Molly Hicks, brand strategist and graphic designer

Design You Envision: 5 Secrets to Get the Best Work Done with Your Designer

People don’t always know how to express the design you envision. At the very least, it isn’t in a way that actually helps the designer understand what they are really wanting to do or can be close to copyright infringement. You see bits and pieces of things that you like and think that it will look amazing in your design. It’s also so easy to only see parts of the design, and not how they would actually look like together, how they aren’t cohesive. So the moment that these bits and pieces are put together, you suddenly hate your design. I want to share how you can correctly get the design you envision with your designer.

Big List of Don’ts

I’m going to start with exactly what isn’t helpful to do while you are working with a designer on your brand. I do this because if you are doing any of these things, you need to know to stop immediately. And then we can go into what can actually help you.

Secret #1 – Don’t Provide Your Designer with Things You Like

I know this sounds like a weird one, but hear me out. Going out and picking little things that you like of different brands doesn’t actually help you in any way. Either it puts images in the designer’s head that they might accidentally copy. (And as much as you like that element, you do not want your brand looking like anyone else’s brand!) or if the designer trys to add these different elements together, they actually look horrible. Crushing your dreams of what you thought you actually wanted.

Don’t worry, I’ll give you an alternative in a moment so you can still get the design that you envision.

Secret #2 – Stop Rushing the Process

Design doesn’t happen in a day. Especially if you want an insanely unique-to-you brand and lots and lots of elements included! The design process takes time to get the design you envision.

Branding is a science and an art. Color psychology is important and should be used over just selecting colors that you “like”. Then there is fully understanding your ideal client. And then the actual design process. That design process takes a lot of time especially if your designer is like me, it gives you several different directions that we could go and several different color palettes and wants you to sit with things.

My clients are told to have their branding initially sit with them for over 10 days, because I want their initial reaction and then, I want their time with that reaction. Especially since first reactions aren’t always the best since it’s easy to be resistant to change. Your gut reaction can’t always be trusted when it comes to making major decisions in your brand changes. Too quick of a judgement can lead you to a design that you hate instead of one that really resonates with you in the end.

Secret #3 – Don’t Be Mean in Your Critique

Now, I’m not telling you to not be honest. That is 100% not what I want. I want you to be honest, but in an actually helpful way. 

There is a difference between constructive criticism and being insulting.

The second you start describing a designers hard work as the work of a toddler, stupid, or other names that don’t actually tell the designer what you don’t like, you start ruining your relationship with the designer.

No designer presents you with work that they don’t love themselves. So when you get insulting, instead of just pointing out what you don’t like, you start to ruin your relationship with your designer instead of working together to get the design you envision. Their heart is in your project and insults hurt.

So how do you actually help your designer?

Okay, so you’ve stopped doing the things that kills your designers soul bit by bit. Now, let’s start working together productively to make you a brand that you are completely in love with and your audience will resonate with as well.

Secret #4 – Tell Me What You Don’t Like

We can still put your Pinterest surfing to good use. Show me exactly what you hate in design work! Are there colors that you just absolutely can’t stand to begin with? Design trends or fonts that make you gag? These you can tell me and I will avoid like the plague!

This also is a big part of the narrowing down and refining process of our design time together. When I send you designs, (and I personally send 3-10 different pathways we can go in the beginning) I want you to tell me the truth about how you feel about each design and if it is coming close to the design you envision in your mind. BUT it has to be in a constructive way. Tell me how the design makes you feel and how that is different from how you want your ideal customer to feel when they see your branding.

Tell me the tangible reasons on why you dislike something about your design options while we are working branding together. Just saying you don’t like it, or that it looks silly, that doesn’t tell your designer anything about why you dislike it. But if you say this script is too messy for me, this color palette is too pastel or too bright. You want one of the tones of pink to be more red

Secret #5 – Know Your Ideal Client

Doing some extensive research on who your ideal client is and what they will expect from you is an amazing thing to do BEFORE you start working with your designer. If you come into our design time together with a great idea of who your ideal client is, our time together will go by so much easier because you know exactly what they will be looking for. What different things will make them feel. And exactly how to attract them. And that is the message that I want to convey through your branding.

You can get the design you envision by working together with your designer.

It’s time to revamp your relationship with designers. Of course, each designer is different, but I feel like these are good secrets to have in your pocket to be the perfect green flag client for just about anyone. Branding is such an important part of the client experience. You deserve to love your brand and have your clients love your brand as well. Use these tips to make it the best experience possible.

Do you think you need a branding revamp for 2022? I’m currently booking 2022 projects now!Jump on a discovery call and let’s make a plan to work together.

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