Archive | July 2012

3 steps to success when working with your graphic designer

1. Work backwards to plan for success

The best way to guarantee the success of your design project is to look to the end with your designer before you start. Ask yourself… What do you want to accomplish? What is the most important goal to reach? Who is your audience? What are the final uses for the files you will produce?

If you’re printing your design project, look to the printing process with your graphic designer. Who is going to print your project? Is there a specific size and type of press sheet (paper) that will allow for the look you want? Can you save money by making minor adjustments in your design to best suit the printing process? There are so many ways in which you can save time and money by practicing good planning before you even begin to design your piece.  An experienced graphic designer will be able to work with you to look at your project and plan to best fit your needs and budget.

2. Complete a design brief with your designer

One of the most effective ways, in my opinion, to successfully work backwards is to create a design brief.  In its simplest format, a design brief is a form you fill out with your designer.  Ideally, the brief will discuss any special requirements that effect your project at the outset. The brief will make clear any logo and color requirements and any important information that must be included in your marketing materials.

It will also help to confirm that you and your graphic designer are both “on the same page” in relation to your project and assist in managing expectations between you. If you to take the time to discuss all of the details on the brief form, you’ll leave feeling confident that both you and your designer are in sync and working towards the same goals.

3. Don’t be afraid to Talk about your budget

It’s of the utmost importance that your designer understands your budgetary needs at the beginning of your project.  Not only do you need to discuss budget with your designer in regards to paying for graphic design services, but your designer needs to be certain that she is not designing a piece for you that you cannot afford to produce once it’s complete.  Printing can be expensive, especially when not planned well.  A good designer will understand ways to look at your project in the big picture and see if there are any ways to save you money.  Is there a way to design your project to make your end production less expensive, but still give you the outcome you desire? Will your files work for all of the applications you’d like to use them for? It’s part of your designer’s job to look at these and other issues on your behalf.  You can assist your designer to be a partner in your success by taking the time to discuss your budget up front.

Please feel free to contact us for more information! We’d welcome the opportunity to hear your questions and feedback.


White Space is Your Friend

There’s a hidden design element that gets opposite reactions from different clients. Every design has it, and it’s often the thing you just can’t put your finger on that makes you like one design over another.

It’s white space, those areas of a design that are unencumbered with text or images. And just like the humble zero revolutionized math, negative space (since it’s not always white) can transform your designs.

As an easy comparison, check out the front pages of Yahoo! and Google. They’re both massive search engines, and Google now does almost everything possible on the web, but consider the contrast between the designs. Google feels minimalistic and sleek, while Yahoo! is busy at best. Yes, Yahoo! offers more information, but the use of white space was a conscious design choice by both companies.

For many small businesses, more white space is beneficial. It does more than just balance the layout of your marketing and brand collateral. More white space can help you get noticed and get more business.

There are several ways that white space is your friend.

First, it makes your content more readable and scannable.

It also gives you the ability to highlight and emphasize your most important features and selling points. 

Creative use of white space can help direct the eye in a certain direction or along a specific path.  You can use it to make a graphic or picture more prominent.

Perhaps more importantly, the use of white space tends to position your brand in the marketplace. Advertising standards have conditioned us to view brands that use more white space as high-end luxury brands, while brands that have less white space are for the broader market. For example, compare the websites of Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

If you want to position your brand in the high-end, luxury market, then more white space can help customers accept that brand image.

Take a look at your current marketing collateral and see if you could use more white space.

One more post on Pinterest…

This from my friend Ann at A.Point.Marketing. Worth one more mention.