As a designer who talks with other designers, there are some things that we all hear again and again. This comes as a result of two things: people are not well-informed on design (#sorrynotsorry), and people are not used to working with a designer. Here are five things we want you to know before you begin working with a designer.
1. "I don't really have a budget in mind, but I'm just starting out so I don't have much to spend." Everyone is low on money when they are starting out, but investing in your business is so important. Maybe you can't afford to pay someone $3,000 to build and design you a website, but you also need to be realistic with your price range. Remember, you get what you pay for!
2. "Can you make it more colorful/bolder/hipper?" While I, and many other designers, welcome feedback during the design process, design is intentional. This is not to say that you shouldn't provide feedback, but know that every piece of feedback can't always be accomplished in a design. Even if it can be accomplished, it may not always "work" in the design (sorry, but we've all had our fair share of bad ideas).
3. "Oh, and can you finish this right away? It was due last week." Your lack of preparedness does not equal an emergency on our end. While I would think that most designers would go the extra mile for their clients, it's nice to give your designers a heads-up on your schedule. Many designers take on more than one project at a time, and being aware of tight deadlines helps us plan accordingly. Also, "as soon as possible" is NOT a deadline.
4. "I saw this poster/t-shirt/coffee cup the other day and wondered if we could make ours look like it." We are not your Photoshop monkeys, nor do we like to (or at least shouldn't) rip off other people's design work. You want your brand to be set apart from the competition! It's okay to show us things for inspiration, but do not ask us to blatantly rip off another design.
5. "It looks too white..." White (negative) space is GOOD. Embrace it. We use negative space to space out content for easier (faster) scanning of a page without the need to put in specific separating elements. Negative space is like going to the grocery store at 7 a.m. – easy to navigate, and comfortable. Not enough negative space is like going to the mall the week of Christmas – uncomfortable.