The immense expectations! The meeting of personalities! The potentially world-changing graphic ideas! The barely contained emotion! The pressure of explaining invoices! Ohhhh… the rollercoaster of emotions that is – clients working with designers.

Working with a Designer can be an exciting as well as an eye-opening experience.  

Here’s five ways to get the very best out of your, already pretty bloody good, Graphic Designer. And, in doing so, ensuring the experience ultimately ends in tears of beautifully branded joy and not the alternative!

1. Prepare, proof and approve your content, BEFORE you send it.

Heard of Bitcoin? Like great design, it’s also cool, valuable and quite amazing. Bitcoin’s market value had a long, slow steady growth over several years but then in very recent months…boom! It’s market price absolutely skyrocketed!

Interestingly, that’s exactly what happens to clients’ invoices when they bring all their (specifically) quoted project content to their designer… but have NOT prepared or proofed it properly.

When rounds of revisions, corrections, rewrites and image changes are made at design or artwork stage = ka-ching! Worse still, if changes are being made at print pre-production stage = bigger ka-ching! Finding mistakes after print production = massive ka-chings and huge face-palms!

So, to stop those extra ‘0’s’ appearing on your invoice…
Have your project content fully prepared, double checked and approved. By doing this, errors, double handling, design time wasting and extra $-000’s are dramatically reduced.

Content with holes, changes or mistakes lead to ‘scope-creep’. It sounds nasty and it can cost nasty. Worse still, you run the risk (and cost) of corrections getting missed and mistakes being made.

2. Client visual direction: Likes and not-likes.

Now this can be a particularly tricky aspect in the designer/client relationship. Visual creative direction and, specifically, agreeing on it. Things can get quite visually subjective here where both parties dig their toes in. So, here’s a tactic that gets both creative & client minds on the same path.

Before any Macs are flicked on and creative shenanigans kick off, the client should share preferred imagery, photos, layout styles and words. Even better, including image, design and text samples they don’t like. And even better still, where it will appear, how it wil be produced, what is the shining beacon of hope at the end of the journey.

This step is a massive, time-saving help. Both client and designer are crystal clear on the creative boundaries to play within.

Designers are inherently visual-driven thinkers, and this step guides the design thinking into the right creative area. In this case a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s also worth thousands of dollars of (avoidable) designer ‘guess’ work.

3. Remember WHY your hired your designer.

As a client or business owner, you know all the ins and outs of what you do and selling its strategic points. You know who your customers and audience are. You also know you need a business marketing tool specifically designed and produced to get results.

The great thing is designers know this too. That’s why the design creative brief they (should) complete with you uncannily addresses each & every one of the points above.

With a great brief, the Designer knows everything they need to know about your brand… about your target audience and – the cool bit – the right design idea/layout/look/feel that will bring you together.

You’ve probably chosen them by the style of work on their website, right? You’ve researched their capabilities, experience and other client testimonials, so when the temptation to become their designer arises, just remember;

You hired them because they can design.
You know they understand my business.
And you’ve got a great brief to prove it.

So, breathe easy knowing that you can let them do the job you (really) know they can do, in the business they love, and tick that off your list.

I remember when I used to audition for Musical Theatre roles, I had to remind myself that the judging panel didn’t want me to fail, they wanted me to succeed, to wow them. They wanted the best from me. Same goes for your designer, they are there to give you their best, they want your business to succeed too! You just need to let go and let them work their magic.

4. Lots of Designer questions = Your Design answer.

Before all the fun of the concepts, layouts and creativity kicks off, prepare yourself, dear client, for a million design questions prior to your job starting.

This very important step is way less “be creative” phase and much more “sponge mode” where the designer needs to understand not only what you want produced, but also what is in your head communication-wise, your target audience and your ideal business outcomes.

Designers do more than create impactful, resonating design. Good designers – and their processes – educate clients. And, beyond more than how freaking cool they can look within their marketplace. What their brand means, what it’s capable of, and how it lives and breathes. How a brand connects with people, emotionally and logically.

We know how much a great brand can light up a business. And creating, producing and sharing that is what fires us.

5. 100% honesty. All communication. Always.

It comes a close second to creativity. But total honesty is a super-important element in any designer and client relationship. Simply put, if there is complete transparency between designer and client, there’s no problem that cannot be solved.

I have had dozens of clients that have come to me with an idea in their head of what they think they want or need and I have helped them not only solved the problem, but also pushed through the barriers of what they thought was “possible”, all because they were open.

From historically awkward areas of design, such as colour and aesthetics, right through to the hard and fast, nitty gritty of a project’s budget, deadlines and priority access, upfront clarity and openness puts everything on the table. This is where agreements can be reached, creative problems can be solved and magic happens.

In fact, the working relationship goes from strength to ‘stronger’ when problems are honestly and openly addressed. Each act of communication between a designer and their client should be relationship building. And if you’re not happy, speak up constructively. No one wants to think they are kicking ass when in reality, the client isn’t happy and shopping around. Give your designer a chance to make it work, and work with you.

Preparing, proofing and approving all your content. Your visual likes and don’t-likes. Acknowledging  you as the client & empowering you as your designer. Forensic design questions that help solve design challenges. And 100% honesty, every step of the project. Just a handful of paragraphs, but all invaluable ways to improve the Client–Designer relationship.

I believe each of these strategies will help clients achieve a smoother, happier and quicker project experience and develop a long-lasting relationship that provides trust and peace of mind to the client. Better still, I know I can bring the creative benchmark to your table, for your company’s next brand project.


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Let’s Work Together


So much of choosing the designer for you is not only the skills and abilities of that designer, but also making sure our personalities that work well together. I’m not interested in one-off projects, I want to have a long relationship where you can call on me when you need me. So lets start that discovery process today!

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Hi there! My name’s Jasmine and I am a graphic designer, lettering artist and superwoman of all things creative. I’ve turned projects around in hours, made events come to life and even worked with a few big brands you might recognise. Check out my portfolio and drop me a line to find out if we can work well together.

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