Client Relationships

How to Communicate with Designers (The Right Way)

Designers are a certain breed. They can either be the biggest asset to the creation of your digital product or feel so bogged down that they will lack any passion in becoming the cornerstone of what they have the potential to be.

Some designers I have talked to feel like no more than a puppet. Others feel like they own the entire project and the client has no say at all. Neither one of these approaches is the right way, and I'll tell you why: the success of a product has everything to do about what makes the product great, not the ego's involved in the process. It's getting down to the meat and potatoes of the work itself, and when both parties can agree on making it as great as possible, that's where the rubber meets the road.

So without ado, here are five tips to get the most out of your designer:

  1. Have them define a clear brand and design strategy from the very beginning. Get them to define the purpose (the why), craft the meaning and get it from their perspective so that they can be sure it aligns with the goals of the project as a whole.
  2. Ask them if the deadlines you've put together (if you have a hard deadline) are actually feasible. A designer will know if it is or not. If it's too short, you'll sacrifice quality for speed. If it's too long, a designer will be spinning their wheels and over-perfecting things for no good reason. Getting a good balance is essential.
  3. Discuss all design decisions (UX, UI and any branding) together as a process goes along. There shouldn't be a giant big reveal after weeks of waiting around, you both should be involved throughout the entire process.
  4. That said, make sure the designer has enough time and space to fail enough to come up with creative solutions. Yes, I said fail. Because failure breeds creativity. By putting pressure to have everything perfect the first time around, you'll be setting your product up for failure. Design is both a science and an art, it takes time to craft the right solution and often it may take one, two, three, heck even 100 tries until the right thing comes out.
  5. Give compliments where you feel they're doing a great job. Heck, this is a universal truth. Often times, design is an invisible and lonely field with little positive feedback. The people creating the products and will be overjoyed by the news. This will only propel them to work harder and make your product better. They are people, after all, so give them something to smile about once in a while!

Now it's your turn. What has it been like in your experience working with designers? Let me know three things you think could have been different had you started the process over now.