“Yeah right”, I said to the car salesman as he got up and walked into the back. I presumed he was taking my counter-offer to the sales manager, and not just humouring me. You see, I recently sold my beloved coupe in exchange for something more, uhm, appropriate – and have had to trust a few sales people in my vulnerable state. So I’ve seen first hand that trust has to be earned. Which leads me to my point.
There are several businesses that rely on this one simple word to win (and keep) new business, but I think none as much as the design business. Hiring a graphic designer is a risky proposition, let alone engaging the services of a high priced agency. And since design is subjective, what if you don’t like what they came up with? What then? Do you still have to pay?
Well, the short answer is probably, but we can talk about agency kill fees another time – and what to do if you’re in that position – but this post is about trusting that your designer will give you what you want in the first place. So how do you do that?
Ever hear of the term monkey’s paw? Well on a ship, that refers to a tightly knotted rope ball that’s tossed down to the dockworker. This small rope then of course guides down the heavier chain that eventually winches the massive ship in close to port.
This is a great analogy in the design world, so maybe it’s best to start your designer off with something small, a low risk kind of thing. Learn how they handle themselves, how they interact with you, and see what kind of design they send back. Small projects that are ideal for a prospective new designer would include a sell sheet, postcard, invitation, banner ad or a short white paper maybe.
If all goes well and you like what they did, maybe now is the time to trust them with a larger project. And continue working with them, building the relationship as you go. But don’t forget that trust works both ways. A good graphic designer will want positive feedback, but a great design partner wants both – what worked and what didn’t, and will want to know how they can improve the next time. So build trust. Small risk now, big rewards later.
Now, let’s talk about that under coating.
Greg Carmichael is the Managing Director of Synergy Design, an accomplished graphic design and marketing-support company near Toronto. He leads a talented team of designers that produce visually effective marketing collateral for print and online, and ensures that their clients have a great experience in working with them.
Connect with Greg on Linked-In