Whether you’re working with an in-house team of creatives or your outsourcing graphic design, working with a different team can present it’s own challenges. In particular, the relationship between marketing and the creative team supporting them is one that needs to be as smooth as possible in order to grow your business successfully. So, how can you make sure that communication between the marketing team and graphic designers is as best as it can be? As a graphic design agency ourselves, we’ve got some tips to help make working with your graphic designer as easy as possible.
The first thing the marketing team and creative team will need to collaborate on is the brand guidelines, which will help govern the rest of the design projects you start on. The brand guidelines act as a foundation on which the visual identity of the brand is built on, outlining really important basic design rules for the brand that helps contribute towards a clean, consistent look. Your brand guidelines can include as much or as little detail as you want, but as a rule of thumb it should cover topics like fonts, font pairings, brand colours, logo variations for different size constraints, imagery styles and tone of voice.
The brand guidelines are the basis of great communication between marketing and creative teams, and they are what your team will refer back to time and time again. Spending time to get your brand guidelines right is absolutely necessary to encourage the most efficient communication possible.
The next step to achieving smooth communication between marketing and the graphic design team is for everyone to be on the same page when it comes to the objective of a project. This is a topic it’ll be good to cover in your kick-off meeting, because knowing the objective will help the team to make more informed decisions when it comes to the brief.
Your design project will likely have one main objective, for example to educate your audience or to build awareness. A rebrand might have a particular message it needs to convey (think Burger King’s move towards a more organic feeling brand to move away from the nastier fast food connotations), and both the marketing team as well as the creative team need to know what that objective is. Your marketers will write better content and plan smarter strategies when they know that, and your designers will make better design choices to guide a customer to a specific action or to highlight a message.
Deadlines are something that need a little bit of planning because it’s important to make sure that they are achievable. When setting a deadline, it’s a good idea to communicate with a graphic designer to get a true understanding of the complexity of that job and how long it will realistically take to complete. Remember that it’s best to factor in a margin of additional time for any revisions that might need to be completed!
When you’ve got the deadline you’re working to, you can go ahead and set smaller milestones that will need to be met. This is more applicable for larger design projects, like web design or rebrands, where you will need to complete multiple smaller graphic design requests under the umbrella of one larger project. Setting milestones will help you to identify any delays in the design workflow however, and flag up issues that could cause a missed deadline much sooner.
The next step to achieving efficient communication between marketing and creative teams is understanding how to nail a design brief. The design brief is really the most crucial part of the project, because it’s there that you’ll be able to create the best reference possible for the graphic designers to work from. It’s where you can go into as much detail as you like explaining exactly the design vision you have, and getting the design brief right means you can skip on revisions later.
So, how do you write a design brief? For the purpose of this article, we’ll talk briefly on a step-by-step to writing your first design brief. You can also read this article for more details on writing a design brief.
Your design brief should include the following details as a basis:
From there, you can go on to add as many additional details as you feel is necessary to fully explain your design ideas to the graphic designer. As a starting point, including those basic details in your design brief will improve the speed at which a graphic designer can get to work on a project.
Revisions of a design can sometimes get a bit frustrating, but there’s some ways you can help make the process faster and smoother for both teams! First of all, make sure to highlight the area of a design that isn’t working and then give a clear reason or instruction for change. As a pro tip, use a free tool like Loom to actually speak through a design in real-time and show your designer exactly what needs changing regardless of whether you are outsourcing graphic design. When you request the change, let the designer know in as much detail what the revision is and the reason you feel like it’s necessary, so the designer can anticipate and feedback whether it might be best to edit any other elements in the design to further that vision.
Of course, graphic designers can also help with the revision process by being as clear as possible about the design choices made and the edits completed. With a Design Cloud plan, you’ll communicate with your designer via the platform (or Slack with the PRO plan) and be able to ask for as many revisions as needed at no extra cost.