Tag Archives: marketing firm

The 8 Agreements for Working With a Graphic Design Firm

computer with artistic sketches doodles. Design is... Steve Jobs quote.

There are a variety of reasons why a small business can benefit from working with a graphic design firm. Skilled graphic designers can help your company shine and organize information efficiently and in a graphically appealing manner. Once you have determined the project you are hiring the graphic design firm for the next step is to establish a clear understanding of who is responsible for each element of the project(s)

8 Agreements for Working with a Graphic Design Firm :

Explain Yourself – know what you are trying to communicate, to who (target audience), how (in print, billboards, or online, etc.). If you are not sure about the direction you need to take, you may want to schedule a marketing consultation or graphic design consultation before you begin working with a graphic design firm on a project that is defined ahead of time. Many graphic design firms offer consultations and provide marketing services to help you at this stage.

Be Prepared – Compile all text, copy, logos, photos, graphics, charts, etc. that will be included when the graphic design firm begins the project. If the graphic design firm is responsible for creating the graphics, locating photography, it is a good idea to share your ideas on style, color, size, etc.

Content – Will you be writing the copy for your project? Will a copy writer be providing copy? If you are working with a graphic design firm that also offers copywriting services request a bid for copywriting. Graphic design services do not automatically include copywriting, choosing headlines, compiling captions, etc.

Proofread – Graphic designers are paying attention to fonts, placement, scale, dimensions, color, graphics, photos and flow. Graphic designers are not editors or proofreaders. Sometimes while working through a project they may catch a typo or inconsistent use of text this is a bonus – this is an editing and proofreading task and is ultimately the client’s responsibility. Make sure you always get a proof and proofread it carefully before you go to print or post online… and then have someone else proofread it again.

Don’t Make Assumptions – You know your small business or organization best. It is important to share everything you want to include or depict. Don’t assume the graphic designer knows which are the featured services, products, mission and message you want to convey. A graphic design firm will learn about your company or organization but you know your organization best. Don’t assume it’s obvious what your company’s unique selling proposition (USP) is. Your current website and other marketing materials may not be explaining it as clearly you hope.

Share Ideas – Provide samples of designs you like. The examples can be from companies in your industry or just eye-catching designs with compelling messages that speak to you. This sharing helps designers follow your desired trajectory right away. A professional graphic designer will not copy these ideas, they will use them as inspiration, a jump off point, to build original work for your company.

When you are working with a design firm and leave it entirely up to them without any examples of what you envision you may have a rocky road ahead. If you are someone who is open to innovation and new ideas and you envision working with a graphic design firm as a refreshing exchange of creativity, give them full reign! It could be a great experience for both parties. If ideas go off track however, you will be paying for the revisions to get them back on track.

Don’t take things personally – a professional graphic designer will present new ideas you may not have considered yet. Be open to hear about the concept. Remember you hired the professionals for their expertise. If you really don’t like the new ideas a professional graphic design firm will not force them. Hopefully a compromise can be offered that merges both ideas and a winning design will result. Remember you are working with a design firm who wants to keep you as a customer, they want you to succeed and sometimes that means attempting to break you out of your comfort zone.

Always Do Your Best – Plan ahead for your graphic design and marketing projects. Whether you are looking for a brochure design, annual report design, logo design or website design, etc. allot enough time for all the project stages and mostly for design time. A full campaign will require more time than a corporate brochure. Creativity can not be turned on and off like a computer. A minimum of two weeks is requested. Although most design firms will do their best to fit in rush jobs, keep in mind you may not be getting their best work when creative time is cut short. Also remember to include the time it will take for the next steps of your projects, committee previews,board approval, printing, distribution, coding, etc.

Connection Group is a marketing and graphic design firm located in the Lansing, Michigan area. We work face to face on graphic design projects for small businesses and organizations in Grand Ledge, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Mason, DeWitt and Charlotte, Michigan. When working with companies throughout Michigan we like the initial meeting to be at your location to get a feel for your business environment.  Connection Group also provides marketing and graphic design services to companies throughout the United States. Consultations via Skype, phone and email offer opportunities to collaborate, share proofs and meet comfortably without additional travel expenses.

If you feel confident working with a graphic design firm is your next step, connect with us today.

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Do you have any magic marketing beans?


I would love to purchase some and plant them for some customers. When their businesses grow as the result of our magic bean planting I would occasionally submit a small report – maybe just a page or two with pretty graphs showing the astronomical growth Connection Group has nurtured in such a short amount of time.

What a great way to live! We would have infinite love and gratitude from hundreds of clients – because once those magic beans are planted for one customer the word will spread and we’d have a full crop of growing companies under our care. What company doesn’t want instant growth through their marketing efforts?

As graphic designers and brand marketers we combine our love of the visual with the experiential and psychological aspects of a brand. As much excitement as a new logo or website design can instill, the often time consuming press releases, consumer research,  blog submissions, and database development required to build a strong foundation for awareness of the brand is like watching a seed take root in the dark. This phase is boring to customers who are only interested in seeing increased sales results.

Sometimes, to our horror, while we are developing roots and studying patterns, some clients will ask us to dig up the seed, maybe try new soil, or plant an entirely new seed to see if it will grow faster. This of course only results in losing ground and burning more daylight. Some marketing companies actually shovel in more fertilizer which appears to increase the yield faster but it doesn’t reap the sweet fruit that buyers return to again and again and tell all their family and friends about.

So for those customers who haven’t allowed time to prepare the soil before seeding and  still expect a bountiful harvest in the first season, the most practical solution I can think of is finding these magic marketing beans. We could celebrate Thanksgiving everyday and bask in the cornucopia of satisfied customers. My bet is though that these magic marketing beans other marketing firms are pushing are loss leaders for them and their top sales product is really the bull fertilizer that’s packaged with them.

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Do You Know What Your Real Job Is? Graphic Design Job Duties Sure Have Changed!

Illustration of Connie Sweet electronic design illustration‘When you were a kid, could you, your teachers, or your parents imagine your current job? … ‘

My job has changed profoundly over my  20+ years in graphic design. In addition, new industries and jobs have developed that didn’t exist in the field when I chose graphic design as my career. In art school we had to sketch out concepts and handwrite text. My first real graphic designer job, I had to determine character count by hand then spec it for a typesetter – heaven forbid if there was a change in the copy after this step. Now, as owner of a graphic design and marketing firm specializing in brand marketing and website design, the occupation I enjoy as a graphic designer is a far cry from the description from the Kendall College of Art Design catalog back then.

Is your job title one that was included in a compiled Occupation List from Middle School? Is the title the same with vastly different tasks and techniques? Or has the original job you started fresh out of school been eliminated and you have reinvented yourself along the way?

While considering the industries I have been fortunate to work with through Connection Group, brick and mortar retail, real estate brokerages, marketing firms, I have seen and felt the tremendous changes each has implemented to continually evolve to meet todays business climate. How much has your ‘occupation type’ changed since you started your career path? I would love to hear where you started and where you are now, how vastly your tasks have changed since you entered the job market and set your career path.

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