Hi, I’m Jeff, and I’m a Graphic Designer, here’s a few things that will help you, help me, help you.
1. Photos. Photos taken with an actual camera are always best but if there’s no way that you can get a camera, a cell phone with a good camera will sometimes work. Zoom in on the photo to be sure that it’s clear. If you can’t tell where the person in the photo ends and the background begins, the designer probably won’t be able to tell either. Selfies are usually a no-go and bathroom selfies are even worse. The lighting in most bathrooms is horrible and if your cellphone is actually in the photo it makes it hard to use the photo for your business flyer and collateral. Also, it’s good to have both arms, full shoulders, and an entire head in the photo. I know these aren’t things that non photographer and non designer people pay attention to but take a second right now to go through the photos in your phone to see in how many of them are you missing limbs and/or the crown of your head. These are a no-go for sending to the designer.
2. Planning. Most things that you will need designed with require you to answer 5 questions; who, what, when, where, and why, with bonus questions being what’s the call to action (what do you want the customer to do when they see the design) and what needs to be said the loudest. Nothing pisses a designer off like knowing you’re done with a design only to be informed that you need to go back and redesign it because the customer completely forgot that they had a big celebrity coming to host the party and he needs to be big on the flyer. The entire flyer would’ve been designed completely different had this bit of information come sooner. Many designers will charge you for this and they’re right to do so, you’re paying for their time.
3. Never say “all you gotta do is”. No matter how easy you think it is to create a design, there are behind the scene tasks that you will never know about. You don’t say to a plumber “all you gotta do is put in some new pipes” you don’t say to a pilot “all you gotta do is land over there”, so don’t tell your designer “all you gotta do is change the font”. First of all, I have at least 90,000 fonts on my computer to choose from. Secondly, once I change the font, will it match the other fonts that I’ve already placed on there, will it still be bold enough to stand out and create contrast, will it change the layout? There are plenty of memes floating around that tell you, it took me 30 minutes to design this but it took me 20 years to get to the point that I can do it in 30 minutes. I have a certain set of skills that not many possess and even fewer master. Respect my skill set.
4. Time. “The man who fails to plan, plans to fail”. Dr. Martin Luther King said this and I’m about 45% sure he was talking about graphic design. I know that as customers you think I can snap my fingers and a design appears on the screen but I promise you it doesn’t work that way. There’s planning that goes into every single design I create. There’s photo searching, when I must go through at least 4 free stock photo sites and 2 paid stock photo sites to find the correct photos to convey the message you’re trying to send. There’s font selection, which I must navigate 125,000 fonts on my computer (yes I’ve added more since the last paragraph). There’s sketching and layout completion. Then after all that, there’s the digitalization of your vision and my sketches, plus the random additions I make while I am designing. So if you need your design quickly, be prepared to pay extra to convince me to make all of this happen faster and prioritize your design in front of customers who called before you did.
Well I think that’s enough tips for now. As always I tried to inject a little humor but these are actual tips that if taken to heart will make your designer happier and may even get you a discount. Just maybe, no promises.