You've got a design emergency. Your branding needs some work. You need a new logo. You need a Graphic Artist.
Look, we know Graphic Artists are moody. I can say that because I am one. We blame it on being creative minds. We blame it on the stress of having to come up with ideas at the drop of a hat. But if you need to work with one of us, there are definitely some ways to get the most out of your Graphic Artist. And some ways to not.
The Good Bad Good Sandwich
Sometimes you need to employ the same techniques as you use on your five-year-old. Don't just start in with the "I don't likes" and "this doesn't works" without listing some positives first. It sets the tone and makes the GA feel like you're not just tearing down their work, but helping them improve it.
It also serves a more practical function: It helps guide your Graphic Artist in the right direction. You've hired your Graphic Artist to do great design work. If you tell them what you like instead of just focusing on the revisions it will help lead to creative solutions that incorporate more of the aspects you like.
Avoid Closed Statements
"This font is wrong," may feel like a constructive criticism to you. But to a creative mind you're closing the door. Try something more along the lines of, "The font doesn't feel fun enough for a children's product." Again, you're trying to get the creative juices flowing. You're not trying to dictate what to do.
Do Your Homework
When a client said to me, "I'll know what I want when I see it." I used to go running for the hills. Now I give them a creative brief to fill out. Chances are you know more than you're either willing to admit or realize you know. Doing your homework will help you understand what you're looking for and will help you point your Graphic Artist in the right direction. If you're looking for a stark, modern type treatment and you get a swirly script design, no one's going to be happy.
And if you truly don't know if you want modern or swirly then hire us to do some branding workshops with you. You need to know that before you proceed.
Never Corner a Graphic Artist
If you corner a GA, you're going to get a bite. (Hopefully not literally, but some of us can get really passionate about our designs.) The non-biters are going to lash out by shutting down. Again, we're looking for direction, not specific solutions. Don't say to use a specific font, explain the type of font you think might work.
Having been cornered and responded in a like manner in the beginning of my career, I've learned how to escape a corner. I do exactly what the client tells me to do and then I do another version to show them my solution. Call it passive aggressive, but it's better than biting a client and losing the gig.
Never. NEVER. NEV-ER Alter a Designer's File
It's great that you have Illustrator. You may even have a great design eye. But it's not your role to fix a file, it's your role to encourage the creative progress. Altering a file is equal to breaking all of the rules above...and then insulting your designer's mother to boot. Just don't do it.
Hopefully if you've gotten this far into this blog you've realized that I'm making fun of myself. But I'm also trying to help facilitate a better understanding of where your GA is coming from. My best work is done when I'm collaborating with my client. It doesn't work to just do it my way. It doesn't work to just do it yours. But together we can knock it out of the park, guaranteed.
- Brandt Hoekenga