Graphic design is a field that’s often misunderstood or even disrespected. With templated tools like Canva and an infinite library of stock graphics online; many see graphic design as an easy task that requires little time and effort to be done well. This is true to a certain extent—templated designs with solid aesthetics are easy to create and distribute. However, custom, professional graphic design is another matter entirely—requiring strong problem solving, plenty of research, and lots of time and effort to be completed. For anyone looking to work with a professional designer, here are some tips to make the experience as positive as possible:

Have a clear idea of what you want

It’s vitally important to have a clear picture of what kind of designs you need and of the goals you want the designs to accomplish. It’s not a good idea to hire a designer with a “I’ll know what I want when I see it” mindset. If you’re not entirely sure what you need, just talk to the designer about what kind of goals your business is trying to achieve and who your audience is; then you can evaluate what kinds of designs would be helpful for achieving your goals. Graphic design is a problem-solving discipline. If you and the designer are not clear on what problems need solving, than the whole process will be confusing and the designs won’t be strong.

Content first, design later

It’s tempting to hire a designer for an urgent project that isn’t 100% ready yet. For example, maybe you need a brochure design but don’t have all the text and photos ready yet. Asking a designer to create a basic design with placeholder text and images until the actual content is ready is not the best solution. Great graphic design is content-driven—it’s designed to showcase the most important things while structuring all the content in an aesthetic way. If the designer doesn’t have all the content, they’re designing blind. Making sure all your content is ready from the start will result in much better designs for your organization.


Remember who the design is for

The best designs are tailor-made for a specific audience. Often, what the audience likes will be different from what the stakeholders in the business like. If a designer creates something you don’t like, take a minute and look at it from your audience’s perspective. Would they like it? Make sure the answer is yes. Great designers will have strong logic and research behind every decision they make—every font, color and layout choice will be made with the target audience in mind. Even if the design isn’t something that resonates with you, remember that it’s really for your audience.


Stock designs might be easy, but custom-made content is still the most quality option for any organization looking to stand apart from the crowd. The best way to work with a graphic designer is by building a relationship built on mutual respect and open communication. Designers create their best work when they know their skills are respected and appreciated.

Keep getting creative,