Most marketing people are focused on delivering results and rightly so.
Popular opinion has it that there are more left brained than right brained people around.
It’s no suprise that marketing people may sometimes need to curb their analytical, logical and objective left brain traits if they want to get the most out of their (assumedly right brained) graphic designer colleagues.
In this post I’ve collated some of the thoughts I have about working with that rare and beautiful creature – the creative person.
Being creative is not just about knowing how to play the guitar or being able to draw fantastically well. It is about a way of thinking and viewing the world around you.
It’s important to know how a designer thinks because you want them to produce high quality designs that sing from the page or screen for you. Plus you want to work efficiently with them by not wasting time or energy in rewrites or back-to-the-drawing-board situations. And we all want to have fun.
Before I start, just a word on briefs. If you provide a crap brief you have no right to expect brilliant work in return. Here are 5 steps to writing a creative brief, courtesy of Devin Liddell:
- Paint the big picture
- Define the business objectives
- Set the creative objectives
- Be clear on the audience you’re targeting and response required
- Be aware of the competitive landscape – what else is out there?
Now, here are my top ten tips for working with graphic designers, gained from working with some fantastic marketing agencies and, more recently, with some very talented colleagues.
1. Make sure you encourage and respect the creative process. This means understanding the working environment, how long it takes to respond to a brief and how ideas are generated. It also means knowing how to help move on from the idea generation stage to delivering results. Here’s a very simple creativity process I found.
2. Brief clearly. Most designers will be most comfortable talking about feelings, people, colours and emotions and will readily identify with a story or picture that encapsulates the problem. Set the scene, describe what it is you want to achieve as well as how the design you’re asking for will be used. Know what you need not what you want, and be specific, set boundaries/milestones/deadlines.
3. Allow enough time. But know when the ideas have to stop and the building and delivery has to start.
4. Don’t interfere and ask to see work in progress. Like a cake that hasn’t cooked properly, opening the door and taking a peek too soon may well ruin the whole thing. Don’t meddle.
5. Ask for 2 or 3 ideas or executions when moving from the idea generation to choosing a solution stage but don’t expect them to be finished works of art.
6. Don’t have fixed ideas about what you want to see. Know what you like but be prepared to be swayed by something wonderful you hadn’t even thought of.
7. Watch out for the designer who is a perfectionist and can’t resist a final tweak. Or two or three. Know when to say no more.
8. Make sure the designers know who they are designing for. Paint a picture for them about the audience that is compelling and memorable. Be creative with your brief, make it inspiration and get your designers excited and enthused about what you’re trying to achieve.
9. Make sure the designers don’t forget the mandatories – correct logo, call to action, website address, single proposition.
10. Say thank you. Always
I leave you with this great video I found called ‘Where good ideas come from’ by Steven Johnson. Enjoy.