Occasionally, in all lines of business, we need things designed. Whether it’s leaflets, posters, websites or brochures, someone with a knack for aesthetics who knows their way around Dreamweaver will become essential to every business. Having acquired your designer, it’s useful to keep them in a good mood. After all, a happy designer is a hard working designer.
So when your business has design jobs it need doing, keep everybody happy by avoiding saying certain key statements. Some clients say stupid things to their designer. Alternatively, any combination of these phrases can be used to reduce your designer to an enraged, frothing wreck of a human being.
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“I thought we could use Comic Sans?”
In 1994 a designer called Vincent Connare designed a font for Microsoft that was intended to evoke the style of writing seen in old-fashioned comic books. Soon every time a teacher or vicar or carboot sale wanted to make its newsletters or posters look a bit more “fun” they would immediately turn to this font.
By the year 2000, most of us had got over the novelty of it, but small handful of people just will not let it die. It’s only “fun” in the same way that wearing a wacky novelty tie to work is “fun”. If you want a clean, professional looking product, your designer can show you any number of fonts that will get your message across. Comic Sans will only make it look like your grandma did the design work.
“Can we jazz it up a bit?”
Designers crave feedback, feedback is useful, it helps them to modify their work to meet your needs and ensures that you are getting what you have paid for. But some feedback is actively unhelpful. “Jazz it up a bit” doesn’t actually mean anything, from a design perspective. Think about space, about colour, and about the message you want the website to convey. “Jazz it up a bit” is the equivalent of saying “Could you make it more designy” or “Make it better”. It’s not telling the designer anything.
“I’ve sent the pictures over to you in a Word document.”
If you want to email your pictures to the design, send them as a JPEG, Bitmap or PNG file with as high a resolution as you can manage. This makes it easier to import into other design programmes. Putting it in a Word document, I mean, really, the clue is in the name. If you really have to, then use Microsoft Paint, but Word should be kept strictly for the transfer of words.
“Oh, you’re the designer, you tell me!”
This one is a step up from “Can you jazz it up a bit”, but this time getting in there right at the beginning of a project. Designers will start out by asking you what you want from a project, what your goals are, what sort of impression you’re trying to create, maybe even asking what sort of colours you want to use. This might seem like a bit much, since surely the whole point in hiring a designer is so that you don’t have to have any opinions of your own about design.
However, designers do like to check if you have any opinions, because it’s better to find out about them at the beginning of the design process, rather than discovering they need to completely redo their design further down the line.
“Can you just…”
This isn’t limited to designers, but can be applied too pretty much anyone who works freelance. Those who use it seem to believe it is a magical phrase that will shrink down any job to an insignificant size that is hardly worth worrying about, let alone invoicing for. Thing is, if your designer is being hired on a freelance basis, then they make a living purely from the work they do. If they take on more work, that’s using up time they could use with other clients. So it’s important to pay them.
One Final Thought
Likewise, if your designer is an actual employee, they still have finite hours in the day, and saying “can you just” will not magically expand that amount of time. If you have an extra task for your designer, however small it may seem to you, then why not try “Could you please” or “I would really appreciate it if you could”? Then be amazed at how staggeringly grateful they are for even the smallest courtesy.