10 practical tips for effective cooperation with the design team

Knowledge for those marketers and entrepreneurs who are just starting to collaborate with the creatives or who have hard time working with them.

Dawid Skinder
Jul 8, 2019 · 6 min read
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1. Get to know the design team and let the design team to get to know you.

Whatever you do, do not run away from meetings (online or offline) with your design team, especially at the beginning of cooperation.

You are setting yourself up for a failure if you assume that couple of e-mails or long and detailed brief will do the trick.

Build the trust. Ask what areas of design are the most interesting for team members, and feel free to share your job experience and hobby. The atmosphere and the overall results are better when you work with people you like and know, not only by name.


2. Understand the designer.

No matter if you are an employee, or company owner — the designer is one of your greatest allies.

The proof of this statement is related to the nature of the designer’s work and the way his career develops.

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Designer’s ambition, motivation to work and the desire to develop is fed by amount of appreciation and recognition that he and his projects receive from the design community and his clients (you). It only happens when his project (your branding or website!) will succeed.

In other words — The designer’s success is to a large extent tied to success of your project. No true creative professional intentionally sabotages his future.


3. Understand that design is a process of complex work on both sides.

If you want to hire a designer or a design team, you should have enough time to cooperate with them or assign a dedicated employee to this task.

And by saying “enough” we mean “a lot”.

  • All necessary information, content and materials needs to be gathered and passed to the team. Before the start of the work, and on a daily basis.
  • Every question asked by design team requires proper answers.
  • Every designed element requires feedback and acceptance.
  • Any design idea that can affect your business requires your discussions and decisions.

Sitting comfortably on your chair and waiting for effects is not an option. Effect will not come without your attention.

The percentage distribution of work always looks the same, always (no matter what type of creative cooperation it is):

60–70% of the work is done by design team. 40–30% of work is done on your side. Period.


4. Reasonable criticism and requests rather than grief / anger and demands.

When you treat designer as your partner, the closest ally, you should be forgiving of mistakes that sooner or later will happen. After all design is highly non-repetitive, mental, rather than physical work.

You never cross the same river twice in this business.

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Photo by Jonathan Sharp on Unsplash

You can build the team’s trust and motivations very fast, among others by:

  • challenging them with demanding task and projects,
  • supporting them at every stage,
  • sharing your knowledge which means expanding theirs.

You can tear it down even faster if by your actions you will make the partner turn into a subordinate contractor.

And then guess what is suffering and what do you lose? Yes, you are right — your project and your money.


5. Always look for the right inspirations and benchmarks.

There are at least 2 ways in which you can do it:

  • Prepare key word (e.g. fashion store), time span (e.g. last month or whole time) and type of project (e.g. logo, branding or website) and then use the search functions on https://www.behance.net or https://www.awwwards.com.
  • Ask your trusted clients for inspirations that suit them. After all your end customers are users for whom we design visual identification or digital products.

What are the advantages of collecting inspiration:

  • You will learn or refresh knowledge about the latest trends in design.
  • There is a good chance that you will come across new projects of your competition. It is always good to know what they are up to, right?
  • The design team will learn your preferences and preferences of your end users.

6. Share your knowledge. Do not expect the design team to know your business and your industry better than you.

We all have been in situation when questions about things obvious to you quickly cause your frustration. That is the nature of man.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

You quickly learn to restrain anger when these questions are asked by the child. Equally quickly and in the same way, respond to questions asked by the design team.

Lack of efficient knowledge transfer may lead to design decisions not supported by facts and data. Decisions that are not backed up by facts and data may result in costly and time-consuming design mistakes.


7. Talk openly about the financial goals.

Financial goal is one of the most important aspects that CHALLENGE Studio team discuss with the potential partner during kick-off meeting.

Knowledge about the expected revenue allows to determine the value of cooperation and return on investment (ROI).

Do not hesitate to talk openly about it, both before the project starts (e.g. at the estimate / proposal stage) and also in the middle of the cooperation.

There are couple of good reasons for that:

  • Awareness of how a high-stakes game we are about to play stimulates motivation and maximum commitment.
  • Your authority as a serious partner / entrepreneur / company is growing high.
  • Financial goal is in many cases a main factor by which both you and design team will measure the effect of cooperation.

8. Always have a reason for your ideas and changes.

Ask yourself the following question before you request change to the project or introduction of your new fancy idea:

How will this change or idea affect the achievement of the project and financial goal?

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Photo by Ana Tavares on Unsplash

If you can not give a satisfying answer yourself, than do not waste the time of the project team.

At the end of the day you are the one who pay for it.


9. You are equally responsible for completing the project on time.

Read the advice number 3 again and then slowly but surely move to the next statistics:

The client was responsible for more than 70% of delays in CHALLENGE Studio projects.

This is not a boast, but a real observation made after the 5 years of the studio’s existence, and after more than a 100 completed projects.

On the one hand, “We cannot effort delays in the schedule” is one of the most frequent customer requests. On the other hand, delays due to the client’s fault (also in making payments)is one of the most common problems in working with them.

Stick to the schedule and plan if you do not want to overstate this statistic and generate losses.


10. Learn the design terminology.

Speaking the same language and mutual understanding is the basis for successful cooperation.

This is especially important in the design and IT industry, which is rich in specific vocabulary.

  • Serif and sans-serif fonts,
  • Leadning and kerning,
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  • Logo, sign and logotype,
  • Brand book and brand manual,
  • Grid and baseline,

In everyday communication you will hear these and many other “strange” words from the designer’s dictionary.

Get ready! The following articles will definitely help you:

CHALLENGE Studio — Blog

Articles, knowledge, inspirations and case studies from…

Dawid Skinder

Written by

Specialist in branding and digital products design. I design marketing tools that identify, build commitment and give credibility to your brand.

CHALLENGE Studio — Blog

Articles, knowledge, inspirations and case studies from branding and digital world that will make life of marketers and entrepreneurs easier. Based on over 14 years of CHALLENGE Studio experience.

Dawid Skinder

Written by

Specialist in branding and digital products design. I design marketing tools that identify, build commitment and give credibility to your brand.

CHALLENGE Studio — Blog

Articles, knowledge, inspirations and case studies from branding and digital world that will make life of marketers and entrepreneurs easier. Based on over 14 years of CHALLENGE Studio experience.

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