Prepare for your next online project with Simon Says
What your designer needs to know
Written by Simon
We love sinking our teeth into a new project here at Pople Media Solutions – whether it be a new website, a print job, a brand design or putting together a digital strategy. One of our first ports of call on almost any new project lies in the hands of our graphic designer extraordinaire, Simon.
With years of experience in web design, Simon has imparted his knowledge to give you the ultimate beginners guide to what your designer needs from you to get your project off to a flying start. So, take heed from what Simon Says and your next web adventure will be a doddle.
References Sure it’s the designer’s job to come up with something for you, it’s their job. But every now and then you may have something very particular in mind. Whether it’s for your existing branding that you want to have carried across into a set of printed brochures or cards, or something completely new, your designer needs to have a starting off point. Think of it like buying a Birthday present; you need to know what your friend likes, what their taste are, in order to get them something they’ll really like. The secret to this is open communication. Designers are “visual communicators” by trade, and they love to get to know you, what you like, and what you want. The more you can show/tell them, the better a job they’ll do and, let’s face it, all they want to do is a good job! Even if you don’t have any examples of what you like, talk to your designer about it and they will do some research for you to help get started and make things nice and easy for you.
Do you have your Content ready? Design comes in two major parts: form and function. It’s easy for a designer make things look pretty for you - that’s the fun part. But the real trick is to make it work. They have to take everything you want to say and condense it into a sometimes limited space. This is particularly key for print work. Let’s say you want an A4 double sided tri-fold leaflet. That’s 6 panels - vertical panels - your designer has to work with and they have to make sure it’s not all crammed in there. To combat this issues, it’s key to give your designer a heads up as to how much content there’s gonna be. If you’re breaking your copy down into segments about the different services your business offers, then give them a rough word count for each one. That way your designer knows how much copy they have to fit into a small space and they’ll have a better chance of working out the sizes and layout for you in the first drafts, saving lots of time. Your designer will understand if you want to make tweaks to your text, it’s only natural, but if you increase your word count for one section by 100+ words they’re going to have to rearrange the whole document for you. Now, your designer won’t mind doing this for you, but it’s your time they’re spending, so it’s really important to have content, or at least some idea about it, at the ready for your designer to work their magic with.
Do you have your own images to use? Most of you probably won’t have any images to use, and that’s ok. Your designer will happily source some for you. They will know plenty of places to source high quality photos and other images for your project. Maybe you’ve had a photographer in previously and they’ve supplied you with some great shots - if so, pass them on to your designer. The ones you have may not be the best file size, but ask your photographer nicely and they will often send you over the original files in all their glory, and these will be great for your designer to work with. If you do have some pictures, check to see if they fit the basic requirements.
+ Are they large enough? Big photos are very popular in modern design work, and they can say a 1000 words at a time. You’re better off using huge images that can be scaled to fit your needs than tiny photos that will look unprofessional when blown up.
+ Do you have the right to use them? If you’ve taken the pictures yourself, or you hired someone to take them for you - that’s great, no worries. But if you’ve pulled them off someone else’s website or Google images without permission, this is a big no-no. It’s actually illegal to do so, it’s the same as downloading a movie or an album without paying for it. Taking someone else’s intellectual property can get you into a lot of legal trouble, so if in doubt, don’t use it, it’s not worth the risk.
+ What’s the resolution? If you’re having a web project done, this may not matter as much, but for print, it’s all about the pixels. Most printers won’t accept images with a resolution under 300dpi (dots per inch) or at the very least 240dpi. The reason being is that they will look poor on the final result. Without high enough resolution, your images will look blurry and pixelated which can ruin your project. It can be the difference a striking professional appearance and a lost opportunity.
If you’re unsure on how to check your image res, a good clue is usually in the size. If your photos size is around 2mb or more, then chances are it’ll be good quality. Anything under, and get your designer to check for you - they can easily do so.
Do you have any preferences to colour? We’d be surprised if you didn’t, but this may be the first design project you’ve ever undertaken, and you’re not sure on how to start - this is what your designer is here for. Sit down and have a chat with them about what colours you want. It doesn’t hurt for you to bring something along with a colour you like if you have one, it doesn’t matter if it’s something in a magazine or even a wallpaper sample. Designers love colours and anything you can bring to show them is of great help. If not, let them have a look around for you. Your favourite colour might be fluorescent lime green, but this might not look great for your business. Talk to your designer and don’t be offended if they recommend something different to what you first thought. Your designer will probably have experience working with different sectors, and understands what they call “The Psychology of Colour”, and how to best get it work not only with your print project, but with the people you want to take notice of your business.