5 Techniques for Improving Relationships with Your Graphic Designer

Posted by Mike Vallone on May 1, 2013 9:51:00 AM

by Michael Vallone

5 Techniques for Improving Relationships with Designers

Lets face it – Designers are a different breed. Many people have to interact with us every day. People even rely on us for important business doings. It can sometimes be unpleasant, but here’s a list of techniques you can use to make this interaction go a little more smoothly. 

1. Fuel us: Black Nectar of the Gods

Coffee. Coffee. And more coffee. We live on this $#!+. We’d shower in it if we could.  The sedentary nature of our careers, coupled with long hours and an unwillingness to let something go unfinished so we can get quality sleep drives a need for regular injections of energy throughout the day.

We can be a curmudgeonly bunch, so best steer clear until we’ve had at least 3 mugs of the dark stuff enter life back into our systems. When it kicks in, its like we’re Dorothy first setting foot into Oz. Colors are brighter. Birds are chirping. Eff Disney, that little boutique coffee shop on the corner is the happiest place on Earth. Buy us a Big Gulp of the stuff and we’ll be friends forever. Or at least until the caffeine wears off.


2. Say “The logo looks perfect at that exact size”

The four words most hated by all designers everywhere: “Make the logo bigger.” Bigger is not always better. Most designers have spent many sleepless nights and dedicated countless hours honing their craft.

One of the most important things we’ve learned is hierarchy.  It’s a delicate balance that we promise you, we’ve thought long and hard about. The logo is that size for a reason, so please trust our judgment. A simple swap of these two phrases, and you’ll be well on your way to an improved relationship with your designer.


3. Trick us into leaving our desks.

You’ve seen us. Perpetually slumped over our keyboards, doing our best to reverse millions of years of evolution into upright beings. We’re task-oriented creatures. Once we’ve started something, we won’t leave that position until it’s PERFECT (see previous technique).  Our eyes burn, our backs hurt, and we’re probably talking to our computers like they’re mischievous little imps hell bent on making our jobs more frustrating.

We’ll never admit this, but we really need a break.  And we can even be a good time when that bastard machine isn’t deleting our unsaved files.   


4. Ask us our opinion.

Ok, so this one might be painful. You don’t have to agree, just ask.  In fact, we might enjoy it more if you do disagree. This “critical eye” we’ve been developing that helps us do what we do has undoubtedly bled into everything else in our worlds. We hold taste above all else and we love to critique everything. You may see Michael Bay as an entertaining action film director; We see all that is wrong with this world.

Now this may come off as negative, but it’s just our brains identifying a shortcoming and thinking on how to improve it (like learning that character development and storytelling can’t be replaced with special effects explosions). We see the world this way and nothing gets us going like discussing our opinions on each and every matter with others. If we’re unbearable, just hum the tune to the “Andy Griffith Show” in your head until our lips stop moving. That should at least buy you some brownie points.


5. CAKE!

...speaking of brownies. Who doesn’t like cake? No one, that’s who. Have you seen the diet of a typical designer (barring the Pretentious-Walking-Yelp-Foodie-Type)?

Its like we go grocery shopping at 7-11 and then stash our findings in our desks like that little shrew from Ice Age. We eat like we’re 8 years old. Go ahead and ask an 8 year old what their favorite food is… go ahead… Pizza? Ok, yeah, that’s probably right, but cake is a close second. And just for the record, we’re not turning down pizza either.


Well, there you have it folks. Ask us what we think about the new American Airlines logo, get us an IV drip of coffee, drag us out of our seats, and most importantly – trust our expertise. We take our trade very seriously.  Now lets go eat some cake and be friends. But not that spice cake nonsense. That’s just wrong.


Mike Vallone Hill & Partners Designer

Our People

Mike Vallone (aka Valloney-Cakes) is a World-Class Burger Aficionado and Graphic Design Guru with an inexplicable ravenous pride for anything Buffalo, NY. When not indulging in meaty goodness while discussing the economic boom spawned by the Erie Canal, he can be found refining the typographic details of functional Branded Environments at Hill & Partners.

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Topics: Tips & Tricks, From the Experts