What is it that makes a design project glide along, on-target, and on-schedule vs. a project that ultimately goes off the rails? Sure, every job is unique, but after more than 25 years working in the industry, we’ve noticed common practices that can make a job a success or doom the project from the start.
Here are five insider tips to help you get the most out of a design partner.
Tip 1: Meet in person
At Planet Studio, we’ve found that it is more effective to meet in person, preferably face-to-face, for at least the project kick-off meeting and whenever we present creative. (The second best option is face-to-screen.) Design, on many levels, is intuitive. There is a vital part of design that requires an unspoken understanding and meeting face-to-face allows designers to read your body language and better understand the direction you are giving. We call this “observational intake” and it is much more difficult to do on the phone than in person.
Tip 2: A creative brief is your best friend
We love it when a client comes in with a clear strategic direction. The best way to start a creative project is to develop a “creative brief.” Getting your direction down on paper is a great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and heading in the direction you want to go. Remember, you are the captain, we are your sailors, and as a sailor it is a whole lot easier to steer the boat if you are clear on the captain’s destination.
A creative brief is even helpful for small projects. Some design firms require extensive, lengthy creative briefs, however, even a shorter summary is better than none at all. For example, just answering the four questions below would be a great start:
- WHO is the intended audience for this project?
- WHAT do you want them to know/understand/do?
- WHICH elements should be considered? (logos, colors, copy, etc.)
- WHEN is the project due?
Questions like these help to quantify and convey many of the complex ideas in your mind to your designer.
Before sending a completed creative brief to the designer, pass it around to anyone who will need to approve the project. This can help you gain consensus on the strategic direction and save the project from being derailed later in the approval process.