Creating the perfect campaign for your business can be tough, which is why it’s so important to have a great designer in your corner. Of course, I know that sometimes graphic designers can be hard to communicate with.
They have their design jargon and special software — and you might have no idea what it all means or how it all works. So if you work with designers, this guide will help you to ask the right kind of questions that will move your project along and create a final product that everyone will be happy with.
What might those be? Check out these 7 questions that designers wish they didn’t hear.
01. “Can I get you to do something really quick?”
Are you sure it will be quick? Do you know what’s involved? Your designer is more than likely happy to accommodate an extra task or an adjustment here and there, but will definitely appreciate your consideration in asking how much time it will take. Designers are good at giving estimates and will let you know how much time they need if you ask.
02. “Can you use this image I found online?”
Turning to Google or other search engines for images can backfire in a number of ways. For one, you could run into legal trouble for using a copyrighted image. Additionally, it’s likely that the image won’t even look good in your design because the resolution is too low. If you’re looking for an alternative to paying for stock photos, there is an increasing number of sources where you can find quality, free stock photos.
03. “Can you have this done by tomorrow?”
Graphic design isn’t an instant process that is done with a few clicks of a mouse. Every project will have its own process and time requirements. Realistically, some designs can be whipped out in a day, while others will take much, much longer. It completely depends on the project. If you’ve found a designer you’d like to hire, let him or her know about your time constraints and ask for a realistic estimate on how long the design will take.
04. “I know someone who works for half that. Could you lower your rate to match?”
Designers set their prices based on multiple components: geography, cost of living, style, skill, experience, and many more. Every designer will have a different combination of strengths and abilities to offer, and there’s no special formula for determining if a designer’s rate is competitive or “fair.” Generally you get what you pay for — so you need to decide what characteristics are most valuable to you in a designer (speed? quality? originality? reputation? personality?). That’s not to say price negotiation is not an option, but if your first encounter with a designer is an effort to “lowball” his rate — suggesting a rate much lower than normal, while expecting the same quality of work — that will be an immediate turnoff and feel disrespectful to the designer.
05. “How much would my [special, complicated project] cost?”
The answer isn’t as simple as you might think, and will be different for every project. It depends on a lot of things. That’s because pricing a project is not a black-and-white process. Most designers will want to have a detailed discussion about your project before giving you a quote. Factors like how complex it is, how fast you’ll need it, what types of formats or deliverables you’ll want, where and how it will be printed and/or published, and many others all play a part in determining pricing. When you first approach a designer, offer your project details before asking about costs, and you’ll get a more thoughtful, accurate estimate.
06. “Can I call or email you anytime?”
Nobody — even freelancers or night-owls — monitors their work email or phone 24/7. Designers have schedules, too (even if they work from home in their pajamas) and often collaborate with multiple clients simultaneously. You may not be able to get a hold of your designer at a moment’s notice, but you should hear back from him during his working hours. If you’re concerned about how easy it will be keep it touch, make sure to ask when those working hours are (and limit your most important messages to that time) as well what his preferred method of communication is.
07. “You’re the expert here. Can’t you just do your creative magic?”
Well… we are not magician. Designers are experts at creating beautiful, functional designs from the guidance and parameters you provide. Designers can put all their creative energies into creating an interesting, effective design, but only you know what you want, so it’s ultimately up to you to communicate that.