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A little bit of printing help - Getting the most out of your Graphic Designer

30th August 2012

A large proportion of the design work that we get across our desk has been created by, or at least tweaked by a graphic designer. If you are considering taking one on then it is crucial to understand exactly what is expected of you as a client. The following article will explain how to go about constructing a design brief that will ensure you get the absolute most out of your design budget.



What is a Design Brief?


A design brief is a document from a client to a graphic designer that fundamentally states everything you expect from the finished product. They are of key importance in the world of graphic design as it acts as the first and last word in what you as a customer expect from your proposal. It also goes a long way to showing the designer exactly which points are key to you and your business/event.


The engagement of a graphic designer can be a huge benefit to any marketing campaign. However, you do really need to get the design brief right. Below are some key points that you will need to focus on in order to make sure you get what you’re after. Follow these points closely as it will pay dividends down the line. Loose design briefs can cost a lot of money if your designer is charging by the hour. Make sure you cut out the waste that constant back-and-forth conversations can cause.


Design brief Structure:


A design brief is split into three main components that you definitely need to furnish with all the detail you can. They are:


 1.    Details about you as a business, organization or individual


So who are you? Sounds silly but its very important. By letting your designer know exactly who you are, you can achieve much closer brand fitting design work. This extends to all manner of points:

-            Which industry are you in?

-            Who are you target audiences?

-            What is your product?

-            Are you a major player in you industry?

-            Who are your competitors?

-            Which area do you serve?

-            Which companies do you aspire to be like?

-            Which brands do you admire?


All of these aspects can help the designer get a better understanding of you and your brand. Any designer worth his salt will use this information to do his or her own market research. Its clear to see that information like this will have you both reading off the same page. It really does come down to you being able to convey a feeling of what your company is or what you want your company to be.


 2.    The specific project the resultant design work will be used for


No matter if you are building a brand from scratch (if so, have a look at this helpful article on developing your brand) or if you are taking on a designer to help push out a campaign for a new product you are launching, you need to let him or her know exactly what you are doing and what you require for it. Fundamentally, you are describing his or her deliverables, but also explaining what you are going to do with them once they are done. Will this be printed? Will it be put on your website? Flown behind a plane? You need to let the designer know because these details are important. For example if it is to be printed then the designer might need to put bleeds and crop marks on the work. If its to be uploaded onto a website then the design might need to be saved in different ‘layers’. If it’s to be flown behind a plane then he might need to know the color of the plane in advance. Beyond this, its very important to supply your designer with actual content- photos, images, contact details, text, timings etc. These are the elements that will be slotted into the overall design so it is crucial that ALL details are there from the off.


 3.    Your constraints (time, money and your own involvement)


Time and money. It always comes down to time and money. What is your budget here? Make sure you clearly lay out the terms of your arrangement before setting-off. You should be looking to pay the designer on a job price basis. This essentially means that you pay once the job is just as you want it. The alternative would be to pay on an hourly basis. This is very important because should a job overrun you could be hit with a big unexpected invoice or a half done piece of work. When paying an agreed price, the onus is on the designer to give you the price. If he sells himself short then that is his/her problem!



The main point to take away from this article is that designers are there for a reason - they are creating something that you are not easily able to do yourself. Therefore you need to make sure he or she has every shred of information, no matter how irrelevant it seems. Try and make the designer you. So get everything you can down in a solid and well-presented design brief- the time spent will be repaid with dividends!











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