Working with Creatives: Dos and Don’ts
If you’ve ever worked with creatives, you may have uttered the phrase, “we love what you’ve done, but we feel that it just needs a few minor tweaks…” Unfortunately, this phrase can be frustrating for those working in creative environments. Creatives are skilled workers, coined by the marketing industry to describe creative employees and contractors such as graphic designers and copywriters. They take care of branding, web design, promotional materials, web copy, and much more.
Working with creatives can be overwhelming, but by following a few simple dos and don’ts, you can establish a solid relationship, alleviate stress, and promote productivity.
1. Establish clear communication:
The first and foremost step in working with creatives is to sit down with them and explain every aspect of what you’re thinking about. This is where a creative brief can help. A creative brief is a document that covers all the different aspects of the project, which helps establish the scope of the project and all the assets required. It is also essential to determine the time required to complete each aspect and to stick to your budget.
2. Provide examples:
Showing examples of what you like and dislike is a great way to communicate what you’re looking for. If you’re not sure, take the time to research and find examples of what you’re looking for to show them. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that designers will not create thirty different versions to pick and choose from when you’ll only end up paying for one.
3. Familiarize yourself with design terminology:
Familiarizing yourself with design terminology will help you explain what you’re looking for. Use specific terms to help the designer capture the essence of what you need. For example, telling a designer that you like cards that look “smooshed in” is not specific enough; expressing that you’d like letterpress printing is a better way to communicate.
4. Value white space:
Support the designer’s expertise and creativity by understanding that white space is a good thing. Your logo doesn’t have to fill every space. Less is often more and promotes elegance.
1. Let a committee make decisions:
As the CEO or project manager, establish that you will have the final say in deciding whether any adjustments are needed. When you involve a committee, you’ll end up with multiple opinions weighing in, making it difficult to decide. Chances are that the people you’ll ask for input have varying levels of experience and familiarity with the subject, making it challenging to agree on anything. Designate one person to deal with the creative, and let that person make all necessary decisions.
2. Underestimate the creative task:
It’s essential to understand that creatives’ work is not easy and may take longer than expected to complete. Avoid estimating the amount of time required for a project. Instead, ask the designer how long it’ll take, and then determine whether you have enough money in the budget to cover the work.
3. Use unclear design language:
Avoid using vague terms like “make it pop more” or “I’ll know what I want when I see it”. These statements are unproductive and lead to frustration. If you don’t know specific design terminology, search for images or examples to help the designer understand what you’re looking for.
4. Demand changes unfamiliar to you:
Designers are professionals and have a wealth of knowledge and experience in their field. Trust that they know what they’re doing and avoid micromanaging them. Demanding unnecessary changes will only lead to miscommunication and additional workload. Stay open to designers’ recommendations, as they may come up with creative ideas that align with your goals.
In conclusion, working with creatives requires effective communication, trust, and respect for their expertise. Following the dos and don’ts outlined above can help you establish a productive and efficient relationship with your creative team, leading to successful project outcomes.