How To: Working With A Graphic Designer

Since I announced my new blog design on Monday, I've been receiving a lot of questions and comments from people wanting to work with graphic designers. In the (almost) two years that I've been blogging I've designed my own blog by customizing premade templates (Raise your hand if you remember the logo with the scattered topsiders!) and worked with two different graphic designers. So, even though I don't know everything there is to know about it, I feel like I definitely know enough to shed some light on the process and what you can do to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

Listen to me because most of what I am about to tell you are things I learned from making the mistake the first time... I'm just trying to help here.



Get A Vision: One of the things graphic designers hate the most are people with no vision and absolutely no direction. Obviously, every designer enjoys some creative freedom, but if you have no idea what you want, it makes it almost impossible for them to make you happy. They're not mind readers... My advice to you is to pick two or three colors you really like and don't think you will grow out of. There hasn't been a single day in my life that I haven't loved pink, so I knew I needed to incorporate it into the design somehow, but I also knew if everything was pink I'd get overwhelmed really quickly. That's where the navy came in. It's important to have colors that balance each other out. Then research other blogs/websites and look at their designs to see what you do and don't like about them. You never want to copy someone else's design, but it's okay to use other blogs as sources of inspiration!

Research Designers: The first time I worked with a graphic designer I used the first one I found. Don't get me wrong. I loved working with Kory and she was the perfect designer for me at the time,  but if I could do it over again, I think I would have A) waited until my blog grew a bit more and I could be sure of the direction it was headed and B) researched other designers. Lot's of different designers have different "signature looks," which I wasn't aware of before. When looking for a designer it is always a good idea to look at their portfolios of previous work and compare pricing.

Be Patient: The graphic design process can be a long one, especially since it is primarily done via email. The steps in the design process usually go like this: fill out questionnaire, make Pinterest board of ideas, receive mood/inspiration board from designer for approval, receive proof(s). Each of these steps is extremely vital to the design process so you and your designer can make sure you are on the same page about what exactly you want. (This goes with the whole "get a vision" thing.)

Be Specific: The fun begins when you get the first proof.  Most designers have a proof maximum built into their contract and then allow you to pay extra to go above the maximum. For both of my designers the maximum was three and since I obviously didn't want to pay extra if I didn't have to, I made sure to be extremely specific when I gave comments back. Instead of just saying what you don't like, say why you don't like it and what you would rather have instead. Giving an idea of what you want instead is they key thing. This really helps the designers make you happy on the first or second try instead of the third, fourth, or even fifth. I can't tell you how many times I apologized to Kelly for being "too picky," but each time she told me that the more picky and specific I am, the better it is for her!

I hope this helped clear up the design process for some of you guys! I know it didn't really answer everything, but it's better then nothing, right? If you have more/other questions (or just feel like chatting) you can always email me (sammy@preptista.com) and I will answer as soon as I can!

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