get design work done,graphic design

10 things you should NEVER say to a graphic designer

cartoon people holding signs

Graphic design has its own language and specific tools, and if you’re not involved in design in any way, you’d probably have no idea what it all means or how it all works.

If you work with designers (or plan to), it is important to ask the right questions and say the proper things to move your project ahead.

I know you despise losing time, money, or even abandoning a project entirely because of incorrect assumptions about the design process. Who doesn’t?

We hate, nay, loathe miscommunication. You want to prevent misunderstanding at all costs, especially in a business when it implies lost time, opportunities, and sales.

Hopefully, this list can help you communicate better and create amazing projects with your graphic designer.

designer and client cartoon

DO NOT SAY: “This job will get you loads of exposure. Can you do it for free?”

SAY: “Can we arrive at an agreement or negotiate on the payment?”

This is a favourite among many, especially because social media platforms can reach a large number of people in a short amount of time, and publicity may lead to additional business for the designer.

However, as much as designers would love some exposure, it won’t pay the bills.

Every piece of work a designer does on a project has a cost that must be considered. If you are just starting your business or project, you may merely choose for an agreement and haggle with the designer, but performing a task for free is typically not a viable choice.

There are many affordable options like on-demand design services that can fit your budget.

DO NOT SAY: “Can you do a lot of different versions? I’ll know what I want when I see it.”

SAY: “I have a detailed design brief that will help you understand what I want.”

If you have no idea what a design brief is, check out this article. 

Let’s pretend you’re coming to the MET Gala. You’d want a gown that is tailored to you for this one-of-a-kind occasion.

How do you think your designer can create the finest gown for you without even taking your measurements? Requesting ten separate versions won’t be helpful either. How sure are you that one of the ten variants would suit your body and preferences?

When you’re dealing with freelancers, you’re generally limited in the number of revisions you may request or make. It’s not like that with us.

Deer Designer does provide a handful of alternatives for you to pick from, at no additional cost. What’s more, Deer designers learn your preferences over time, allowing your design team to nail your preferred designs in one go with fewer revisions.

man stressed on desk cartoon
We can get you unlimited versions. But can you pick one out of all of them?

DO NOT SAY: “Can I call or email you anytime?”

SAY: “Let’s agree to a schedule we can both work with”

If you intend to call at any time, please think of your work-life balance first and reconsider. It is not at all healthy, especially for you!

You wouldn’t want your phone to ring constantly while you’re sleeping or enjoying some well-deserved alone time, would you? Night owls, too, have work schedules!

Nobody checks their work email or phone 24 hours a day, and everyone needs boundaries in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

When a design company states you can contact them 24/7, do you believe the same designer in charge of your project is the one replying? Probably not.

Your message will be sent through an automatic funnel or added to the receptionist’s to-do list to be reviewed later. It doesn’t arrest the actual need, does it?

When it comes to graphic design services, having an open line 24 hours a day, seven days a week is less valuable than having clear, targeted interactions with your dedicated design team.

clingy client cartoon
Clingy much?

DO NOT SAY: “That’s easy, anyone can do it. Can you get this done in half the time?”

SAY: “I know how much effort you put into your work, so we need to find a workable timeline”

If it’s easy, why don’t you do it yourself? 🙄”

That’s probably the answer you might get with a whack on the face if you would ask that question.

You should always work out a realistic timetable with your designer. But you know what’s better? Just like we do in Deer Designer, plan and communicate the usual turnaround time for each project.

After all, the mark of a master is making a difficult task look simple.

DO NOT SAY: “Can I get you to do something fast?”

SAY: “How much time do you think we need to finish this?”

Instead of assuming that the work is just a quick fix, how about asking the designer directly how much time they need?

Designers can gauge the time it takes to complete a project, and they are more than likely willing to accommodate an extra job or a few modifications here and there.

With Deer Designer, we don’t stop until you’re 100% happy with your design request.

time travel cartoon
If we could only go back in time and give you the original concept, we would.

DO NOT SAY: “Could you please provide it in a format that I can edit?”

SAY: “Let’s work efficiently so there’s no need to edit”

Why would you hire a designer and then feel the need to edit the designs yourself later? If you don’t have any design skills, you’re risking ruining your carefully crafted project. Some freelancers won’t just give you the layered files for some reason.

Sometimes you just need the editable files, not for editing, but to make a client happy. That’s perfectly understandable. Always ask your designer (or your design service) if they’re willing to provide you with the files.

DO NOT SAY: “How about we go back to your original concept?”

SAY: “Let’s not waste each other’s time and be clear with our concept”

It is better to trust your designer rather than asking for many options for a design concept. Why? They are called designers for a reason; they have the aesthetic and technical ability to do their job well.

After you’ve defined the concept, let the designer create the best design they can. Don’t squander each other’s time with countless revisions and experiments when their first design is exactly what you needed.

square peg in round hole cartoon
We can’t put a square peg in a round hole, even with creative magic.

DO NOT SAY: “How much would this project cost?” (Without discussing the details)

SAY: “Here are the project details, how much do you think it would cost?”

It’s like asking an architect: “how much would a house cost?”

The answer is never a direct one, and it will surely be different for every project.

That’s because there is an art in pricing a project and it’s not always black and white. Designers may need to have a detailed discussion about the project before giving you a definite quote.

There are many factors in play such as how complex the project is, the deadline, deliverables, the scope of work, and much more. You will get a more accurate estimate of the cost once you’ve established the project details first.

Good news! On-demand design services give you unlimited designs for a flat monthly fee, so you know what to expect and how to factor it into your budget.

DO NOT SAY: “Can’t you just do your creative magic?”

SAY: “I know what I want this project will be.”

That sentence could be really confusing to designers. And the answer is both a “yes”, and a “no”.

It’s like telling your designer you trust them to read your mind and create something you didn’t even know you wanted. Not only is it a lot of strain to place on your designer, but it also raises the issue of how much freedom they have.

Designers can devote their efforts to creating an appealing and effective design, but only you know what you want, and you should convey it.

DO NOT SAY: “I can have unlimited revisions, right?”

SAY: “There might be some small changes, but let’s agree with the project’s turnaround time”

You cannot request unlimited revisions from designers unless you signed up for an on-demand design service such as Deer Designer.

Because a project might theoretically never finish, freelancers will set limits – or charge hourly – for making changes to the design work.

designer love client cartoon

Bye, miscommunication! See you never!

Clients and designers will receive the best results from their work if they communicate well and set clear expectations. Most designers are open to new approaches and would happily guide you through the design process.

As with any teamwork or collaborative effort, mutual respect and professionalism will always lead the road to a fruitful partnership.

So, unless you are signed up with Deer Designer, do not ask these questions to designers! You have been warned.