How can that process flow smooth as buttah? Here are a few tips that will help service providers, especially design services, get you the solution you need and want as quickly as possible:
Expect Good Work to Take Time
Ever heard the saying that you can choose two qualities for work at the expense of the third: good, fast or cheap? Good and fast isn’t cheap; Fast and cheap isn’t good; Good and cheap isn’t fast. This is especially applicable to design work. Expecting a designer to put aside time management priorities or project planning shouldn’t be the norm, and it isn’t reasonable to expect it on a constant basis. So everyone is on the same page, consider asking up front what the project timeline should be. What might delay the project? How should delays be addressed by the designer and by your organization?
Set A Path and Don’t Back-track
One of the hardest things for a designer to do is read a client’s mind. When clients don’t know exactly what they want or need, it can cause infinite revisions. Don’t force designers to make wild stabs in the dark. Clear goals and clear expectations set a good path for both the client and the designer. When giving feedback, be specific and give examples when possible. Rather than “it just doesn’t pop,” you could say something like “this color isn’t bold enough” or “the font seems too thick, let’s try something thinner.” This leads us to…
Don’t Let Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
“Design by committee” is a real problem. It masquerades as getting input from stakeholders or making sure the right people are looped into the decisions, but it can set off an endless cycle of revisions and lead even the best intentions down a tangential path to Timbuktu. Design by committee slows down the design process by preventing works in progress from being finalized because not only do different folks have differing opinions, but also because trying to nail down feedback from a range of people can be time consuming in itself. One of the worst things a client can do is loop in a new opinion during the middle of the design process. Before a project begins, set a small group (2-3 people) who will champion the project. Have those people collaborate on a game plan before design work starts so everyone involved has a clear expectation of where they should be headed. Instead of wandering through design wilderness, your design sherpa can then get you from start to finish as painlessly as possible!
Don’t Get Personal
The focus of any design should be the end user. What would your customer or client need or want to see from any design that would implore them to seek out more information or make a connection with your organization? Personal color and font choices should have very little place in the design process. There are scientific explorations into the psychology of color and heat maps and eye-tracking studies into the best structures for websites. Allow your designer use that knowledge to make your business succeed. It is always OK to provide feedback that uses your personal perspectives on work, but try to put yourself in the point of view of a client and how they would view it.
With clear expectations and clearer communication, the design process can be an exhilarating ride that invigorates your excitement for your business or organization’s purpose and vision.