7 Helpful Tips for Working with a Graphic Designer

So you are serious about your business and want to present yourself well, and you’ve decided to work with a graphic designer to put your best foot forward. I have some helpful hints to get the most for your buck and smooth product.

1. Ask questions! If you don’t know exactly what you want or you have a certain budget, talk with a graphic designer you know and trust. They will certainly give you some tips and hints about how to tackle your project and cost-saving measures if you don’t exactly know what route to go. It doesn’t cost anything to ask!

2. Communicate your business and graphic design piece goals. Graphic designers can design for anything but knowing your goals and what you want the viewer to think helps the design. Include the audience you want to grab – perhaps they are newcomers or they are investors. All these will be key for the design.

3. Know your budget. How much are you willing to spend on your design? Talk with a graphic designer about what you can get for your budget or ask for bids then ask for other ways to match your goals. Design is marketing. While you want to be economical good design typically pays off; looking professional adds validity to your business. A great way to save cost in a print piece is to contact printers and figure out the most economical size for your next brochure or print piece. Also being prepared with text in advance will cut down the time a designer needs to create.

3. Decide on a format/size before starting. If you are creating a business card this is a pretty easy one, but if you are making a book make sure you have picked a size and stick with it! Designs are created for a certain size. An ad for a newspaper may not translate well for a billboard and vice versa, the size determines layout and font. It is also good to know the size for a logo too. What is the largest you see you using the logo? A graphic designer will provide you with many sizes but it is helpful to get you files that are easy to use.

4. Know your competition. Knowing what your competitors are doing can give you ideas and help you decide what they’re not doing and where you can outshine them. For instance if you want a website look up local companies and talk to your graphic designer about them. You’ll definitely want to outshine your competitors but it also may help you outline how many links or services you’ll want within your site.

5. Set clear deadlines for yourself and the graphic designer. This can be done within a contract but if you are working more informally make sure the graphic designer knows your timeline and don’t be afraid to check in if you have any questions! Also the same can be said for the client. Graphic designers don’t usually edit text or create text for you so if you are delayed on your text/images so will the design. Some graphic designers will not start until all text is completed and ready to go.

6. Let us know what you like 🙂 . A graphic designer wants to please the client, let them know other work you like. I had a wonderful experience with a client who emailed me 4-5 logos she really connected with – even though they were not in the same field – it really helped me provide a logo in a style she loved.

7. Strive for consistency. Decide on a style that fits your company. I once heard another graphic designer complaining about a client that wanted to use imagery of a tree for a company print piece. The tree did not link to the company’s logo, brand, goal or vision. Make sure you are sticking with your brand and your visuals have strong reasons. For instance, if your colors are orange and gray then use orange and gray in your graphic design pieces somewhere. Everyone knows the ad campaign of “just do it” from Nike. This smart slogan has carried them a far way. Each design element should to help sell your company and sending mixed messages will confuse viewers.

If you have any other helpful hints or sites go ahead and share!

-Shalanah Backus

CBE Website Completed… Release the Balloons!

before-after
I have worked for CBE since Oct. 2007 part time and full time during the years as I subbed and taught at Waconia High School. About 1 year ago we began working on the website process and it took 1 year almost exactly to see its completion (some bumps on the road – we switched developers entirely), but now it is here! My first major website design! It really is great because CBE’s previous site was designed in 1996, and while it was good for the time it got increasing large and hard to manage. I did the complete design from text to images to shell and Datafire Group did all our coding for us. Our CMS system is Drupal. Hope you like!

> Take a look at CBE’s new website!
> And if you want a website designed or refreshed conact me.

-Shalanah Backus