How to successfully communicate with your freelance designer [Plus FREE Cheat Sheet Download]

Posted by Jennifer Forrest on March 21, 2018

Tired of the back-and-forth with your graphic designer? 

Whether you are a business owner or a nonprofit leader, chances are you will encounter a need for graphic design at some point in your career. To make that exchange as successful as possible, here a few tips for successfully communicating with your designer.

Be crystal clear from the start.

While graphic designers may seem to have mystical powers, they don’t have a crystal ball. In order to truly understand what you have in mind, they need as much information about your ideas and expectations as you can provide — from the beginning.

1.  Make your ideas apparent. Include as much detail as possible. Include samples of things that inspire you. Pinterest is a good resource for you to collect your visual inspirations. By the same token, take care to communicate what you don’t want.

2.  Talk about your strategy. Be expressive about the message that you want to deliver to your audience. Provide as much detail as you can about:

a. your business
b. your product
c. your target audience
d. how you plan to use the final design.

3.  Discuss your design budget. If you have a budget that you are confined to, be up front with your designer, and work together to find a solution that is reasonable to you both.

4.  Establish a time frame. Be transparent about when you need the first draft, the final proof and the printer files. Be aware that some elements of design may take more time than you expect, and printers often request two weeks for turn-around time.

5.  Be clear about any restrictions. Tell the designer if there are certain specifications or guidelines he or she needs to follow in regard to size, text, logos, images, etc.

6.  Provide the proper files. Work with your designer to find out what types of files you need to provide for the designer to get started. Logos, photos and other graphic items will need to meet resolution requirements that vary by publication method (online, print, outdoor, etc.).

Do you get confused about the differences between file types? Download our free Design Lingo Reference Guide. It doubles as a file-type cheat sheet! #CorCommTools


7. Be present. During the design process, there will need to be an open channel of communication between you and the designer. It is important that you are present to respond in a timely manner in order to keep the job timeline on track.
  • Maintain regular feedback.
  • Promptly respond to your designer when questions arise.
  • Take advantage of tools like Adobe Acrobat to easily mark changes, add notes and return drafts the designer sends.
  • Offer honest feedback. This will save time and money in getting your designer on the path that you envision.

Graphic design is often an intuitive process, and designers have a strong understanding of principles like balance, proximity and visual motion — and a natural knack for knowing if a design “works.” But it’s risky to assume a designer knows what you know about your project. With proper collaboration and realistic expectations, you can have the great fortune of presenting a successful design to your audiences.


Topics: Danville, Indiana, communications, marketing, branding, vendors, graphic design, hiring freelancers, outsourcing

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