How to get great design – Every. Dang. Time.

Being that my company focuses a large chunk of it’s time around graphic design and web design, I get asked this question a ton.

“Ryan, I know that you do really great work, so how can I make sure future design needs go just as well?”

Generally my answer is a generous thank you, because I love knowing I did a good job. I also understand that sometimes it works out where you need a different designer.

So, first things first, let’s look at the design scale so you can really understand what factors you are working with.

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I love this graphic, because it is snarky, but also has a lot of truth to it. Let me go on the record by saying that you get what you pay for.

One of the main battles I fight with new clients is price.

“Why should I pay you $X an hour? Isn’t it just doing X, Y and Z?”

There are a few things that are wrong with this logic, so let me walk you through it:

  1. It’s okay to clarify what a price entails, saying someone’s rate is too high is subjective.
  2. If it was ‘just’ doing X. Y and Z, wouldn’t you take care of it yourself?
  3. If you hire someone who claims to do your logo for $20, you will most likely end up hiring someone to fix it for $200.
    1. Skip a step and get it done right the first time, you won’t regret it.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that we all have budgets and my first priority when establishing a new relationship is to make sure I fit within that budget. If I don’t, I try to find alternatives so we both get what we want, or recommend another designer who may be a better fit.

The best projects I have been a part of had one thing in common: I respected the client and what they did and they respected me and what I do.

Now that the snark is out of the way (or most of it) let’s talk about how to get the best design possible.

1. Give very clear directions

When you say, “do what you think is best” the designer usually will. If you don’t like it, that is okay. If you don’t like it three more times, you do have an idea of what you want. Tell your designer and they will be happy to create it, we are here to help.

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2. Say why you don’t like something

It’s okay to not like something. Design is a lot of back and forth, which is the beauty of making something new. It gets challenging when you cannot get clear feedback. Here is an example of poor feedback and some great feedback.

Poor Feedback: I just don’t like what you did here.

Why it’s Poor: This does not tell the designer how to fix the problem. Do you not like the font because it doesn’t capture the feeling you want? Or are you just having a bad day and hate everything. Both are fine, tell me which one it is, so we can keep rocking.

Great Feedback: I don’t love the color that you used. I am going for more of a modern look and that seems too fun to be modern. I assume you have done something similar before, so can you give me some context on why you picked it?

Why it’s Great: It tells me why you want it changed, gives me a new direction to head towards and opens up an opportunity for me to ask more specific questions so we can avoid problems like this in the future.

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3. Trust your designer

I get it, trusting someone with an aspect of your business or passion can be nerve wracking. You can also suffocate great design by giving too much feedback or micro managing the project. There are exceptions to every rule, this is what I have found to be the case for me and my clients.

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Bonus Tip: Say Thank You

This is a biggie for me. It’s a personal stand I take when hiring people or when outsourcing a project or task. Thank you says that I know you took time and did a good job. It says that I love the work you did and want to keep working with you. If your philosophy is that you paid me therefore I do not need a ‘thank you’ you may find yourself running out of people who want to work with you.

That’s it folks! If you have a comment, leave it below, or send me a message directly!

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