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Communicating with your Graphic Design Company

Graphic Design Companies in South Africa reviewed by Clutch in 2021 had arty, yet somewhat naive taglines. You, as the signatory of an organization would have to read: “We create interactive experiences” (read expensive interactions) or “We increase traffic” or even “We Design Cape Town” (social science students, this is not your time). Cut through the mumbo jumbo of the marketing inspiration, and you’ll get to what you want – a hassle-free, innovative, and driven graphic design company that takes your idea and realizes it, makes the picture in your head somewhat tangible, be it in digital or in print. It is however important to know how to communicate your design brief to the agency that you’ve chosen to partner with.

Many brand managers often forget that the X factor which translates well on desktop disappears on the stark background of a building or a panel vehicle. That in South Africa, and abroad, online companies are underpinned by brick-and-mortar stores which need to be seen and remembered. And that 2-year vinyl doesn’t move like pixels. That Gold is often seen as black, that this year’s pantone is last year’s prison wear, and that “making it pop”, is not clear directive.­­

Here are a 6 tips to guide you.

1. Be specific about What You Want

Blue is Trust, Yellow, this Season’s Colour and then, there are 50 Shades of Grey

Clients will point to their laptop screen saying: “I want it this colour.” Any good graphic designer asks for co-ordinates because our green is not particularly your green. There is a miniscule difference between what you perceive on your screen and what we see on ours. Every colour indexed in the HEX/ RGB scale, has a CMYK value, so you can get the finish you’ve envisioned. Here is the colour picker chart for your convenience.

Then ask yourself “what emotion does my colour elicit?”

Remember emotions and trends are seasonal. Therefore, if you’re after longevity in the market, stick with the primary colours (also indexed). Google is a wonderful example of this. While subject to micron hue changes, avatar, thumbprint, and message optimization, Google has maintained a palette of primary school colours because they’ve worked for over 30 years. Miniscule hue variations are not obvious.

Even “primary colours” are subject to hues: a touch of white, a soupçon of black and it is no longer primary. A good digital design company will ask you which application your logo might have. Offset a light pink logo on dark slate site and it looks stunning, put it against a white background, and it could disappear. Remember with colours consistency is king. You do not want a logo or website famed for being fifty shades of grey.

2. Remember Designers are not animators

This brings to mind another request. “I want the butterflies to move!” – Well yes, then jiggle your screen? Design has come a long way and we’re not averse to creating a mobius strip here or there. Graphic design companies should be mindful of the brain-fooling, mesmerizing tricks of the trade. This is a given. But we are limited to what the human brain interprets. No, we cannot make butterflies fly off your screen. If we could, we would be in robotics. But what we can do is innovate. Vanishing perspectives are part of our trade. In fact, we’re confident enough to give merit to other designers who have done impossible feats with circles.

3. Questions to Ask Yourself Before Engaging a Graphic Design Company

  • What you want?
  • Where you want it?
  • Device and resolution limitations
  • How it will be perceived?
  • Have you solidified your brand position?
  • What results are you seeking?

Answer these and you’ll be ready to brief your Graphic Design Company.

If you want moving butterflies, we can do video. A logo on a website is however largely static, although subject to hover. And user behaviour. There is a little experimental leeway though.

4. Keep Renderings to a Minimum

We do our utmost to save you cost. Thus, we keep renderings to a minimum. A minor change on a concept is a rendering. A change of concept is a scrap and rework. The latter costs more. Whether you are a small concern or a larger one with an inhouse design studio, it’s important to note that with renderings, time, and consequent cost is involved. It is imperative to be clear on your initial brief to a team.

5. Review Your Creative Assets: (Vectors are Not Free, nor Are Photos)

Look for that tiny line on your final invoice which itemizes intellectual property rights purchase plus markup. It is a pithy expense, and you could land up looking like three other websites or companies distributing the same product. Not a desirable graphic outcome.

Again, we’re about saving you cost. All our vectors and similar visual assets are created and captured by us.

6. Choose a Multi-Discipline Graphic Design Company

Marketers, writers, and designers work in a close choreography. A writer will ask for creative assets before proceeding and a designer will ask for the content before opening their Adobe. Big graphic design concepts are minimized by small writing efforts and vice versa. Your Brand ambassador, or Campaign Manager will make sure that the final product reflects your business goals. *More about this below)

And Finally, ROI

“Design is Intelligence made visible” Alina Wheeler, author.

If internet traffic and ROI (Return on Investment) is what you are after, please remember to use a multi-discipline graphic design company. Marketers bring traffic to the site or position your brand. A designer can only work with the traffic that exists. But it all begins with your marketer. The artist and writers motivate for a click through – what ultimately becomes a conversion, revenue, is your product and how you present it on your landing page.

“We’re designers, we are not Gods” Anon

You could spend thousands on the creative design aspect, but the reality is that no matter how amazing the design, how convincing the copy, and how aggressive the marketer, your company is only as good as its service or product. But if your landing page is boring, people will navigate away to competitors. Websites require maintenance and seasonal spring cleaning. A 404 is the last thing you want.

Think about it this way: if a bad driver takes your pristinely branded vehicle onto the road, all that you spent on your logo, website, wrapping and market positioning, all the blood sweat and tears that we put in to make it so, becomes moot!

Design is merely part of the bigger picture.