Artists, by nature are a sensitive bunch. Maybe it’s because we were upstairs drawing instead of playing team sports as kids. Maybe it’s because we see things differently than most and we fear being exposed as “weird”. Perhaps our sensitivity just helps us to emotionally invest in our work and clients. Whatever the reason, we are the purveyors of professional perfection and the broken-hearted romantics that constantly doubt if we will ever be good enough.
Like marriage, you and your designer should have open and honest communication that serves as a foundation for a happy, long-lasting relationship. But, as a full-time husband, designer and smart a**, I can testify that there are some things that should not be said to avoid sleeping on the couch and listening to "Everybody Hurts" on repeat. If your business is ready to benefit from a designer's services, here are some things to avoid saying....
“Fiverr only charges 5 bucks for a logo”.
Cool! I also like to wear the exact same pair of underwear everyday, but after a week people sorta notice. Logo sweatshops offer a cheap brand and a fast turn around by working off a template that was used 1000 times over. After a while you will start to see your professional logo replicated for “John’s Two-Step Training Camp” and “Granny’s Scrapbooking Emporium and Needlepoint Warehouse”. Being unique and positioning yourself to be competitive in your field usually requires someone locally who understands the social climate and resources. Local designers cannot only work with you face-to-face, but can give you contacts of local print shops, mail houses and other assets that you may need once your initial design is complete. Reach out to one of your local freelance designers and talk to them about their experience and see the diversity of their portfolio. Your company’s identity should be worth more than what you paid for lunch.
“My cousin knows a guy whose kid who is studying Biology, but loves to design logos on Microsoft Paint in his spare time”!
Well, I studied design - but in my spare time I like to dabble in dentistry because I like to see people smile. This is an all too common phase that not only devalues what we do it's also a red flag to designers on how you perceive your own design needs. A seasoned designer looks at everything. Your current look. Your competitor's look. Cross platform considerations. Anything visually related to your business. We also have the latest (expensive) software and resources to ensure your look is clean and consistent. Designing isn't our side job or our hobby. It's our livelihood and our way of helping our community's businesses grow. Our tools keep you competitive online and in print and our training guides you in understanding the principals of good design. Not everyone is born to be a designer...just ask the budding Biologist.
“Can you design this in Word or Powerpoint”?
“I could have done THAT”!
Ok, Captain Moonlight, I can paint 2 colors on a canvas but that doesn't make me Mark Rothko. Remember, you’re employing a professional who (hopefully) understands composition, color theory and the technical tools of design. Clients often can't see the “big picture”, while designers are always mindful on how the design is integrated across multiple platforms, scales and mediums. Thankfully, I have only heard this a few times in my career, but the sting is always there. A mutual respect for your designer and his/her business can go long way. Heck, it may even give you a free pack of flyers off another client's print run. SWEET!
“I don’t like it”.
This phrase isn't really offensive to most designers, but it's vagueness puts us on the defensive. Since artists work in all shades of grey, the dichotomy of "I don't like it", paints us in saturated black corner. This usually happens when there is an initial breakdown of communication before designing starts. The irony is that most of the time - the fault lies on the designer. Most of my peers share the blessing and curse of being too impulsive. While the client is still talking we have already laid out the design and printed out your new business cards. It's just the way most of us our wired. Through years of experience and a handful of sour faces, I find that it is essential to have an AAR (After Action Review) and make sure you and the designer are on the same page. I also recommend that you and your designer agree on 3 rough concept reviews before going into final design work. This not only ensures that you are both on the same page, it may offer you a new insight as to how your designer is visualizing your ideas.
A little common sense, critical thinking and constructive criticism can give you and your designer the roadmap for a relationship built on trust and respect. Albeit, we are sensitive souls, we are also very loyal, friendly and eager to please. By educating yourself on design, researching local designers and applying these points you and your designer can live Happily Ever After.