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3 Steps to Successfully Working with Designers

We all get caught up in the excitement that comes after you decide to have a new marketing piece designed for your company, product or service, or campaign. It’s so easy to get swept away envisioning the impact it will have on the intended audience. However, the jubilation often deflates when we jump into the process of finding, hiring, and managing a designer or design team.

Let’s face it—corralling their creativity into a concept that meets your needs is difficult and can be overwhelming. On the one hand, you want to give them free reign to be able to turn those creative juices into something powerful. On the other hand, you’re not creating an art piece to win awards, but turning a marketing concept into something that speaks to your audience and increases sales.

So what is the best way to take on this process without losing your mind, wasting your money, and driving your designer away? Consider these three tips to help you stay on track:

Take your time to find the right designer. Just like there are a lot of fish in the sea, there are a lot of designers out there. You want to make sure you take the time to really evaluate whether this is the right designer for you, and not just make your selection because you like what they’ve done. Some important questions to ask:

  • Have they worked on projects similar to your current needs?
  • Do they have good references? While reviewing past work is a very important consideration, be sure you also spend some time talking to their clients to find out about their design process, working styles, and the results of the project.
  • Have you liked the people you’ve met so far? It seems obvious, but you’re getting ready to embark on a pretty intense process and you want to make sure you can get along and communicate effectively with this person/team.

Write a creative brief. A creative brief is the most effective way to get everyone (both your organization and the design team) started with a common understanding of what needs to be accomplished. An effective creative brief gives the designer direction and provides your team with established benchmarks to measure concepts against. Spending the time to complete a well-outlined creative brief will save you a lot of time up front. We recommend that each brief:

  • Identify a clear statement of objectives with priorities
  • Tie these objectives to your company positioning
  • Indicate how you will measure the achievement of goals
  • Define, characterize and prioritize your audiences
  • Outline budgets and time frames with specific details on scope and schedule
  • Explain the internal review and approval process
  • Set forth any procedural requirements that might hold up the process down the road

Don’t be afraid to lead. It can be a bit overwhelming to say you’re going to “lead designers.” As we’ve said, it’s a double-edged sword of setting them free while keeping them focused. However, you’ll both benefit if you lead the project while the designer designs and manages the design process. With that, it’s important that you’re available when the design team needs you—for feedback, clarification, or to make decisions in a timely manner. You’ll be happiest with the design process AND the end product if you:

  • Identify and articulate your objectives
  • Establish the process early
  • Ensure the design team has access to what it needs from you
  • Define a detailed budget and schedule to measure progress
  • Lead the process from beginning to end

By making sure you’re following the steps above, you’ll ensure that you AND the design team work together to create a piece that makes an impact. After all, this is supposed to be a fun process!


This article is brought to you by Go-To-Market Strategies, a resource center for sales and marketing professionals and business leaders. www.gtms-inc.com contains practical, real-world articles, templates, and tools to mentor and support the experienced and inexperienced alike. Integrate the magic of marketing with science of sales!

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