Five things your graphic designer wants to tell you


By Stephanie Heikkila Holman
NP Strategy


Working with a designer to bring your business or organization’s vision to life should be an exciting and creatively fulfilling experience. Based on many years of experience, here are five things your designer wants you to know.

  1. Talk early – and talk often.

Your brand isn’t just a logo – it’s your mission, your company culture and your aspirations. If your designer isn’t in house, invite them to your office to meet with your coworkers, so the work produced best represents you and your team’s message.  Discuss your vision, allow them to ask questions, and listen to their suggestions regarding the process and possible creative hurtles you may face.

  1. Stick to your brand – let your Style Guide lead the way.

A comprehensive style guide is an investment of time and money, and plays an essential role in keeping the rest of your brand visually cohesive. If you have a new idea that takes you outside your style guide, talk it out with your designer. They often love a creative challenge, and can help lead you to a concept that incorporates your new ideas (while staying true to your organization’s image).

  1. Photo and image options: So many choices, so little time!

You may have a catalog of images for your designer to choose from or a photoshoot scheduled.  If not, have a discussion with the following in mind:

  • Mood: Should your images be joyful and inspiring… or striking and somber?
  • Colors: Any colors from your brand you want highlighted? Any to stay away from?
  • Effects: While we’re getting more technical, ask your designer about the use of photography with bright colors, versus a vintage matte effect or a monochrome effect.
  • People: Do you want to feature people in your pictures? Should they be employees? Stock images?
  1. Proofread, and proofread again!

One major tip to save you both time and money is to ensure all copy is proofread and approved by all parties involved before handing it off to the designer. Even a few simple word changes have the ability to change the flow of a design, which requires extra time for adjustments (and this extra time for design may impact your bottom line.)

  1. Know your budget.

Simply put, repeated or extensive revisions will likely increase the cost, while good communication and clear direction can minimize it. Involve your team – from managers to employees and perhaps even your board – on decisions in advance. If you find yourself on an extremely tight timeline, your designer will do the best they can to meet your needs, but may need to reflect the time crunch in the estimate.

Most importantly, know that it is the designer’s job to ask the right questions, so use these concepts and be ready to answer. Your satisfaction is the top priority!

(And if you don’t know a single design term or your day is simply too full to answer, don’t be scared to trust your designer and let them work their magic!)


For more than a decade, life-long South Carolinian Stephanie Heikkila Holman has designed and executed innovate creative solutions and responses for her clients. As NP Strategy’s Creative Services Manager, she draws on years of experience working in the marketing and publication fields as a graphic designer and art director. In addition to her undergraduate degree in visual arts and graphic design, Stephanie holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications.