Some people are just plain mean. Hopefully the person you hired to build your website isn’t. Most graphic designers really want to create beautiful things with their clients. They want to achieve mutualism. Too often, designers and clients don’t understand each other, and design projects don’t go as well as they could. This article is designed to help entrepreneurs and other website owners preserve the love by avoiding some of the most common stumbling blocks when working with a graphic designer.
1) I’ll know it when I see it.
It’s true. When the magic happens, it’s undeniable. And you will tell your designer when it happens — in the future. It’s not the thing you should be talking about now.
The reason it’s so hard to give more details is the same reason this doesn’t help your designer. This is subjective. It’s about seeing something that makes you feel a certain way. Your designer needs you to help them get there.
Say This Instead.
Going through a few rounds of design is normal, so don’t jump the gun. Ask what kind of feedback works best, and be clear and direct. If you can’t say it, show it. Try putting together a mood board and share it with your web design team. Make a Pinterest board. Put together a list of sites that make you feel strongly — some that you love, and some that you hate. If you never get there, consider moving on to a firm that understands you better.
2) We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
But we may need to reinvent your project. Hiring a graphic designer is a big decision that usually takes some shopping around. If you want to say this, take some time to think about whether you’re working with the right firm. What this really says is that you don’t feel like work is being done on your project efficiently, you feel like you’re being charged too much, or you’re just plain scared that you won’t get what you paid for.
Say This Instead
If any of these are true, get to the heart of the issue. What’s really wrong? Tell your key contact or whoever sold you the project that you need to talk with them about how the project is going. Talk about your genuine concerns, take notes, and make sure that you feel heard. A website is a big project that can be complex, challenging, tiring, and even frustrating. You should go through that process with a team that you trust.
3) Make it pop.
You want something exciting that’s going to engage people. If your subject matter is for people going through hard times, you want your message to resonate and inspire hope. You want your design to work, and to tap into the passion you have for your cause. Hopefully you trust that your designer wants that tooIf you’ve seen multiple rounds of design that don’t excite you, it’s time to speak up. And if you like your designer but feel like none of her past projects “pop”, it might be time for a hard conversation. But when you do, make sure you’re saying something valuable. Speak clearly and directly, and talk about your audience and your goals.
Say this instead.
Your designer needs two things from you: trust and good feedback (also to get paid, but that’s a whole different ballgame). If you realize you can’t provide both of those, it’s time to start talking about the big picture. Make sure you’re working with someone who gets your business, who you can afford, and whose work you like. If they’re missing any of those elements, you’re not going to have a successful project.
More Unhelpful Words
Just as “pop” doesn’t say much about what your website should do, these words give zero information about how you want it to look.
It’s not you. It’s me.
Your business is near and dear to your heart, and this process should be personal. But make sure that you’re the right person to be working directly with the design team. Then make sure to stay focused on your goals. You’re working toward a business tool, not a work of art. Yes, it can be beautiful. But more important is whether it achieves the goals you set out at the beginning of the project. If you get push-back from your designer, ask why. Make sure that the case you make is better than theirs. If you’re going on personal preference and feeling and they’re going on best practices and years of experience, at least understand what you’ll be compromising if you throw your trump card.
Business owners, what’s the most difficult thing about working with graphic designers?
Here’s more about how to get what you really want from your web designer.