted, but didn’t want to tell you because they wanted to see what you came up with first. That isn’t fair to your designer or to their schedule; but it also sets a negative tone for the rest of the project. Your designer will most likely be slightly confused as to where to go moving forward, and will be anxious to show you designs as they aren’t positive you are being honest with the scope of your project. It is absolutely best if everyone is on the same page from the beginning and the designer knows if they are expected to help to guide you through the process or if you just want them to design your vision. Honesty is always the best policy when working with a creator for your business needs.
- This one is a biggie! FEEDBACK! Each designer will have their own expected process when requesting feedback from clients, and that should absolutely be adhered to, but above all, please keep in mind that you are working with a creator who more than likely has a stacked schedule and needs to be provided feedback in a timely manner. If you want to really show off your Design Client skills, get back to them quickly (for Harper Maven we request that feedback is delivered within 2-3 business days) and stay efficient by putting all of your comments in A SINGLE email so they don’t have to search through multiple correspondences to find your revisions and thoughts. The more precise and timely you can be with feedback, the quicker you will start to see revisions that you LOVE and will want to you use for your business.
TIPS FOR BEING AN AWESOME BRAND/CREATIVE DESIGNER:
These are tried and true lessons that I have learned and continue to carry with me from my years as a Brand Designer. I sincerely hope that if you are reading this, it will help you to streamline your client process and to create bigger and better Brands with less stress!
- This is the same number one for designers as with clients (see above), manage your clients expectations from the start, and make sure you are asking the proper questions to insure you understand what they need from you and that you can provide it. Find a way to let your new clients know up front how your process works and what they can expect in terms of timeframes. I give all of my new clients a “What to Expect” guide on their start date so that there is never any confusion. If a client tries to take your process off course during the project, stand firm and let them know that you have a system that works for you and for your clients, and that each and every person that you work with has to be treated with the same guidelines. REMEMBER: From your clients perspective, giving a designer hard earned money with the hopes that they will be able to provide you with exactly what you want for your business is super scary, but knowing what to expect and when can greatly reduce that fear and anxiety, creating a smoother project from day one.
- Listen to your client and give them what they want. Once upon a time, I was a new designer and liked to interject my opinion a bit too much into what I thought would be best for my clients, even when they weren’t asking. At the end of the day I realized that most people know what is going to work for them, especially if they have been in business for a year or more, so unless they asked for additional coaching and support, hear what they need and let them have it. You will save yourself and your client a lot of heartache by being responsive to their thoughts and ideas and turning them into beautiful concepts.
- Examine your questionnaire carefully. The more direct and leading your questions are, the more likely you will hit the nail on the head quickly when it comes to your clients designs. A lot of design questionnaire ask basic questions such as what colors do you like, what fonts do you like; etc, which are all very important and should be included, but they lack the deep, directive questions that will help you to understand your client and to get on their level. Stay tuned, designers, as I will soon be releasing my exact questionnaire in an upcoming coaching course!
- Remember why you started. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs as a creator, and while most of your clients will be ahhhh-mazing, there will be a few that trickle in that refuse to work with you the way your process dictates and do not provide feedback in a constructive way. When that happens, take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other. Do not let yourself quit if your “why game” is strong. Educate your client on the proper way to provide feedback and how to work within your process, and then just keep doing you.
I hope that this article will help every business owner and the designers in their lives to co-exisit in a productive, efficient way! Stay tuned for more Brand Musings coming up soon!
See More of our Creative Entrepreneur Series here.
Featured Image by Carli Anna Design
Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
DESIGNER & CLIENT COLLABORATION TIPS FOR A BEAUTIFUL BRAND