11 Things Graphic Designers Wish You Knew....

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What do you mean?

I mean “this job will only take 10 minutes for an experienced designer, so my budget is $10”. That’s what I mean. (You see this frequently with online freelance sites)

Graphic design is everywhere. No business goes without it in one form or the other, yet designers are treated like an afterthought. Your design itself may only take 10 minutes (in very rare circumstances), but it doesn’t include opening a client file, creating the file structure, reviewing your brief, ensuring we have all the moving parts that we need to do the design right the first time. It doesn’t include living expenses, educational investment, equipment investment, time investment or business expenses.

Remember: if the design was so easy to begin with, you’d have done it yourself. You are paying for expertise and talent. 

Try to understand the logic and reason for the design/colors/typography that we are recommending which is based in solid theory & psychology. Different markets react differently to verbiage, color, layout and we know this, so if we design a piece for you for a particular market, we need you to at least listen long enough to understand why it was designed the way it was before you start asking for changes that make no sense from a design standpoint and that violates the theory behind that design.

How this became a common assumption is beyond me. There are some platforms that designers can create and manage, but invariably, a website needs a web developer to work out any bugs, crashes, or add customization. They are totally different careers and educational paths.

Your designer is not less of a designer because they don't "do websites".

Sending a file back and forth 10 times for 10 tiny changes is as annoying as a mosquito who won’t leave. Do not send 10 emails with 1 change included in each email. The time needed to open separate emails is better spent towards your design or your retainer will be eaten up quickly. Designers usually give 3 variations of the design, so be as thorough as possible the first time.

Many years ago, I had a client, who after her third revision meeting, tried sending me an addendum…then an addendum to the addendum. No joke. Don’t do it. See point #1.

See #1.

Plumbers, Locksmiths and other service industries charge a premium for urgent work. Designers are (or should be) no different. We often have to drop what we’re doing and totally change gears to meet your deadline. This means we often work later in order to finish up the work already on deadline before your urgent project. Respect that.

Designers are very detail oriented, so be as detailed as possible – “do whatever you do” doesn’t work. Our software and creative minds have unlimited potential. We need and crave parameters to work within – We will add our creativity within those parameters.

See #1.

Like your business prices, designer’s fees are based on educational costs, equipment costs, living expenses, business expenses plus general income to support them and their family. You don’t question the price at a restaurant, hair salon, or other places of business, so don’t question a designer's prices either.

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The longer you wait to get your revisions back to us, the farther down the stack your project goes. If you treat your project as a priority, we will too. If you treat it as an afterthought, don’t be mad if we do as well.

Do you know how much we studied how layout, color and more affects your client’s perception of your business?

Generally, the first layout we give to you is what we feel is aesthetically pleasing and will communicate best while following design best practices. I’ve seen some pretty awful revisions come through and despite advice (See #2), the client insists. Then they wonder why there is not much response to the ad….well…..see #1. That's when we sit back and shrug our shoulders. We told you so.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the words “Just pull a photo from Google!” STOP. RIGHT. THERE. NO.

Designers, the good and ethical ones anyway,  will respect copyright law. It is illegal to pull images without crediting the source. Also, the resolution on some images are cringe-worthy at best.  If you want world class photos, then be prepared to buy the rights to use them from iStock, Shutterstock or more. There are also sites like Pexel that have absolutely beautiful stock images for free. There are options. We know them and will point you to the right one to fit your budget.

Don’t say “similar”.

We hate wasted time on a design.

Provide us the original working files and we will make the changes you want. If you say “similar”, it will have similar elements but it will be a different design.

Similar does not equal Same. 

We don’t copy designs or ever try to make our pieces look exactly like another designers piece. That’s just wrong and being asked to do so is insulting and as chafing as wet jeans on a long walk.

However, if you own the source files (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premier) and want minor changes, JUST SAY SO. Otherwise, spending hours on a “similar” design, just to be told that you wanted it exactly like the sample, but with a color or verbiage change, is worse than pouring salt in your eyes.

Special thanks to Ernest Richmann IV of E4Design Studio, a Cleveland, OH based studio for his input. Be sure to visit his website at: www.e4designstudio.com. He wishes you to know that his site sucks because he doesn't "DO" websites. 

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