If you’re hiring a digital agency to redo your website or handle your inbound marketing, your team will likely include a designer. Working with a digital agency will ultimately improve your online presence, but for your partnership to be as successful as possible, it helps to have everyone on the same page from the start.
We sat down with our design team and posed a simple question: “to achieve the best possible end product, what do you wish all clients knew about working with a web designer?” Here are a few tips they shared.
Appreciate white space
White space is frequently regarded as “empty space,” implying that it’s a waste of screen space, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s one of the essential building blocks for good, clean design. It also separates text and graphics into easily digestible sections of content and is used to highlight important areas of the page, like CTA placement. White space creates a better aesthetic experience for the visitor, giving them the room to read the content without distraction.
Understand the web design process
Web design is truly a process and effective designs take time. Some projects come together quickly, while others take longer to research, brainstorm, and draft before they’re complete. Not one, not two, but several discussions and reviews of work may take place to get the designs where they need to be.
As your web design team works diligently to refine the designs, you can help streamline the process by providing valuable information like:
- The emotions you want the design to evoke
- Background about your industry and client base
- Any colors, styles, fonts, etc. that you know are off-limits
- Constructive feedback about why a design is or isn’t working
Be open to suggestions and flexible with constraints. In the end, it’s everyone’s goal to create a fresh, new perspective that conveys your message effectively.
Knowing your audience
Knowing who your key visitors will be—or who you want them to be—and understanding what they need from your website helps your designers and website developers create a site tailored to your target audience’s needs. For inbound marketing projects and many of our website projects, Raka uses buyer personas to help us better understand our target audience.
Additionally, researching your competitors’ websites and websites outside your industry will give you a better idea of what you want. Your web design team also will conduct their own research, but knowing what your organization likes and dislikes are important insights that can help steer the design process.
Communicate with key employees
If you know that the support of senior management is integral to getting any design approved, get their input before proceeding with design. If it’s too difficult to get the CEO to respond to a design questionnaire, make sure senior management sees the designs before approving a website for development. Involving everyone from the start will leave less room for miscommunication down the road when all is said and done.
Provide technical and brand guidelines
Take time to provide your designers with your company’s most current brand guidelines. This is essential to creating a new piece that will consistently and effectively represent your brand and messaging.
If your brand guide is dated or you don’t have one, this is a great opportunity to update or create one. You don’t have to hire an agency just to create a brand guide (but that will give you the best product). Brand guidelines can be as simple as defining colors, fonts, accepted uses of your logo, legal requirements for any copyright marks, and messaging. Here’s a simple explanation of a brand guide and Twitter’s brand guide as an example.
If you need to get the best files to your designer and you’re not sure what they need, ask your agency for a punch list of the files they need for your logos and branding. This should include preferred formats, resolution, and sizes. Your agency should be able to tell you which file formats work best for the intended uses.
Ultimately, a great designer is willing to work with you to include your suggestions in an effective way without taking away from the user experience. Collaboration and trust are critical qualities for a successful end product.