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How to best communicate with your designer. Image of Lemon Tree's Creative Lead, Bianca, sitting at a table and smiling whilst talking to a client.

The best way to communicate with your designer

Good communication between a designer and client not only ensures that a project runs smoothly but lays the foundation for a great relationship which often results in added value for both parties.

A good relationship with your designer means a better understanding of your brand, your business and your personal preferences, which ultimately streamlines the process and results in better outcomes.

Ready to learn how to best communicate with your designer? Let’s jump into the interview with designer, Bianca Taylor-Andrews.

Step 1: Nail the brief

Bianca shares four key things a client should include in order to nail their design brief:

“There should always be a clear design objective(s) so the designer can measure whether they have succeeded or not.”

“You should also specify the dimensions of the artwork, as well as the context of the design – for example, ‘I’m about to promote XYZ on my Instagram and want to do so via stories. So I’ll need this asset to be for 1080 x 1920px. That way, the designer knows exactly what the creative asset will be used for and they can design it appropriately.”

“As the client, you need to know what you want and you need to agree on the objectives so it is clearly communicated to the designer.”

Finalised copy and call to action
“Ideally, the copy should be approved and finalised before the design is briefed – drastically changing your messaging structure takes a toll on the time a designer needs to spend to rework your design.”

Bianca also suggested that you should disclose whether you’d like to receive working files as part of the project scope. Requesting to own the IP once a design is complete impacts a projects value, and ultimately the project fee as well.

Step 2: Agree to the project scope and timeline

There are three things clients and designers should agree upon before commencing design work:

  • Deliverables
  • Number of changes
  • Project timeline

Bianca tells us that failure to agree upon deliverables can result in disappointment and confusion for both parties.

“Without agreeing upon deliverables, clients might find that they thought they were getting more than what they had agreed on, or at a faster speed than the designer can work to.”

She also reiterated why it is so important to nail the brief:

“If the brief is done right, you won’t need more than the agreed-upon round of changes and your project timeline will stay on track.”

Step 3: Share your brand assets

The next step is to provide your designer with brand assets so they can get started on your project. The four things you should share with your designer are:

  • Brand logo files (in .ai, .eps or .pdf format if you have them)
  • Brand font files (usually .ttf or .otf files)
  • Brand colour palette
  • A copy of your up-to-date style guide

If you’re looking at this list and thinking ‘oh no I’m missing a few!’ Don’t stress!

“If you don’t have any of the above, don’t panic, you’ll just need to have a conversation with your designer to let them know.

The project scope may need to be adjusted to accommodate more time for the designer to produce branded elements from scratch.”

Step 4: Give good feedback

According to Bianca, there are two key rules for good feedback.

Bianca’s first rule is to ‘always look through the lens of your audience’.

“A lot of the time, a client might personally not like something, but if they look through the lens of their audience, they can start to see where they are being subjective, as opposed to objective.

It is also really helpful that clients explain their feedback – if you don’t like something, make sure you explain why. This crucial step can help open up a conversation with your designer to discuss what might be subjective versus objective feedback.”

Bianca’s second key rule for good client feedback is to be timely.

“Providing your feedback within the allotted timeframe ensures your project stays on track.

In an agency example, designers work across many brands and businesses, not just your own. When a client delays providing feedback beyond the allotted time slot, it not only impacts the planned schedule of your own work but that of other client work as well.

Often times, you’ll need to wait until an empty time slot is available in the designer’s schedule for work to recommence on your project.”

Once the feedback is actioned and the project is complete, it’s time for the grand reveal.

Final step: Handover

At the handover stage, you will be asked to pay the remaining invoice before receiving your completed design files. Once you’ve received them, store them in a memorable place for safekeeping.

If you like, now is a great time to let your designer know how you feel about working with them, and their design outcomes. Let them know they did a great job, or pass on a few kind words to suggest improvements in the process that might create a better experience next time.

The true role of a designer is to effectively communicate your message and nail your design objectives. If you’re interested in working with our design team, check out some of our recent work.