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Have you ever tried to explain to someone exactly what you wanted but you weren’t quite clear on how to articulate it? Then you find yourself rambling and talking in circles in hopes that it eventually makes sense in the end, only to leave you and the listener confused. This is a very common scenario between entrepreneurs and graphic designers.

So often entrepreneurs pull up with either an unclear explanation of their brand or too little information and expect to get back exactly what’s in their head. And sometimes they don’t even have a clear idea in their heads either.

You can imagine how frustrating this can be for both parties involved. It may be tempting to think that graphic designers are mind readers, but they’re not. They’re also not vending machines. You can’t just walk up and deposit money with little to no input and get a desired “snack.” Even with vending machines, you have to give clear input.

While graphic designers aren’t psychic, they are, however, creatives. This means that the more tangible and clear details you provide, the more likely you are to get what you need for your business. And heads up: sometimes what we want and what we need are two different things. 

As a brand strategist, I work with clients to help them figure these things out. But since I’m not a graphic designer myself, I went and asked a few of my graphic designer friends for some tips on what you should bring to the table when reaching out to work with them.

Before You Work With Graphic Designers For Your Business, Clearly Know The "Five Ws"

1. Who are you targeting?

2. What are you offering?

3. Where will you reach your audience?

4. When someone sees your brand, how do you want them to feel?

5. Why does your business exist?

Many of these questions can be answered with a clear business plan and, of course, by meeting with a brand strategist. But knowing these answers will undoubtedly help you get closer to bringing your brand to life. The right relationship with your graphic designer can take your brand to the next level.

Common Mistakes You Want To Avoid

1. Thinking that your logo is your brand. 

Your brand is bigger than your logo, website or font choices. Your brand is in short, how you make people feel. A cute logo can not make up for bad customer service or a bad product.

When you think about your brand, you have to expand your thoughts to the overall customer experience. Your logo can be anything you want it to be, but it’s your job to make the consumer feel a way about that logo.

Now, I don’t want to give you the impression that the way it looks doesn’t matter. The emotions evoked by the color scheme and design of your logo will go a long way. Just don’t try to make your logo tell your whole story. Keep it simple and memorable, like Apple and Target.

2. Not being open

It may be your first time working with a graphic designer, but you are likely the graphic designers’ hundredth entrepreneur. It’s OK to stand on their toes and let them lead while you dance. Think of it as an opportunity to learn the steps because you may very well get what you need instead of what you want.

If everything works the way it should, the relationship with your designer will be a valuable one holding tremendous benefits. This relationship is so much more than a simple transaction. When handled the right way, you both can visually bring to life a brand that you love.

Bonus Tips From My Perspective As A Brand Strategist

1. Know your unique brand message (your why)

2. Know your audience in an intimate way

3. Know adjectives to describe how your business feels

4. Know what emotional problem you solve for people

5. Know that you are creating a business for your audience

What’s the commonality? Know. Your. Brand.

Know your business, know who you are talking to and what emotional need you provide. Bring this knowledge to your graphic designer and, while they may not be a magician, watch them work some magic.