Graphic designers are some of my favorite people. I envy their ability make an idea visually interesting, desirable, and instantly readable. That skill set makes them invaluable to any good sales or marketing strategy. They can make pearls on a pig look good. ?
However, to the rest of us noobs, the design process may put us into a wilderness of unknowns, which can translate into (rather large) dollar signs ? if we can’t find a clear path through it.
The unending loop of revision
Perhaps you’ve heard the horror story of the website redesign that fell into an unending loop of revision?
A client approached a graphic designer with the design brief, “I need a website redesign. You’re the professional, I can tell by your rather large estimate. I expect something good.” So the graphic designer set to work and produced a beautiful rendering of a website home page.
When the client reviewed the first mockup, he said, “No, not what I had in mind.”
To which the graphic designer replied, “What did you have in mind?”
And the client responded with the dreaded, “I’ll know it when I see it.” The graphic designer hung his head, knowing that the fate of the website, and his, was sealed. He buckled in and prepared for the unending loop of revision. ?
Sure enough, the website mockup ping-ponged ? back and forth until both client and designer had had enough. The client finally accepted a sub-par mockup and swore off graphic designers forever.
There is a better way. And it boils down to knowledge and communication.
Here’s the secret.
Actually it’s five secrets.
If you give laser-like focus to each of these points before you meet with your graphic designer, not only will you skyrocket ? your chances to keep your design budget to a minimum, but you’ll also end up with a final product that you love ❤. And, glory be, avoid the unending loop of revisions.
Spend some time ⏱ (preferably a lot of time), combing through the internet and find the following:
- Websites you like and write out ✏ what you like about them. These don’t even have to be related to your business. Do you like the color choices? The layout? The fonts?
- Who are the leaders in your industry? Take note ? of their websites and make comments about what they do well and what you could do better.
- Who are your direct competitors? What are there websites like? Again, note ? what they do well and what you could do better. ?
- Keep in mind, in order for your business to have a strong online presence, your website will be tailored ? to your business and its needs. So, in your searching, you may come across a website you absolutely love, but know that yours must look exclusively like you. Your graphic designer can use the elements that speak to you in a new way so that you have strong branding and aesthetics (producing a website you love) without looking like anyone else.
Create a document ? and think through the core of who you are and what your business is. Then answer the following questions:
- What is your mission and vision? Be clear and refine until it’s specific and understandable. Your designer wants to represent you well, and if you are precise here, they will have a much easier time coming up with an accurate visual voice.
- What are your business goals ?? What is it you’re after? What have you been dreaming for your business, and how do you see your website helping you to achieve that dream? These questions are what give your website purpose ?. When you have these nailed down, your website becomes an asset instead of just another line item in your expenses column.
- Who are your ideal clients ?? While your business needs a website, the website is actually for your clients. So, in the end, it needs to reflect your clients’ needs and longings (and not really yours), so that your product or service will resonate with them. Demographics are helpful and any other specifics you can think of that would help your designer to create a relevant design.
- What is your branding? If you aren’t sure of this, communicate that with your graphic designer. If you already have a brand, share any past examples of your company’s branding as well as past advertisements, marketing material, and any branding guides you’ve got.
3. Mood board
Even if you’re not a design-oriented person, this can actually be quite a bit of fun. Create a folder ?, document, or Pinterest page of visual things that resonate with you and your business, and share it with your designer. You can include:
- Fun business cards
- Color schemes
- Cool logos
- Art or photography
- Layouts that work
4. Mock ups
If you’re feeling really adventurous, draw out some sketches ?. Even if it’s on a napkin or the back of one of your kid’s drawings, a quick idea of where you want things to go, or shapes you like, or a particular flow of your content, goes a very long way.
For A+ preparers, check out an organizational program like Content Snare. This program can help you organize the flow of your website and give you the tools you need to flesh out what pages you want to include and where.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Have I said communicate? ?
Your graphic designer is good, but he or she most likely can’t read minds ?. Tell them if you aren’t sure about something, or if you have a new idea, or want to go in a different direction. They want to create something that you’re happy with, so be willing and open to talk things through.
If you come this prepared to the first meeting with your graphic designer, don’t be surprised if they kiss ? your face. This information is pure gold for them, and, subsequently, for the success of your project and your bottom line.
At Control Yours, our graphic designers are really excited to make sure your graphic design experience is a good one. Plus, like I mentioned, they’re some really great people.
Whether you need a website redesign, a complete rebranding, or even a few print materials like fliers or banners, they are experts at nailing your visual voice.
Contact us to get started on your next project! ?