Communicating With Your Design Team

Graphic Designers are timid creatures with fragile sensibilities. Approaching them in their natural habitat can be risky business if you are ill-prepared for the oddball communication mishaps or flighty gestures of artistic passion which may ensue. If you have been lucky enough to get close to a design team member, whether by bribing them with candy or the occasional free font download, then you have surely experienced their oddities first-hand.


…While their antics may puzzle you, getting the graphics that you need from your designers doesn’t have to be a wild adventure. Take note of these tips to sharpen up your communication skills and effectively complete a project while strengthening your relationship with your design team. (Just don’t get too close.)

  1. What Not to Say: “Make it more vintage! Make it more modern! Make it more summery!”


Your design team strives for excellence! But shooting off fancy, indistinct adjectives like it’s New Year’s Eve doesn’t really do any good for anybody and you’re probably not going to get the picturesque graphic you had envisioned. Why? Well the confusion arises when misinformed directions become misleading. Are we talking 1800s vintage? Art-deco vintage? 2003 vintage? Your designers aren’t mind-readers. The fix: Give your team examples! Shower them with hyperlinks! Provide them with free candy and images of previous projects so they can instantly get a feel for what you’re looking for. This will cut any confusion to a minimum. (Plus, graphic designers are crazy about images so there’s that.)

  1. This shouldn’t take very long at all to create…Right?


What may seem like a simple fix for you is more likely not a simple fix for a graphic designer. Nothing irks the artsy-folk like assuming what they do is easy. Your design team is capable of getting the job done in a timely manner. The fix: Instead of tossing assumptions onto your designer’s desk, explain what you need concisely then ask for a realistic time frame. Creating graphics is still an artform, and while putting together a successful ad shouldn’t take as long as writing a full-length novel, there are pieces which may take time to put in place. Rearranging text and images involves design principles like hierarchy and motion which should always be considered when finding the best solution. If a task is due within a short time-frame don’t play down what your designers can do. Instead get them what they need and encourage them to get it done right.

  1. Wanna do some extra graphic design work on the side (for free)? You’ll get lots of exposure on my !


Designers want to be cherished or else they wilt. Taking valuable time from them in exchange for “exposure” or “more followers” is detrimental to their creativity. If they offer a valuable service of which you are in need then do the right thing and let them know that you value their work by offering to pay them upfront (with money).

  1. Can you give it to us so we can make the edits in ?


NOPE. Asking anyone in your design team to hand over an unfinished piece with the knowledge that it very well may be butchered in Microsoft Word then dipped in clipart is traumatizing to say the least (our design team members have nightmares about this.) Those advertisements are your designers’ children and (weird as it sounds) it’s hard enough for them to take that brave final step and send their babies away in an email to the printer. If you can’t trust your designers to get the job done or if the task is taking longer than expected, chances are there’s a bigger problem at hand. Instead of tearing away the one thing that designers enjoy (and get paid for), try to understand why there might be issues with the design or offer to mockup what you are looking for in a word document or on paper. A clear example can be a great start to an even more successful ad.


-The TB Design Team

Design isn’t just about communication and free candy! Look back and learn more about some of the DOs and DO-NOTS of graphic design.