Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting the Best from your Graphic Designer - Pt 2

Last time we talked about how to get the best from your graphic designer, with Tanya from Tanya Collier Design. Today I thought we could ask some similar and totally different questions to another designer to use as a comparison. I think it’s very important to do this. Look around; get some quotes and even call the designer to get a really good feel of whether yours will be a good, if not great working relationship.

Remember!! Communication, communication, communication.

So today we are talking to Greta from Colour and Spice, a graphics business that now has a string of very satisfied customers trailing behind them. E.g. this is how Suzie from Hoots and Kisses sums up her experience with Greta “I was lucky enough to work with Greta on my entire business package, from logo to blog banner. She (Greta) took direction, without fluttering an eyelid and her communication was brilliant”

Sonia from Osonia Designs also had a particular positive experience with this designer.

“My experience with Greta was rewarding and fruitful because of her wonderful communication and availability. There was a great deal of communication both via emails and verbally and I was made to feel as if I were her only client at the time.

I approached Greta, not knowing exactly what I wanted. I had many ideas, but realistically they were just that!  She guided me in the direction she felt I should be headed and I love the end result.

Make sure when choosing a Graphic Designer they make themselves available to you, as if you are a priority to them.  Perhaps have some idea of colours/graphics you may like to see used”

Enough said, I would say!

Interview with Greta from Colour and Spice.

1. In your own words, describe the word BRAND

Brand to me is everything about your identity as a business. Your branding is everything. I guess if you think of some very large worldwide brands such as Coca Cola, G-Star, Caltex, IKEA etc, they all stand for something and are simply recognizable as a strong and successful international brand. Your brand or identity is what you stand for and what you represent so it needs to be right and you need to back it up with strong marketing and a visual presence and it needs to back you up in terms of your products/services. Your business and brand go hand in hand always and if they make a good match then more often than not, if you drive your business well, it will become successful and your brand image will carry you a long way.

2.  What are your top 5 tips for getting the absolute best from your designer?

I think the best way to get the best from your designer is to be as prepared as possible with providing as much information about what you envisage for your brand and knowing what you stand for and where you are heading in terms of your target audience and product range. This is critical in terms of branding a business for success. My top 5 tips would be:

  1. Know whom your target market is and whom you aim to capture in the future and share this information with your designer. It helps to create an image instantly about the overall look and feel of your branding.
  2. Have a strong product range in place that supports your brand and what you stand for and share these with your designer. This ties in with point 1.
  3. Provide any images, logos, looks, colours or any other concepts you have in mind to your designer. The more information the better as there are so many possibilities and options for your designer to explore. The more you can narrow it down the sooner you will discover your ideal logo and it will save you money in the long run with the restriction of revisions.
  4. Share ideas, concepts or images that would not be suitable for your branding as this will also help your design head in the right direction in the first instance.
  5. Always ask your designer about what you get for your money – how many concepts and revisions are included in the logo price.

3. How do you help the customer who wants a logo, but really has no idea what they want?

This can be tricky, but I always have a set of questions initially for the business owner so that I can try and obtain some information about their business and what they stand for and the overall look and feel, which may prompt them into creating some form of visual in their own mind, which they are content with. I can also provide some input into their decision making in regards to what other businesses in the same industry may do or what I have provided for similar clients in the past. This will often help. Or they will often browse through my portfolio to provide feedback about the looks they like and don’t like for their business. Discovering what they don’t like is as important if not more important, than discovering what they do like.

4. Can you think of a customer /job that really stands out as being successful? If so, can you explain why you think it was so successful?

There are a few that come to mind and I have the same answer for each one – a strong and consistent branding and marketing material. Your logo and branding is the forefront of what you do, like a sales person on the shop floor, so it is critical to get this right and make a strong branding piece that carries across all facets of your business. Your logo/look is your identity, and is what you stand for and is what people will ultimately recognize and remember!

5. As a customer, what should you expect from your designer? 

As a customer I would expect quite a lot of communication and input from the graphic designer. Not only are you paying for them to be creative and to physically create your logo, you are paying for their expertise and advice in terms of setting up your brand image. Communication is critical and is the key element to every design project in my eyes. Nurturing and working with and not for your client, is the way to go. Clients often will require advice as they go through the design process and reassurance that decisions they are making are the right ones for them and their business. Typically the design process can take between 2 and 4 weeks depending on how complex the brief is and how many revisions are required to get the logo just right. It also depends on how quickly the design and client can respond to one another to get the process moving ahead. Many emails to and from one another is typical as well as chatting over the phone which can make the process quicker and more informative.

6. What happens if you follow the customers brief and then they really don’t like the finished result? 

This is rare but it can happen to some clients. It comes back to the initial process of working out where their business is heading and designing something to best suit them and their business and for the business owner and designer to carefully consider the look of the design work and for the two parties to agree before once again moving forward with any design work. It can often mean that new designs need to be created and the process needs to start again.

7.When a customer comes to you wanting a logo/brand designed, what do you do, where do you start?

This is a typical day to day scenario for me, and clients often need to be walked through the design process and what to expect from me as a designer, as it is a daunting process that they most likely have not experienced in the past. I provide them with some initial questions about their business and what they envisage for their new logo/look as part of the initial brief process. Some clients prefer to chat over the phone so they can discuss in more detail their concept. I have some general information including with my price list that they are welcome to browse through before the process begins. I also do my homework in regards to looking at their business website or facebook page etc and look at their products and overall look which will often create an image in my mind in addition to the customer brief. I expect the customer to have some ideals in terms of what they are after but I also do my ground work to fill in any blanks that I or the client may have.

8. On a typical project, how much communication is involved and what form does it take? 

On most projects there are several emails and mock ups passed to the client before finalizing the new logo. A lot of communication (usually mostly emails) in the first instance with establishing the brief and obtaining some visual information from them before even starting on their project is typical. Once the process begins it’s a lot of emails between the client and myself with mock ups and feedback and then revisions until the client is happy with the end result. Sometimes a few conversations over the phone is also of benefit to establish a clearer brief and to discuss options with the client.

Thanks so much to Greta, Sonia, Suzie and Tanya for taking valuable time out of their very busy schedules. Answering some of our burning questions with regards graphic design, what to expect from your designer and not forgetting that rather important ingredient. Branding!! I hope that has helped some of you.

Good Luck!

1 comment:

  1. Great description on branding. I like the correlation between brand and identity, and the point that a brand is what you stand for. Good article.


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