How-to Communicate with a Graphic Designer for Top Notch Results

Hiring a graphic designer to help with your brand’s marketing needs can be a daunting task to someone who struggles with articulating creative concepts. You may have ideas swirling around in your head but find it difficult to deliver it in a way a designer can understand (and vice versa). Over the span of 15 years, I’ve learned that building a relationship with a client from day one and keeping the communication as precise as possible will result in both parties being happy with the results. Some preparation ahead of time will not only help the designer see your marketing needs more clearly, but it will also help with the bottom line.

Define the Project

Before the meeting, knowing what materials you’ll need is key. Are the pieces digital or in print? Is it a logo, a brochure or a website? Do you already have a brand established? Are you looking for a re-brand or a refresh? (Here’s how to know the difference.) In any case, bringing examples or documents that support your vision can help the designer bring forth a product you’ll love.

Fill Us In

At the first meeting, give an overview of what your company is about. Key messaging or a mission statement is also a helpful way to direct a designer’s understanding of the business. Be as specific as possible, including who your target audience is. Discuss some ideas about what the project is or a rough idea of what you would like it to be. Be open to a brainstorming session that will allow for creativity to flow. To avoid any confusion later, it’s a great idea to discuss all the logistics of the project from start to finish. This would include concepts, drafts, editing, deadlines and production.

Get the Ball Rolling

If you need inspiration, here are a few ideas that clients have brought to our meetings to open up the conversation:

  1. Pinterest board for inspiration
  2. Website pages you admire
  3. Key words or phrases of the look or feel you’re going for
  4. Paint swatches from a hardware store of color palettes you enjoy
  5. Sketches on paper/napkins
  6. Logos from other companies and why you like them
  7. Documents with your company’s messaging and mission
  8. Photos of your company’s office and environment

 

Next time you are meeting with a graphic designer, hopefully these tips and advice will open a creative portal that will make it an easier experience for you and the design team. For more on working with creatives, check out our write-up on 3 Tips for Working with Creatives.

 

To Rebrand or to Refresh?

That is the question. Now, let’s talk about the difference between the two.

A refreshed brand should remain a visual connection to the original brand, but dive deeper into the audience, voice, and products. The reason behind a refresh shouldn’t be to keep up with current design trends. It’s more than updating colors and shapes within a logo. It should elevate the brand, while holding true to that brand’s core identity and character. A refresh is appropriate when you want to retain the brand’s values, but open up opportunities to other aspects of business or outreach.

  • Google is great example of a brand refresh. In 2015, Google revamped their brand, giving it a modern look that spoke to its evolving audience. The 1999 serif font was old looking, disproportionate and something that no longer represented such a cutting edge and exciting brand. The Google logo has always been clean, friendly, and approachable. They wanted to retain those characteristics, by keeping the tilt in their “e” and multi-colored quirkiness. However, they needed to bring the mark into the 20th century. The new round, sans serif letterforms show movement and evolution, something that’s at the core of Google’s brand.

 

A rebrand is a more drastic change. It’s a halt in the current brand, a complete redesign of what the brand stands for and how it is represented. You will lose any brand equity and loyalty that you currently have, with the hopes of creating a better, stronger brand. A surprising factor to some, is that you can keep the logo, and still redefine the entire brand with messaging, imagery, and delivery. I will add that it requires a bigger budget and a longer timeline. It is the right decision though when your brand is no longer able to survive as it is.

  • Apple is an example of a successful rebrand that didn’t drastically modify its logo. In the early 1990’s Apple was suffering from low sales, low customer interest, and tons of competition. It didn’t stand out in the market place, because the brand itself didn’t stand for anything unique. When Steve Jobs took back over the company in 1997, he focused on a minimalistic and modern approach, and a series of marketing campaigns that focused on user experience instead of products or purchases. At the time, technology was typically a man’s interest and fashion was women’s. But he combined the two by creating beautiful and imaginative products, packaging, and advertising. Apple was able to create a diverse customer base and show the world that it was not just a computer company, but a product innovator.

 

 

So now you might be thinking, I need a rebrand or refresh too. You don’t have to be Google or Apple to make a large impact on your audience. Think broader about your brand and how it affects your public appearance, outreach, or profitability.

Here at MurphyEpson, helping clients think through this process and identify the best route to elevate their brand is our expertise. Contact us to start the conversation and bring your brand into the new year.