Summer Marketing Series #3: Best Ways to Work with Graphic Designers

Working With a Graphic Designer

Working with your graphic designer is a critical part of your school’s comprehensive marketing plan. Smart design is the logical conclusion and a highly strategic part of a carefully crafted plan to help your school, college or university achieve its marketing objectives.

Great design is a process.

Your graphic designer is a key, strategic member of your marketing team. The designer’s expertise as a conceptual and visual thinker will lead to effective, well-targeted communications for your institution, the kind that wows and engages your audience.

To create engaging design that wows prospects and generates leads, designers need as much information up front as possible. Be sure to share your marketing research, branding strategy and analytics with your designer. Research findings can inform design as well as copy/content in all marketing communications.

It may be helpful to tell the designer what you like and don’t like before the design process, but trust these trained professionals to do more than just decorate. Aren’t you working with a designer to be amazed by fresh ideas and/or something you’ve never seen? To get the most out of this collaboration, what to communicate – and what not to say – are critical. LINK with-designers/

In turn, your designer will have lots of questions for you to create what’s known as a creative brief. This is a roadmap to better understand your needs and objectives, create a more strategic product and provide criteria for evaluation.

The better the beginning, the better the product.

Communicate as much as you can at the very beginning of the project:

  • Is the assignment an entire campaign of deliverables or one invitation/brochure?
  • What is your budget? This answer affects design and production costs.
  • Do you have any recent research that would inform the content and design?
  • When do you want/need it? If it’s a rush, is the deadline flexible?
  • Do you have brand guidelines to share that include PMS colors, logos and usage, etc.?
  • How many rounds of revisions do you anticipate?
  • How many members will be on the approval committee? (Higher numbers of members can equate to more rounds of changes and more expensive process)

Once you’ve sorted out answers, collaborate on a timeline and understand that some back-end time is needed to prepare for printing. Put it all in writing for clarification and for your records.

Establish a way to get changes/drafts back and forth.

How will you and the graphic designer or photographer share files? There are lots of web-based options from DropBox, WeTransfer, Google products and more. Set expectations and accounts early to make reviews and draft sharing painless.

The graphic designer is not the proofreader.

While it’s not always possible, have the copy as clean, correct and spell-checked when it goes to the designer. If there are others within the school or college who need to review it, try to have it done before layout. You will save a lot of time, headaches and money. Many designers charge for every round of changes. When you do have changes, it’s more cost-effective and efficient to give them to the designer at once and not piecemeal.

What are your tips to a great working relationship with the creative members of your extended team?

This summer, Kalix is turning its comprehensive, consultative marketing expertise into a weekly, practical series on tips and strategies to help you create a more impactful marketing plan for your organization.

Jonathan Oleisky is President and Founder of Kalix.





President’s Notes
Jonathan Oleisky

Jonathan Oleisky

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