Getting the best out of a designer means working in partnership, being prepared to challenge your pre-conceptions and listening to the experts. Practice Plan’s Design Team Manager, Nick Powell shares his list of do’s and don’ts.
*Reviewed December 2018
Make sure you have clear objectives that you want the designer to achieve. Design is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Too many businesses use design in a vacuum – with no connection to the overall strategic plans for the business.
Keep up your side of the deal. The design process is a two way street, often relying on the client to provide key information, photographs, materials, etc.
Listen and trust the advice your designer gives. If your electrician gives you advice about how to wire your house, you tend to listen, however, because design has a subjective element to it, too many people start to believe that they are designers themselves and they know best. It’s a recipe for disaster!
Look upon design as an investment not a cost. If your objectives are clear, the designs you commission should cover their costs and deliver a return on your investment.
Measure the impact of design on your business. Having set clear objectives, it should be relatively easy to measure the success or otherwise of the designs you have implemented. It’s just a simple matter of gathering and measuring the data.
Don’t try to design by committee. The more people you ask for opinions, the more opinions you get, and the more muddied the water becomes. Limit the design development to a team of two or three people in the practice and let them make the decisions.
Don’t be too subjective. Remember, the design is for a purpose and whilst it is great if you like it, it isn’t always essential. Choosing design based purely on what you like can compromise its overall effectiveness. Remember we’re not decorating your living room we are creating strategic designs for your business.
Don’t mix designs. Some designers like to present a choice of designs to answer a particular brief and some clients have a habit of choosing a bit from one, mixing it with another and adding some elements of the third into the bargain. The results are not always pretty.
Don’t ask designers to do ‘free pitches’. Designers are professional people and are not in the game of producing creative work for free. If you want to choose between designers/agencies, ask them to come and present their credentials, i.e. take you through some of their previous work and also talk you through their approach to design and their pricing policy.