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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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Loving Lansing

As a marketing and design firm specializing in branding solutions we work with customers across the United States and Canada. We are located in the Lansing, Michigan area and much of our clientele are in Lansing and Grand Rapids. In the over twelve years of launching Connection Group, I have been pleased to see the growth and improvements both of these cities have made. Since I attended Kendall College of Art and Design in the, dare I say it – 80s’, Grand Rapids skyline and downtown offerings have improved dramatically. Areas where once I was tentative to ride my bike have now become revitalized, thriving neighborhoods.  With the diverse corporations and big donor names such as VanAndel and DeVos, Grand Rapids has been blessed with a stream of  financial gifts and investments.

Lansing, on the other hand, with its deep roots in the auto industry, has seen challenges and limited financial support. Even though it is the state capital of Michigan, the challenges the State has encountered has limited  state investment  and growth for the city. Fortunately, with a new diverse group of industries moving to the city, including many large insurance corporations, biotech companies, and of course the continued growth at MSU, Cooley Law School, and the many other higher education institutions, Lansing is growing and attracting a dynamic group of young residents. Downtown Lansing has expanded its offerings for nightlife and entertainment and Oldtown has continued to be a destination for celebrating the arts with its many festivals and locally owned boutique shops.

Local online newspaper, Capital Gains has dedicated a lot of ink to share the many wonderful events, happenings and growth Lansing is experiencing. Recently they featured a couple of articles on one of our favorite clients, Lambs’ Gate Antiques. Lambs’ Gate is locally owned by Carol Lamb. The first store in Grand Ledge has enjoyed much success throughout the years and Carol boldly chose to expand this Spring and opened Lambs’ Gate Antiques in OldTown. Managed by her daughter-in-law Ashley, the new store is the epitome of what is OldTown, eclectic, unique and colorful.

To learn more about the shops please view the Capital Gains article about Lambs’ Gate and the Lambs’ Gate Web site. To read more about the young talent Lansing is attracting and get a glimpse of why Lambs’ Gate Oldtown is experiencing such a welcoming response, read the Capital Gains article on Dan and Ashley Lamb.

Be sure to friend the Lambs’ Gate Antiques facebook site and join the newsletter to receive monthly coupons!