The information you are providing, the more likely the end result will match your goals.
Graphic Designers Work for Hours
When it comes to graphic design, I’m not ashamed to admit it, although I probably should be, as I manage the marketing of three exhibition companies. However, there is rarely a day when I don’t make graphic design decisions about our websites, sales literature, email marketing broadcasts, and trade show displays. Is my lack of experience in graphic design noticeable? I certainly hope not. Frankly, I think we do a good job.
Most managers, who understand his limitations, I trust talented people, like graphic designers. Not only do they understand tools, like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Quark, but they spend their days immersed in graphic design problems. They understand the nuances and trends. They remind me that this colored text on that background is unreadable and that I have created visual clutter and confusion in my effort to say and show too much. If I ask them to add a “starburst” with a price tag, they will guide me to a more contemporary solution that doesn’t stink of 80s clip art.
Fortunately, I have learned some valuable lessons over the years regarding graphic design, which I will share. These are not font, color, or design tips. Remember, I’m an idiot. These are tips for anyone who works with graphic designers, tips that will hopefully save you time, money and slow down the aging process.
Four valuable Lessons on Graphic Design
It’s Your Project: I would hate to be a graphic designer and work with most clients. Your expectations are unrealistic, your directions are vague, and your budget is pitiful. Most clients don’t know they want and expect the graphic designer to be a psychic. Customers will use terms such as “modern” and “visually striking” and “colorful” and will expect those concepts to be transparent to anyone. They are not, and neither does a “tree” look the same to someone living in New England.
Ownership of your project. The more information you convey to the graphic designer, the more effort you put into preparing the project, the more likely the end result is to match your goals. Take the time to collect sample ads, websites, and sales brochures that you like. Graphic designers are visual. They will take those cues and use them to create their design. I hear someone say, “I wanted original and I didn’t want to influence the creative process by being too specific or showing you examples.” Really? When did vagueness become a muse? Go ahead, be lazy. Just don’t pretend your laziness is a creative strategy of design.
It’s your project. I’m not offended, but I’m laughing behind your back. Your graphic designer loves you and hates you. It has made their job much more difficult, but it has made them a little richer. Most graphic designers work part-time with minimal incremental time. Now you are paying to reflect, investigate, and start off wrong. Every round trip brings you closer to your perfect design, but you are paying for the privilege of having a graphic designer at your call. If you work best on following this process and you have the budget, then either hire a full-time graphic designer or recognize that time is money, your money, and don’t complain when you get the final bill.
Mind Meld = Success and higher productivity. I have worked with the same graphic design firm for over four years. They are the best, which is an important criterion. Equally important is that we now have a history together. They understand what I want. I understand the best way to communicate with them. They understand the exhibition industry, and in fact, they have struggled to learn about the trade show business – the graphic requirements, trade shows, publications, and much more. They have grown with us and are instrumental in developing graphics and branding for multiple product lines and marketing programs.
Once you have found a graphic designer (or design company) that you respect and like, it pays to remain loyal. They will watch your back with advertising agencies and suppliers.
They will protect your brand, even when you want to stomp on it for a crazy idea at 2 am with a 24-hour shelf life. You will develop a communication abbreviation, which will save you money and grievances. Each project is still your project, but when moving from point A to Z, you usually skip about half the alphabet.
Trust Your Instincts
You’ve gotten this far, and unless you have a history of failure, poor decisions, and Hindenburg marketing, you’ve learned something valuable along the way. Be open to advice. But trust your instincts. If you’re wrong, it was just a job in a recessionary economy with little prospect of future employment.
There are a lot of people who call themselves graphic designers. Just as there are many people who call themselves investment advisers or bankers. When you find a talented graphic designer, one who is in sync with your vision and personality, hold on tight and be amazed.
Online Graphic Design Courses
Graphic design courses online have become quite popular in recent years. As more and more people take an interest in this field these days, the popularity of the courses has also increased. Our busy schedule does not allow us to attend a regular school to learn this art form. But online courses help us learn it without any hiccups. There are some courses that provide course material by mail. Those are basically self-study materials that come in the form of a CD or DVD along with a guide. Then there are some courses that have video tutorials to help students. The biggest advantage of those courses is that you can learn them whenever you want. For example, you can learn them during your lunch break or on a boring road trip.