In a sentence, George Bernard Shaw summed up the way a lot of businesses don’t get the best out of a graphic designer. Just putting something out in the world is no guarantee it will work. And the common misuse of design to “polish” half-baked ideas is even worse. He said….

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw

Bring in the graphic designer!

Picture the scene. You’ve come up with a plan for a rebrand and you’ve had some meetings to get everything signed off by the bosses. Now all the tough decisions have been made, all you need to do is bring in the graphic designer, right? Wrong.

A designer or creative director can help you work towards communication that will help you meet your goals. Unlike other supplier relationships, this takes understanding and a little history between partners to get right. I’d recommend you get in touch with a few designers you like or know about and pick their brains about your challenges. Forming an early partnership is definitely the smart money, as it allows you to assess many factors. If you bring a designer in late, it will be too late to change course if things go wrong.

Partnerships, not suppliers

Although it’s not always obvious, working with a designer isn’t the same as your typical buyer/supplier relationship. A designer gives you a clear perspective on problems that you can’t solve with your own team. To be honest if you’re wondering when you should talk to a designer, it’s quite simple. You should start consulting with one as early in your project as possible (especially if you’re hiring in.)

A senior designer is not only responsible for how the design looks. They’ll expect to influence the strategy and how the design works towards meeting your business goals. When you’re paying good money for that kind of experience, be sure to make the most of it.

Even if it’s not designed, it’s design.

All companies design things even when they don’t. You could choose a professional designer, crowdsourcing or Dave in accounts for your next project.

All three options will result in a designed solution. Now I love Dave in accounts, but to be honest the chances of him screwing up your rebrand are infinitely higher than a professional. Give him the weekend off. And don’t get me started on those weird “get a logo for £5” sites.

Don’t let design be something that just happens to you. Think of it as the difference between hiring a professional translator or throwing some text into Google Translate. It might be functional, but it could also catch you with your pants down if not handled with relative expertise.

How good things happen

When the designer is a stakeholder from the beginning of a project they can understand both the business and the creative parts of a project.

Their role is to understand see the big picture, including your business challenges as well as your communication issues. Of course the goal of this is to make your business stand out in the minds of your potential customers. Personally, I love working with businesses who understand this, and the results of those projects tend to speak for themselves.

The bottom line

Standing out is even more important for your brand if you are in a crowded market. But even if you are not, the right visual communication can help you appear credible, understandable and trustworthy. Doing that distinctively can keep you ahead of your competitors.

Design that works has always been about more than just knocking out quick images. Design is a great way of taking control in the game of being a smart and forward thinking company.

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