Blog by JourneyGroup

5 Ways Clients Can Improve the Graphic Design Process

Partnering with an agency for design support can invigorate your brand. Through our own experience of working alongside organizations, we've collected a few memorable quotes that reflect how the right kinds of client input can improve the graphic design process. 

1.    “Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: A little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.” – Jerry Seinfeld

The same could be said of the healthiest client partnerships. Graphic designers need enough constraints to focus on a practical solution, but enough freedom for creativity. This simple recipe creates the ideal climate for creative partnership.

2.    “I was taking out appendices, when all they needed was a cough drop.” – Michael Bierut

Designers fancy themselves to be like doctors: They properly diagnose and problem solve. To avoid the risk of designers following their own artistic desires, clients ought to help speed up the diagnosis process by being transparent with their symptoms.

3.    “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman

It’s not about how beautiful we can make something. Graphic design needs to serve a brand, the brand's message, and the message's audience. Design for design's sake (or decoration) will ring hollow to your audience. As the client, ask yourself how the graphic design solutions are serving the larger communication goals.

4.    “None of us are as creative as all of us.” – Steve Jobs

No designer is an island... at an agency, at least. Designers often have the seed of a great idea, but it takes multiple minds and perspectives to grow the solution. The more minds, the better the body of work becomes. Partnership extends beyond the agency, as stakeholders' voices often play the most valuable role in the creative process.

5.    “If you’re digging a hole in the wrong place, making it deeper isn’t going to help.” – Seymour Chwast

"Kill your darlings” is a phrase that poets often use. It means to get rid of those ideas that originally seemed so promising, but have led to a dead end. This applies to design, too, and if a designer's seed isn't being harvested to reach the right solution, it needs to be reevaluated and possibly eliminated. As a client, offer feedback early if a design seems to be heading in the wrong direction.