Marketing is an exercise in switching from left-brain thinking to right-brain thinking. And it can be exhausting. One minute, you are digging through spreadsheets, budgets, and campaign ROI. The next minute, you are thinking through the design of a new brochure or website. By the time you sit down with a designer to map out the creative elements, you already have a vision of what it should look like and what it should say. You just need someone with the tools and the time to give you exactly what you want.

As you know, getting exactly what you want may not always be the best approach. Sometimes your vision doesn’t quite match with what is possible given the timeline, budget, or available resources.

Think of your designer as a partner — a valuable resource for a creative campaign that works beyond your vision to deliver the right campaign. But, you need to start somewhere, and it can be confusing and difficult to clearly articulate your campaign vision to a design team.

Here are some basic guidelines to help you get started.

Tips to Improve Communication with Your Designer

  1. Visuals are a powerful common language. Find examples of design that you would like to use — websites, magazine ads, or even competitors’ brochures. Articulate what you like and why. It can be even more fruitful to give examples that you don’t like and why.
  2. Your designer is creative, but not a mind-reader. When you say, “I want something modern,” a designer may not know if you mean Jetson’s or Miro. Designers have their own language and terminology. Leading, bleed and resolution all mean something different to a designer. While you don’t need to memorize a list of definitions, knowing some key words can lead to more productive discussions – and less wasted time – with your designer. Learn basic terminology and action-oriented descriptive words with our Illustrated Design Guide.
  3. Use design to create a call to action. Use descriptive words that evoke what you want your audience to think or feel when they encounter your campaign. At first, design is about creating a feeling. Good design is about getting the audience to act on that feeling.
  4. Make your designer an expert. As a marketer, you have developed a deep knowledge of your customer and have built your marketing programs around that expertise. Take the time to educate your designer. The more they know about your audience and the goals of your program, the smoother the design process will be.
  5. Quick feedback is crucial. Design is a process, so you should expect things to not be perfect on the first round. Review all designs with your designer and give specific feedback about what don’t you like and why. Designers can respond to statements like: “I don’t like the plain white background because it seems too sterile. My property is fun and lively. We want people to feel that energy”. But it is difficult to respond to a simple, “I don’t like it”. Be honest, straightforward, and use objective feedback to help guide the next revision.  
  6. Designers love it when you ask questions. They are experts in what they do and love to share their expertise. They have experience working with dozens of clients on hundreds of projects. They eat, sleep, and breath design; they probably have ideas that you never would even think of. Ask your designer for their opinion on the project. What would they design? What other creative ways could you bring the campaign to life?
  7. Two keys to the design equation: time and money. Do you need it fast? Have a tight budget? Be sure to talk about timelines, scope, and budget up front. Be honest about what you can give to this project. Your designer likely has other projects on their plate, so setting expectations up front will help him prioritize and balance his workload.

Make Creative Campaign Design Your Game-Changer

A marketing campaign that thoughtfully brings together your marketing strategy with good design can be a game-changer for your brand. Great design can raise awareness and visibility for your brand, as well as solidify your identity to your audience. Knowing that your designer is your partner in the creative process is key to getting a great result from your next campaign.

We’ve developed our Illustrated Design Guide to help marketers talk-the-talk with their designers, so they can clearly articulate their vision for marketing creative work. This guide  gives you the visuals and words to help you explain your vision more clearly.

View the Illustrated Design Guide.