6 tips to engage a graphic designer and meet shared expectations

Blog post insight - 6 tips to engage a graphic designer and meet shared expectations - MA Technical Copywriting

To get the best result from a graphic design project – whether an annual report, website, brochure or newsletter – both graphic designers and clients will have their own expectations.

A client will have specific aims on what it wants to achieve. A graphic designer expects to receive a clear client brief and the right information to work with.

Here are 6 tips to meeting these shared expectations:

1. Gaining clarity on both sides

Before selecting a graphic designer, get familiar with their skills and approach by asking for a portfolio of previous work. Then be clear in expressing the outcomes you want to achieve.

Your graphic designer should also make their expectations clear on factors such as:

2. Working to brand guidelines

You may already have a set of brand guidelines you can provide to your graphic designer which define fonts, brand colours, or how your logo should be sized and used. If you don’t have established brand guidelines, your designer should be able to produce 2 or 3 concepts for you to choose from.

Once the design project is complete, if they have produced the concept that you are happy with, this is a great opportunity to engage your designer to develop a set of brand guidelines that you can use for communications consistency in the future.

3. Producing a sample design

Even if you have an established set of brand guidelines, your designer should still produce a sample layout for your approval. That way, you are on the same page from the start. Even better if they can produce a few sample pages relating to different aspects of the document – a section divider page, text and images layout, text box or table format for example.

Producing a sample design takes time however, so understand that a graphic designer should only provide it once costs have been agreed and any advance payments, if applicable, settled.

At the same time, be clear on your requirements – for example, the types of layout do you prefer (your graphic designer could show you some existing designs to provide a few reference points). If you don’t have a set of brand guidelines, are there any particular colours or fonts you prefer or would like to avoid?

4. Working with a copywriter

It is likely there will be a copywriting element to the document you are producing. When choosing a copywriter, check previous ‘nearest fit’ work examples. Look for a copywriter with a visual mind who can conceptualise where key facts and figures can be shown as design elements such as pull-outs, text boxes or infographics.

You should fully review and sign off all copywriting elements before your designer lays them out. If they need to replace copy, it is a duplication of work and becomes even more complex when replacing cherry-picked passages.

The best scenario is for you, your designer and copywriter to directly liaise so you can decide on how key facts or figures can be shown visually. A good copywriter will be able to generate ideas in this respect.

5. Setting the rules for images

Your designer should establish with you at proposal stage who will provide images and what their look and feel should be, as this will affect both cost and time. If it is down to you to provide images, your designer should advise on the resolution needed. You will need a higher resolution for print and lower for digital.

Do you need bespoke photography or will stock images suffice? If you have the budget and would like bespoke images, does your designer know a good photographer?

It is also important to be clear on the agreed look-and-feel image style. What concept would you like to carry through for your images – corporate, arty, colour, black and white? Also be aware that this may well form your image style and be incorporated into your brand guidelines moving forward.

Blog post insight - How to work with a graphic designer - MA Technical Copywriting

6. Keeping it simple and consistent

The best graphic designs are functional. They convey the information they need to through clear, uncluttered presentation, structure and reader accessibility. Your designer should:


When checking each draft, look carefully for consistency. Keep a sharp eye for symmetry in margins, between headings and body text, or spacings around images and logos.

Talk to us

To find out more about the graphic design services MA Technical Copywriting provides, contact us on +44 (0) 1242 230404 or hello@macopywriting.co.uk.

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