Design is a crucial element to any marketing campaigns success. Creative is an element that is often thought of as something easy to produce. We, as consumers, know when we like a design and when we don’t. While designers are artists, they also need specific elements to build their works of art. Over the years, I have played part therapist and design champion for my internal design shops. As a creative and marketer, I listed my seven-faux pas for why designers lose patience when it comes to developing creative deliverables in-house.
- Piecemeal information.
Designers are artists who want to spend time creating, not chasing information. Many designers are chasing details because either the client didn’t have all the information together or simply didn’t think it was an “important detail.” Hello, creative brief. When it comes to creating assets for campaigns, designers need all the information at once to understand what they are creating. Piecemeal information inhibits designers for optimizing their time. Optimization is crucial to meeting projects on-time and on-budget. Unless you have unlimited resources, get your details in order.
- No clear direction.
Leading to my second point, many marketers start building campaigns without a clear direction of what they want to achieve. As the adage goes, “lack of planning is planning to fail.” Simple answers to the questions, “who is the audience?” and “how the creative will be consumed?” are immensely helpful to designers. However, marketers sometimes focus on the endgame of getting the campaign complete and out the door. Or worse yet, the marketer is thinking of something completely different creatively which causes challenges for the designer. Don’t waste the designers time by not drafting a creative brief. Marketers that don’t spend time on the creative brief will inevitably not be on the same page with the designer causing issues with the direction and overall approach. This is maddening considering it is very easy to avoid.
- Lack of mechanics or constraints
I cannot tell you how many times designers has been asked to create ads without key specifics to the actual ad. Is the ad a horizontal or vertical? Bleed or No Bleed? While the designer may receive information for a ½ page ad, there are missing elements such as formatting, type of production files needed, or how to layout the artwork. Whether it is an ad or something similar, designers need details. Before sending a request, find the art specifications and send those along. Huge win and time saver to have all the elements you need so your designer can create the deliverable. The designer cannot pass ‘go’ without knowing how to set-up the files for delivery.
- Lack of timely responses
Nothing is more frustrating than delivering creative and have it sit in purgatory better known as your email inbox. It is even more frustrating to hustle to create an asset that was “needed ASAP” and hearing nothing in response for days or weeks. While your designer will say, “welcome to my world,” do your creative a solid by responding on time or at least sending along a timeframe when you can respond. No response is no bueno.
- Editing final copy, again
Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen was on the money when she said, “Let it go.” Earlier in my career, I had a client that would approve copy and then right before printing, would have a “concern” and want to edit. The same client would also send me voicemails of changes to copy. As the account exec, I then had to walk down the hall to our designer and break the news. Fun times! In all seriousness, changes to final copy wreaks havoc on the creative for many reasons: time, changes to copy impacts design and overall aesthetics. In Canva’s recent design blog, the author explains why draft copy is a creative killer. Changing egregious errors are a must, rewriting a sentence or the whole piece is just not cool.
- Underestimating who is the real decision maker
You did all the right things: wrote the creative brief, followed a timeline, and gave final copy. Check and check. However, the marketer on the project failed to get all the inputs from the real decision maker and influencers. Stakeholder management 101: Failure to identify all vested parties is a project and design killer [read more how to manage clients]. Nothing is more frustrating than going into a meeting to discover the real decision maker did not approve your work. Wasted energy and time for your creative, but most importantly, it demotivates your designer.
- Not understanding design takes time.
Let’s dispel a myth that design is easy or quick. Copy edits are quick, design is not. It takes time. The Professional Association for Design (AIGA) eloquently defines design as “Graphic design, also known as communication design, is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.” Read careful two important words, ‘art’ and ‘practice of planning.’ Neither art nor planning can be rushed. When you do rush ‘art’ or ‘planning,’ you receive a rushed product that looks like it wasn’t planned. Help a designer out, push back on deadlines that will impact the design product. Your designer will thank you with a better design.
In my experience, designers are your best brand ambassadors if you treat them well. Avoid these faux pas by being a better partner, collaborator, and teammate through planning, filling out the creative brief, and giving them the time to be creative.