National Stationery Week

Not only is my daughter 6 months old today (29th April), but today is also the start to National Stationery Week.

Personally, I love stationery. The smell of fresh paper, the first mark of a new pen. It’s amazing. It is definitely a big contributing factor to me being a graphic designer.

So I wanted to celebrate today with another stationery lover, Pauline from the League of Gentlemen. Pens are friends!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the state of your business stationery: business cards, letterheads, compliment slips. It is often the first impression that you make, and as we know that is usually a lasting impression.

10 top tips

This week I was asked to write my 10 top tips when appointing graphic designer.  So here they are:

1. Get recommendations – seen something you like, then find out who did it.

2. Meet the designer – you can tell a lot about someone in the first 30 seconds or so, so take time to meet your possible new designer. It will also help them, they will produce better design work if they have met you.

3. Don’t make it a beauty contest – shopping around for the cheapest designer does not guarantee you the results you need.

4. Tell them your budget – be honest straight away. You may not have to find another designer, a good designer will tell you what you can get for your budget and work with you.

5. Write a brief – once you have verbally briefed your designer put pen to paper and create a written brief. This will help the job moving forwards, particularly if you are working with a large firm, you will then be moving in the same direction.

6. Check their terms and conditions – before you start working with a designer check their T&Cs. Will you own the artwork after you have paid them? This is important to know, and will save you huge headaches further down the line.

7. Pay a deposit – creatives these days expect a deposit. This is not unusual, and it is not unreasonable. They are giving away their intellectual property, you are not paying for a computer operator, you are paying for creative thought which is finished off on a computer. Quite different.

8. Take their advice – have faith, if you have chosen the right designer based on the points above, you have done well. Now, let them do their job. Let them create, then give feedback, don’t micro manage them from the beginning of the process. The results will quite frankly be crap.

9. Stick with it – work with your designer for more than just one job, don’t keep moving around. Good designers are passionate about consistency, we are all a little OCD. Embrace this, you will end up with some great results and a stronger brand.

10. Have fun – you are working with a creative person / team. Enjoy it!