For you and your associates – It is essential to know how to brief your Designer and get what you all want from your Design Brief.
When briefing your chosen Graphic Designer at the preliminary stage of any creative work you must be clear and concise with your information. Delivering a good concise and informative brief is essential to create an understanding between yourself and your supplier. This will develop a good working relationship and will produce the required results.
At this early stage when you brief your designer it is a good idea to discuss your ideas and ask for suggestions as the Designer will be able to offer suggestions and ideas that may be more cost effective or productive than you imagine. At the end of the day the reason you are engaging the Designer is to do something you can’t. They have the experience and expertise that you require.
If the Designer does not understand the brief or you are unable to communicate exactly what is wanted serious problems will occur. Time and money will be wasted and tempers may rise on both sides.
You have prepared a brief with all the information that could be required for the job in hand. The more relevant information imparted the easier the task for the Designer to unravel the necessary requirements. What you want to achieve, your objectives, the target audience, features, benefits, where and how it will be used….contact information, product specifications, prices… branding specifications, legislation and legal requirements etc etc…
This is all normal information that is needed and a good in-depth discussion with a one to one meeting or several can thrash it out with good communication.
Working together as a team can be more tricky! You have another persons ideas and opinions to deal with and you may not get your way but have to agree to disagree or negotiate to get your ideas across. It has its advantages in creating a broader more diverse range of ideas and creativity can fly! However this can be plagued with the disadvantages that differences of opinion can cause.
Even before agreeing on the final result determining a brief for the actual project can cause major delays. Everyone has their own ideas on how it should look and what it should say… Problems lie in agreeing on what is actually required, how it will work or be implemented as well as the basic size shape colour of the final format, what ever that may be.
Deciphering other peoples ideas and creating an end result is a Designers job but when two or more people are the client the job becomes more difficult. Two people can describe in words exactly what they want from the ideas that they have in their minds, but in reality the results can be translated in very different ways. When the resulting images are displayed in front of them it can be entirely different from the expected result.
A team of people can cause even more disharmony and trouble for a designer if not organised and in agreement. More time can be spent debating the requirements and arguing over preconceived ideas than the actual job takes. Without psychic communication the prospect is impossible.
If you are working in a team try this experiment –
Ask each person to cut out a blue square sample of paper from a selection of magazines, make sure there is a selection and not give the opportunity to copy each other. To make it more interesting ask them for a further red sample or orange etc… (any colours will do). Also ask them to find an image which describes an emotion or even an object then compare – this should demonstrate the diversity of peoples perceptions choices and illustrate a little more how their minds work and associations.
Here are a few guidelines for setting out good working practice when working together with more than one person…
- Create a briefing document… Carefully consider and discuss all comments and suggestions. Decide and outline requirements & objectives, the target market, the right messages and personality you wish to create etc.
- Make sure your team agree and they are happy with the document first and that they are in agreement that it is an accurate interpretation of their requirements.
- Supply examples of images you all like and agree on and images that are not suitable.
- Be aware that words describing what you want the project to look like as in stylish, classy, professional, fashionable, mean different things to different people, your designer included.
- Arrange a meeting with all decision makers and people of the team who will be involved, meet the Designer and introduce all the relevant people who they will come into contact and what their role is. This is possible on google hangouts or skype and essential for everyone to meet and agree on how they wish to proceed. Any differences of opinion can be discussed and solved at this stage.
- A good Designer will listen and offer input, ideas and suggestions giving professional advice on areas you may not be sure of.
- Many internal issues should be solved before involving a Designer but this can still be scuppered along the way if a higher authority has not been totally consulted or is in agreement.
- It is no good working as a team when no one has the authority for the final decision. All your hard work will be wasted unless the decision maker is part of your team and constantly involved.
- At each stage document the meetings. Any changes requested, any change of specifications. Document all agreements and disagreements.
- Full meeting notes may be crucial to remind the team and the Designer of the discussions that have taken place.
- At each stage of the Design Brief make sure it is approved before more work is done or any new costs are agreed.
- Do not let the office junior relay a message without clarification without the right person being involved.
- Time and money is being spent, you need to take this seriously, out line your costs and time expectations.
- Keep track of any extras you have been informed about and any changes in format or materials.
- Create a production schedule for each stage of the project. Everyone will know what is expected and if there are any hold ups or problems the delays will be relayed not brushed under the carpet with fingers crossed.
- Make sure all deadlines are clearly stated and what is required at what time and where. If you haven’t had the required or needed response in time to make the deadline make sure you have given enough warning and explained the ramifications of the delays including possible extra costs or penalties that may be applied.
Most disastrous scenarios can be avoided with good communication and clear understanding all the way through the project.
Discuss the proposed brief with the whole team, avoid bringing in another person part way through the project. Make sure everyone understands the goals to be achieved.
Ensure that all time scales are understood and agreed by the whole team and set and agree deadlines. Agree a production schedule, discuss to ensure it is workable and continually involve and notify everyone of developments.
Arrange for one person or designated people to be responsible for continuity of contact – not the whole team as misunderstandings and different messages will get communicated and cause confusion.
Each step of the project should be approved by all decision makers.
Even on a set fee the Designer will only agree to a certain amount of changes and alterations before they either lose their marbles or additional charges will be implemented. If you want to see variations on a theme ask for it at the same time not one after another.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone – one call can save time and money to run through several changes or discuss a problem.
Communicating by email can cause misunderstanding and irritation, a slightly sharply worded email can start an avalanche of bad feeling. If all parties feel they are being kept informed and involved with any developments the working relationships will tick along smoothly.
Communication is essential and it is often only when problems occur that your professionalism will really show as to how those problems are rectified and resolved.