Things to know before your next design project

Help your designer to make you look good (like really good) by becoming a part of the process using these key tricks. And save a load of money in the process.

Things to know before your next design project

Become a key part of the design process

If your past experience of the design process was with your design agency meeting with you for a quick chat, then dashing away to produce three concepts behind closed doors, then even the most flashy design is never going to work for your business. Change your experience and outcomes of the design process by becoming a part of it. It should be one of collaboration (after all it's your business), discussion, and experimentation.

Give your designer a clear picture of the 'design ecosystem of your business

When your design company went away and came up with some ideas they'll have produced some really cool stuff full of fonts, colour swatches, and symbolism. But when you started to use the brand or brochure it just didn't seem to grab the attention of the right people or work in all places. When you can give your designer the full picture of how their design will be used the eco system it will be used in they'll be able to create a far more robust design solution.

Know that every. single. feature. shouldn't be included in the design

One of our favourite words in the design world is 'focus'. What you focus on you have a better chance of hitting. The trick is knowing what to say and when.

You know your product solves a whole bunch of problems but without having a clear hierarchy about which of those wonderful things is the most important benefit to your target market – in short, why they should care – you are not going to capture anyone's attention. You need one clear message to cut through for each part of your design ecosystem.

Walk your designer through your marketing plan

No one can work in a silo. Well, not very effectively, anyway. Know that a designer, or web developer, is just one piece of the puzzle in the big picture of marketing your business. If you don't have even a basic marketing plan then get one. Take the time to find a template online, or engage someone to help you along the process. Oh and don't outsource it and skip the design process on this one. It's your business, so make yourself accountable to learn how to draft one. No one knows your business like you do and writing your own plan makes you see your business through your customers' eyes.

Clearly communicate the goals of why you've engaged the designer

You have key performance indicators in any other part of your business, so why not with your design? While a design goal may seem less tangible than other business metrics, by telling your designer the exact outcomes for the project they can give you a heads up as to whether this approach will achieve those goals. The outcome needs to be specific and not just 'we want to use this to increase sales a whole bunch'.

Know that your designer is not a strategist

Your website, brochure or logo are really just a visual representation of your business strategy. By providing your designer with a clear, concise strategy they, in turn, can create a clear, concise design solution. The design process is not the time to think about where you're business is going any more than setting off in the car is the time to decide where you're going and what you'll need when you get there. The number one reason why we see design projects going over budget is that the process of self-discovery has happened during the design process and has not been locked down before the designer was approached.

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