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Process & Personalities: Tips for Project Managers Working with Designers

by Erica Manning

Working on a project with graphic designers can feel challenging. Typically, careers in project management or operations attract a different personality type than people who are attracted to artistic fields. Differences in communication style and work environment preferences can make team members feel at odds with one another. Taking a collaborative as opposed to an adversarial attitude can help designers and their project managers capitalize on everyone’s strengths. A design project can really stand out when team members are all valuably contributing. Here are a few tips:

Define roles and responsibilities.

Who is responsible for each task in the project and by when? Allowing the team to walk through the project plan together ensures each person knows the impact of their task, who holds what information, and when the critical milestones are. This gives team members the tools to make informed decisions, especially when faced with unanticipated project obstacles.

Make sure designers know all the parameters.

Beautiful design still needs to function. Designers need to know their audience and how their product will be used. Is the target audience color-blind or elderly? Will the final product be printed or emailed? Will the pieces be translated? It is an unpleasant surprise when you find out there isn’t enough space to fit the Russian text or that the font is too small for an older audience.  Knowing these important factors in advance can prevent a compromised design fraught with the need for future fixes and backtracking – headaches that always require additional time, money, and anxiety.

Let designers design.

Letting designers know what clients like and don’t like is helpful to meeting style expectations.  However, be careful not to just tell them what to do. Putting artistic or subjective parameters on designers restricts them from contributing their expertise, skills and creativity and can hamper their ability to meet the project’s end goals. Unless there is a specific project requirement, like a client-color they need to align the art with, give designers room to bring their personal best to the project.

Following these few guidelines can remove frustration and anxiety from your graphic design projects. When each individual on a team is given the tools they need and the freedom to contribute, the spirit of teamwork will flourish, resulting in a smooth process and a superior finished product!

Read our other blogs in our Branding and Design series:

Top Branding Strategies

Your Branding Project Questions to Ask Before Starting

Clinical Trial Branding: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Branding vs. Marketing

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