What to look for in a graphic designer?
Graphic Design is about empathy.
Graphic design Its not personal for the Graphic Designer … but it is exceedingly personal for our clients and in turn the clients of our clients.
The process of Graphic Design of any kind always starts with a conversation and the gathering of information.
The taking of information accurately and in some detail is very crucial for getting the Graphic Design right at the earliest time.
A detailed brief is rare but does happen… so mostly you have to coax the information you need from the client as best you can.
It requires the client express himself clearly and honestly, giving information, describing likes and dislikes, colours they may prefer, the style of the business and its nature, the final requirements of what the graphics need to do, and the type of client that my client is hoping to reach.
All the information collected will go a long way to providing enough information to reach the type of preferable colours, fonts, images and illustrations and the style of layout required. Although there is no one way to do anything there are genres of graphic design here one approach may well be more suitable than another.
I have noticed on designing logos for instance … the first logo offered based entirely on fulfilling the brief is often eventually accepted… even after what might be a journey of lengthy comparative logos that may not quite have all the ingredients in the right place and although those different ideas may have been worth visiting… usually to put the client mind at rest … when it is found they don’t reach the full criteria of appealing in the right way to the right audience they may well be discarded and the client often comes back to the first one.
Also no two graphic solutions should be the same because of the uniqueness of each client and there needs which often implies that the graphic style adopted is by its on nature vary entirely from one to another.
I am often asked what is the procedure for working on graphics and how much does it cost?
My answer is usually … let’s have a free consultation first… work out your requirements and the type of journey you are likely to take and guestimate a cost based on what is discovered.
One persons procedure may vary widely from another.
For example to work out a rough idea of time to produce flyer or brochure can be reasonably estimated… based on time to do a logical layout from type and illustrations provided or found.
A logo may just have to be a journey that arrives at a destination that has to be worked out by the hour going through the various twists and turns of imagination, creativity and style to get to the final version.
Each journey is unique… just as each result is unique and although there is a process… each person’s process may differ based on their needs and the individual approach adopted.
Some clients for instance have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and the work involved but another client might have no idea and every part of the job brings up another issue that needs to be solved requiring further attention and help provided in a painstaking and meticulous process.
There is no one right way.
Do colours have meanings and do I have to avoid colours I may prefer?
Colours often do imply things. Red is often seen as an intense colour bringing with it an alarm. So the colour red is often used to present danger, a warning or a the flash of a special deal within Graphic Design
Blue is somewhat of a calming and technical colour used a lot by business that need to show organisation and clear but calm solutions.
A warm yellow can be seen as a kind or gentle colour.
Whether or not you have to avoid colours that you prefer… this is a different question altogether. My advice on this is … treat each individual project on its own merits and make colour decisions carefully.
How do I choose a graphic designer?
A very good question because everyone of us is so different.
What makes a good Graphic Designer?
A good graphic designer should be:
1. A good communicator and manipulator (sounds bad but its not)
2. A good listener and someone who can empathise with you (put themselves in your place)
3. Logical in order to compile and assess criteria for the design and use them properly
4. Sensitive and collaborative (you need to be able to be direct and honest with him or her)
5. Creative (usually implies experience having seen plenty of options – more is good)
6. Experienced and Friendly
7. Someone available to talk too not necessarily on the end of a phone
8. Perhaps someone who will let you into their studio and work with them
I know what I want but I cant vocalise it (its in my head)?
This is so common for a Graphic Designer. You know what you want but you need someone to get it out of you.
The simple solution is to just say as much as you can and then let your Graphic Designer try to fill in the blanks using examples or showing you alternatives. Talking helps a lot.
Is there such a thing as Premium Graphic Design (should I be paying more for something better)?
The simple answer is NO.
Where you will pay more is when the solution requires a special colour, a spot varnish or embroidery van graphics wraps this kind of thing. If you feel a cheaper option would be preferable then ask for an alternative idea. Silver and Gold as a colour does not have to be reflective. An embossing effect may be possible just by adding a drop shadow rather than actually making it 3 dimensional.
All Graphic Designers should be able to take you to the right place without additional costs because they are better or worse.
As a rule of thumb if you feel positive when you talk with the Graphic Designer about there skill, integrity and honesty, and experience then you are probably talking to the right person.
If they seem confused and not knowledgable then you may find yourelf in the wrong place.
Can my Graphic Designer do everything I want well?
The best thing to do is ask him. If he feels confident he will tell you. If he doesn’t he should be honest. No one should deliberately conceal their weaknesses.
Is my Graphic Designer a printer as well?
No. Your Graphic Designer can produce artwork for printing but usually if he is organising print he is making something on the side and going through a third party. This can be a good thing though as he is then responsible for the quality of the work and his source needs to be very good.
When I organise any printing for clients, I deal with a trade printer (printer who prints for other printers) that my client doesn’t have access to who includes in his cost a mark-down price for me so my client doesn’t pay more but gets the quality and the guarantee of a the best quality print job or it gets done again.
Sometimes a Graphic Designer will ask you to take charge of the printing yourself because he or she may not know a good enough printer for the product you are requiring. This can be irritating for a client and often they may choose to go to a Graphic Designer who is able to source good quality printing.
What is Artwork?
Artwork is usually a digital file that has information for colour separations and includes bleed (extra print around the edges) and Trim Marks that show the printer where the crop for the job is. It is usually same sized at 300dpi (dots per inch).
Do I choose a Mobile Website that can resize on different platforms or a Static Web Site that doesn’t resize?
Google loves mobile sites and can sense whether someone is using a mobile or a computer.
Mobile sites are clever but may lack the layout options of a static site. So really you need to ask yourself which you prefer… A site that is comfortable on a mobile or a tablet … or a site that you would prefer only really be seen on a Computer Screen.
The static site will actually cost you more as mobile sites are often put together using an application rather than and html builder.
What qualifications are required to be a Graphic Designer?
I would recommend you ask your Graphic designer for minimum a Regional Diploma or Batchelor of Graphic Design.
I actually hold a Regional Diploma of Graphic Design from Southampton College of Higher Education (2 years) and a National Diploma of Graphic Design for Print Production (3 years) from the same college.
Any web design or even Computer Design experience has been gained since leaving college in 1985. The best form of qualification for any one is years of experience.