How to Work With a Graphic Designer

How to Work With a Graphic Designer
2
Feb

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How to work with a graphic designer is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make when starting or refreshing your online presence. There are many options for design. Many of the factors include cost, speed, DIY vs. outsourcing, and the expertise and quality of a designer.

For Ovation Social I took those factors into account and made several decisions about my grahic design images. For the blog posts, I need quick and simple images since I post articles like this one 2-3 times per week. It makes sense for me to do my own design. I use royalty free images from sites like Pixabay, then I resize them and make other edits using PicMonkey, and add text and other design elements with Canva.  It’s simple, quick, and easy.

 

The Standing O Show podcast cover artwork logoFor The Standing O Show cover art, I decided to outsource the design, but I determined that I didn’t need to spend too much. Although the image is part of my branding, it is used primarily as a small icon image on iTunes and as part of my banner for the site. I wanted a good designer, but I didn’t feel that I needed to spend a lot. I’m happy with the design. It cost about $130. It uses my color scheme and 48HoursLogo did a great job of creating a design that pops on the iTunes page.

 

Now, for my Ovation Social and Standing O Show logos I wanted to make an investment. These logos are part of my brand, and they will be a permanent part of my brand for years to come. As you’ll notice, these two logos are in the same family (colors, circle or O, font, and lowercase letters) , but they have their own identity. They are siblings, but not twins.

To me, it was important to hire a high quality, professional designer who would patiently and expertly provide me with great logos. After researching many designers, I chose to hire Chris Mascarelli at MASC Designs. Knowing how to work with a graphic designer helped me get exactly what I wanted. The designs were not inexpensive, but they were definitely worth it in terms of patience, time, free-flowing communication, creativity, and professionalism.

I’ll take you through my steps in how to work with a graphic designer for the Ovation Social and Standing O Show logos.

Know What You Want

Take some time to figure out what design pieces you want and how you want to get them created. Do you need a logo? What about social media banners and cover images? Do you need your website designed? Knowing what you want is the 1st step, and it will save you time and money if you don’t need to come back and design images or graphics you forgot about.

For Ovation Social and The Standing O Show I determined that I needed logos and social media covers designed by a professional designer. All the other images on my list could use faster, inexpensive options.

Be Specific

This is the fun part, but it’s also frustrating at times to get specific. Remember you’ve been thinking about your design ideas for days or even months. Your graphic designer is most likely hearing about your ideas for the first time after you hire him or her. Helping your designer understand the goals, purpose, and mood of your brand will help you save time and make the collaboration more enjoyable.

During my first conversations with MASC Designs, I told Chris the following things.

Business purpose – I explained that Ovation Social was the main business and website and that The Standing O Show was an extension of Ovation Social. Together both would work to improve the mindset and marketing of people who wanted to enhance their business or personal brand. I shared my tag: “Take your brand center stage where you can grow, steal the show, and get the Standing O you deserve”.

Mood and Style – I shared that I wanted the logos to feel like. This is the opportunity to express the personality of your brand. For both, I used words like upbeat, positive, happy, modern, clean, casual, applause, and cheers.

It’s also helpful to sometimes mention what it’s not. In my case, they would not be formal, heavy, cluttered. I was also careful to say that I did not want to use clichés in the style of the logos: no hands clapping, no crowd applause, and no business graphs with arrows.

Colors –  This is an important consideration. Going with purple just because it’s your favorite color may not cut it when it comes to impactful branding and design. I suggest that you check out information about the psychology of color.

Ovation Social is about mindset and marketing, so I knew I wanted two colors. I also knew that they should be warm and cool and complementary. After a lot of thought I went with Blue to represent the coolness of a confident, positive mindset and with Orange to represent the friendliness, warmth and heat of on-fire marketing.

 

blue orange parrot ovation socialI sent Chris a picture of the blue and orange colors that I liked along with the colors on a hex card image.

blue orange color palette ovation socialA good graphic designer will elicit these comments with good questions, so it’s important that you have thought about it prior to the initial consultation.

Research Your Graphic Designer

It’s important that you look at graphic designer options that fit your style now that you know what you want.

Check out the portfolio. Do you like the designer’s talent and style?

Reach out to the designer and ask for a consultation so that you can see if the communication styles match. It’s so important that your designer “gets” you, and can translate what you say into images.

Don’t Expect Perfection. It’s a Process

It’s rare that you’ll receive a design that you’re crazy about during the 1st drafts.  Your designer is testing concepts based on what you stated you want. Your responses to these concepts will give your designer so much information to confirm that everyone is on the same page.

From among many concepts, here are two of the first drafts of the Ovation Social logo:

 

Ovation Social first draft logosBe nice. Be patient. Let your designer know which designs are definitely out and which ones feel right and have promise, but need revisions.

Give Detailed Feedback

Once you have the initial draft images, then the magic happens. Your detailed feedback about what’s working will help eliminate some ideas and give valuable direction for the designs that excite you.  If you don’t see a design that feels good, although not perfect, then it’s time for more conversation about mood, colors, style and purpose.

My feedback to my graphic designer was that they were close, but neither was quite right for me. I liked the top design, but I didn’t feel that the lettering was casual enough. In the 2nd design, I liked the font and lettering, but I didn’t like the graphic image. Chris took my notes and showed me what the top image could look with with the 2nd logo’s lettering. That combination became the Ovation Social logo!

OvationSocial_Logo_4C_smallYou don’t want to control the design or tell the designer to do it exactly your way, but you do want to provide detailed feedback to keep the communication channel open.

As you can see, these logos went through quite the process of creation and revision. I couldn’t be happier. Knowing how to work with a graphic designer made it all possible.

 


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