How Are the Holidays Like Your Design Project?

November 18, 2013 amywaggs No comments

“OHMYGOSH WE HAVE TO GET THIS RIGHT NOW!”

Sound familiar?

Young woman wearing Santa's hat is screaming.

 

Doesn’t it seem like every year the Holidays appear out of nowhere, yet they are the same dates on the calendar each time, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Yet every year … it is. Do you find yourself rushing to the stores to get some of your shopping done and you don’t have a list? Who on earth do you have to get presents for? Who are you forgetting? It can be maddening!

Does this scenario relate to your design projects? Maybe a boss or a manager rushes into your office and says “OHMYGOSH WE NEED TO GET THIS DONE YESTERDAY!” Then all of a sudden you’re tasked with getting something created on the fly with not much information and not much time to think about it.

Or maybe you’re trying to impress your boss or your client by saying, “Oh no problem! We can do that for $X and get it to you by the end of the week!” Then all of a sudden you have to figure out how to make that statement come true.

As a designer, I know I can produce the most accurate estimate and the most well-thought out finished projects when given a proper heads up. I realize that sometimes projects pop up and you have to adapt. It happens in every business and in every office culture. But if you’re the client or the manager of the project and you have to enlist the services of a designer to get your job done, there are a few things you can do to make the process much more seamless and less fragmented. You might even be surprised that the designer nails it on the head with the first draft, if you do your part.

  1. Determine the timeline and due date. It might be ASAP but that does NOT help a designer prioritize your project along with all their other projects. ASAP is NOT a deadline, so don’t use it. Pick an actual date, even if that date is tomorrow.
  2. Do your part with copy. Don’t even ask a designer to design anything until you have written the copy and proofread it twice. If possible, have your boss or client approve the copy first. Designers can work SO much faster with content that is already approved with minor tweaks than they can if you have 20 rounds of changes.
  3. Collect images. If you already have images you want the designer to use, make sure they know that UP FRONT. Rearranging an entire layout because you forgot to mention important images that take up valuable real estate in the design causes delays and wastes time. If you DON’T have images, at least mention to the designer what types of images you’d like to see, if you already know.
  4. Most importantly, know in what types of ways you’re going to use or need the finished product. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve designed an email or digital piece and the client decides they want to have it printed. Or they wanted something in Power Point (ack!) and later decided they need it to be a brochure. If you don’t know how you’re going to use it, it’s probably best you don’t start on it yet. Having to redesign an entire piece from one medium to another is counter-productive and it not only wastes time, but it can blow a budget!

Even though these things take time, and it may seem like by not getting the designer started, you’re going to miss your deadline, that is a misconstrued feeling. Fight it! Fight it hard! You are actually doing the design process a HUGE favor by collecting the building blocks of the design first.

Even Santa has a list.

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