Wondering what it is that separates good design from great design or better yet, good design companies from great design companies?

You have a vision of what you’d like your company logo to look like? Or perhaps there is an ad you want created. Maybe you been trying to bootstrap your social media or web presence and always feeling that the results were lacklustre. You are probably wondering if that’s why sales are not where they should be?

Then it hits you. You should hire a graphic designer to help me out. Yeah, that will make everything better. Or will it.

If the above sounds familiar you must read this post BEFORE YOU HIRE A GRAPHIC DESIGN COMPANY.

Over the past twenty years, our team has collectively worked on thousands of projects. In that time we have learned a great deal about aesthetics, technology, branding, and impactful design. That kind of deep bench is not something you can duplicate with a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all web builder or do-it-yourself graphic design. Your graphic design projects are the face your company shows the world. A custom solution by professional designers is the only real option.

Decades of experience translates into more than just design and technical expertise. We also have a pretty good sense of what makes a great process. We understand how to help ensure that our collaboration is optimized to ensure the best possible outcome.

Here are six steps that we have seen work consistently with successful design projects:

Create a Strong Partnership

Some clients come to a design job feeling powerless. After all, the designer is the expert, right? But you are the expert on your product or service. You are the one who has a culture and a story you want to communicate. All of the things we think about in terms of branding–logos, fonts, color schemes, design elements–are in the service of telling that story. Your story.

Therefore, successful design starts with successful partnership. Your ideas and your vision are central to this partnership. You won’t get a true melding of your vision with the designer’s creativity by scribbling a few notes on a napkin, though that might be a first step. A true partnership requires working together through all phases of the design, ensuring that we are on the same page every step of the way.

Be Open to Listening

One of the most important traits of any designer is the ability to listen. Period. In order to have the kind of partnership we want, it is imperative that our designer truly listens and works to implement the ideas you bring to the table. Active listening is a process, and may require clarification, refinement, and discussion throughout the process to ensure that ideas are properly integrated.

Experience Matters

Have you ever felt a sense of deja vu when looking at multiple designs in certain industries? At some point, the logos, the photos, the colors all seem to blend together. This is because as a design firm builds a reputation, they often get pigeon-holed, covering the same ground in the same industry. There is a reason why certain design firms work with industry specific clients. They have gained knowledge and understanding into those industries and therefore can do a great job working within those silos. It’s great for the designer, but not for the client.

Hiring someone with broader based knowledge and the willingness to open themselves up to your industry has great value. The designer will have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t because they can bring more objectivity to your industry niche. In addition, they can ensure that you are getting the latest in aesthetic and technical expertise, not a rehash of the tried-and-true. This ensures that you never blend into the background.

Look for Passion

Everyone has experienced collaborating on a project that they’re just not into. A project that is about as exciting as watching paint dry. If they’re professional, they’ll do the work. It may even be good work. But it’s missing the spark that gets the creative juices flowing and produces something exceptional. Special.

Look for the spark.

Through a dedication to the collaborative process and never being satisfied, our team ensures that the spark is always there. Because we are not treading the same ground over and over, we bring a fresh perspective to your work. And because we are dedicated to a process-oriented approach, we embrace every element of the project from start to finish.

Build a Lasting Relationship

We’ve spent the better part of the millennium in this industry. In that time, we’ve seen designers and design companies come and go. Someone gets a big project, parlays that into some quick growth, but ultimately fails to live up to the thunder because they just don’t have the depth that translates into staying power. The next time you are meeting with a design company, don’t just ask who their past clients are. Ask how long they have worked with their legacy clients.

Communications is the Key to Great Success

Everyone knows that a successful relationship of any kind starts with great communication. During the design process, people get impatient. They don’t like the latest draft. They have internal conflicts that spill over into the project’s process. When conflicts arise, communication saves the process. Effective communication allows all of the parties to regroup, come back to the drawing board, and find a way forward. That is how you save, and develop, the collaborative relationship. Designers are passionate about their work and clients are passionate about their product. Communication allows you to find the perfect balance somewhere in the middle.

Hiring a graphic designer is an investment in your company’s future and one of the most important partnerships you can undertake. A successful partnership pays dividends for years in the impact it has on your marketing and branding. Understanding what a successful process looks like can help you be more effective in your own collaboration. At Smashing Pixels, we understand this and will work with you to create an unforgettable process and product.

  • Make a great first impression – It can only happen once.  Good design is your friend.  Bad design can cost you money. It’s your choice.
  • Stand out from the competition – When you own a business you need to do everything you can to stand out from your competition.
  • Your brand identity – It should be as unique and strong as you.
  • Smashing Pixels will work with you through every stage – Generation, development, planning, and completion.

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