If you’ve ever tried to have a brochure or other piece of marketing material designed, you may have found the process frustrating. Rounds of changes, looks that didn’t quite hit the mark, and files that weren’t print quality can all lead to higher costs and an overall discouraging marketing experience.

This doesn’t have to be the case.

There are some basic things you should know and do before dealing with a graphic designer…

1. Create a “Creative Brief”
Before you panic and think that a Creative Brief is some scientific document only decipherable by marketing geniuses, relax. A brief can be as basic or as detailed as needed. The most useful thing about a Creative Brief, though, is that it provides the designer with all of the background information prior to starting the project.

A good brief will explain:

  • Who the marketing piece is intended to reach (the target market)
  • Details about the size and how the marketing piece is being distributed
  • What product/service the marketing piece is focused on
  • Which particular content needs to be included (taglines, logos, colour schemes, etc.)
  • Background information on your company and brand

If all of this information is provided beforehand, the graphic designer not only has a better idea of what you are looking for, but they can also offer advice on more cost-effective or innovative solutions that (because of their profession) they have access to.

2. Finalize your content.
When your graphic designer lays out your marketing piece, the content should already be approved and finalized. Prior to layout, ensuring that all copy, including a strong headline and clear contact information, is approved avoids any costly delays in edits and having to re-layout content.
While there may be the need to cut some information after seeing it designed (remember, less is usually more when it comes to marketing material), there shouldn’t be any need to edit or correct the copy. This step alone can save you significant time and money in the design process, as well as make your graphic designer’s life a lot easier.

3. Have samples of things you like.
Something that is really helpful for a designer (or a marketing professional as well) are examples of pieces that you like. Other companies’ brands, whether they are in comparable industries or not, give the designer a glimpse into the type of brand you are trying to, or have, established in your community.
Don’t be mistaken, I’m not suggesting copying or plagiarizing other materials. I’m only suggesting that by having some samples to provide your designer, you are utilizing visual aids instead of words alone to explain your marketing vision. I mean, we all know that a picture is worth 1000 words…

4. Source your own images.
A cost that many business owners rarely factor into their budget is the cost of sourcing appropriate images. While there are plenty of places online that provide free or very low-cost image options, taking the time to source and chose the images is something that any designer would have to charge you for . By sourcing the images yourself you can lower the amount of time it takes for the designer to complete the job – and in turn lower your cost.

5. Understand the difference between print and web resolution.
The only caveat to the previous tip is this one – you must understand the difference between a file that is print-ready versus web-ready. Be sure that if you are planning on printing the piece being designed, you’ve purchased images and provided your logo/photo in a format that will be crisp and clear. Essentially this means that any photo/artwork included should be at least 300 pixels or dots/inch(dpi) – if your piece is only intended for the web than the dpi can be lower. Click here to visit a site that effectively explains resolution for all of us who don’t necessarily speak that language.

The next time you work with a graphic designer incorporate these 5 tips and let us know how it goes – we’d love to hear from you!