Do you want you workplace to be more productive? Of course you do. Everyone does.
As part of some exciting plans we have to make design in the workplace amazingly simple, lately we’ve been talking to small business owners and designers about the design flow in their workplace. One of the most interesting pieces of feedback we received was from designers, who all agreed they were far too used to hearing this line:
“Give it to the designer, they’ll work their magic.”
Many people think designers just make things pretty. And yeah, we definitely do, but it’s more than picking cool fonts and nice colors. It’s also more than knowledge and talent — it’s starting with good information.
Knowing how the design flow works and what’s needed to make it go smoothly can save so much time and money and increase the quality of the final product tenfold.
That’s why we decided to break down these 12 bad habits can take care of that AND make your designer one happy camper.
Don’t forget to check out the infographic at the end of this post. Happy reading!
01. Changing copy after project is designed
First and foremost, you MUST have complete approved copy ready for layout and design. This is probably the most broken rule in the design process. Making a few edits in the next round is perfectly okay, but changing entire blocks or pages of copy after the design is complete is a no-no.
Almost everyone thinks that the new copy they supply is the same length — it never is. It’s without a doubt longer and that changes the layout is every way. Pages may have changed, photos don’t fit any longer nor do they correspond with the new copy.
Take the extra step to make sure everyone involved in the project has given their input, reviewed the copy and given their blessing.
02. Forgetting to factor in small tasks
Designing a project is one thing. All the other tasks that go along with it, are another and they’re usually forgotten. Meetings can add quite a bit of time to a project. Sourcing images adds a huge chunk of time especially if it’s a large project.
Finding the right images is an art in itself and this can’t be rushed. If it’s a print project, you need to figure in the time to get printing bids and select paper. And don’t forget the extra time it take to upload files to your website and social media sites.
Not only do they take extra project time to upload, but the files need to be formatted and saved in a variety of different formats for online purposes.
03. Setting multiple deadlines for a project
Designers are always working on multiple projects at once. Setting clear cut deadlines for a single project is a necessity to make sure it’s completed on time.
Changing deadlines can cause many other projects to be bumped, can interrupt creative thinking and can actually blow many deadlines. Think about what you really need, what’s involved in that and how long it will realistically take before you set deadlines.
04. Using ASAP for all deadlines or every project is a RUSH
Nothing kills creativity faster than the ASAP deadline or squeezing in that rush project that just has to be done today. Design requires research, inspiration and creativity at the very least. While adrenaline is sometimes an acceptable form of creativity, it is a horrible way to work and a great waste of time. Review projects and schedules ahead of committing to any new project.
05. Not supplying the designer with brand style guides
Not giving your designer your brand guidelines is the equivalent of hiring a painter to paint your house and not telling him what color you want or what room you’d like painted.
Designers need to know which fonts and colors they must use.They also need to know how the logo can and can’t be used. If they choose them on their own, submit them for approval and they’re incorrect, the design must be reworked.
Fonts vary a great deal so just changing the font can change the entire flow of a document.
06. Supplying bad or no photography
If your project is important to you and your business, then the quality of the project should be of value to you as well. Talented designers can take your copy and artwork and create inspiring works of art but they can only do so much with low-quality information.
Photography must be either taken professionally or stock photography must be bought. Photos taken with iPhones should not be used for projects such as annual reports or websites. Photographs tell a story and you want to make sure they’re portraying a great image of your business. First impressions are everything.
07. Not proofreading the copy
Type changes are always happen after final copy has been supplied and laid out in the design. It’s expected. Designers know it. What’s also expected is that the editor will have proofread the final file before it’s printed or uploaded.
Not much makes a designer’s hair stand on end faster than hearing someone say “we just got this back from the printer and Jack’s last name is spelled wrong.” Double check all names, addresses and call the phone numbers to accuracy.
08. Supplying unusable files
Yes, designers can work some magic but not miracles. We cannot change black and white photos to color or make a super small, low-resolution photo print quality.
Photos and logos pulled from websites are low-res and are most likely copywritten to the owner. They must be supplied as high-resolution (300 dpi or higher) EPS, JPG or PNG files. Do not drop them into a Word document as a solution. Keep in mind the old saying: garbage in, garbage out. If you aren’t sure files are usable, ask your designer to check before the project begins.
09. Not declaring a budget
Any project — large or small — must have some kind of budget and this should be relayed to your designer. Budget affects such things paper choices and stock photography. If your designer doesn’t know your budget, they’ll either under- or over-design your project when they assume what you can afford.
10. You’re not clear on how the project materials will function
Knowing you need an ad campaign is one part of the project but will you be using any of the images or files for the web, billboard or as posters. Or say you need illustrations created for this project. Will you use them in other formats? Once the ad campaign is over, will there be a phase two? Knowing this ahead of time, will confirm that you have images and files that can be used in a variety of formats.
11. Communicating too much or not enough
It’s tough to complete a design project if you aren’t getting enough information or enough feedback. Make sure you’re accessible to your designer so they can stay on deadline and make sure they’re hitting the target. On the flip side, communicating too much can confuse the designer, keep them from working on the project and wasting time. Be concise and put your comments or change in one email, at one time.
12. Not getting proper approvals
It’s great when a project is complete, the client is happy, files are saved and ready to go into your portfolio and your calendar is clear to jump into the next project. Then you get the call or email that a certain someone never saw the project and it wasn’t the direction he wanted to go in. It’s like a needle scratching a record. Starting off a project with a contact list is a great habit to get into.