How to Work with a Designer

Nobody is born an expert. So if you haven’t worked with a design firm before we thought we’d share some of what we’ve learned over the years. It’s not complicated, but here are a few tips to make the process go more smoothly and get the most creative work, too.

Three things to know

1) Designers are problem-solvers.
Sure, we’re creative but we also understand and apply research, define strategy, and design brands that meet our clients’ objectives.

2) Designers are partners in your business success.
You know your business and we know how to solve problems. The best ideas are born when we collaborate and everyone shares their knowledge.

3) Hire a design team that’s as passionate about your project as you are.
Quite simply, you’ll get better work from people you want to work with, and who want to work with you.

Let’s get started

Most designers have a process they follow to create your work. Here’s an example of ours for a new packaging campaign.

  • Initial Meeting
  • Scope Sheet
  • Proposal
  • Research
  • Kick-off Meeting
  • Creative Concepts
  • Concept Refinement
  • Assigning Art
  • Final Files & Oversee Printing
  • Follow-up

Initial Meeting: This is where we ask lots of questions and we listen. We begin to understand your business, goals, competition, retail environment, even your supply chain. We want to know everything that will impact the success of this package.

Scope Sheet: This simple document helps you focus on how your package needs to work and makes sure you and your team have clear goals and expectations for the design team. This is also where you share your budget. If you know what you want to spend on the project it will make it much easier for us to recommend an approach. » Download Scope Sheet (PDF)

Proposal: This is more than a quote – it’s a road map of how the project will work. We tailor it to your design objectives, budget, and schedule. By the time we’ve finished, all the project phases are clear to everyone involved.

Research: We perform both online research and visits to retail environments. We talk with sales people and customers to learn how your products are doing at the point of sale.

Kick-off Meeting: Now we have the background needed to begin developing your package. We’ll share strategic input on the best way to use your resources to reach your goals.

Creative Concepts: We take what we’ve learned and put ourselves in your customer’s place. Where do they shop? How is that experience? What do they think of the competitor’s product?

We’ll present at least 3 targeted concepts that meet your objectives for the package. These are shared as 2-D drawings or 3-D mockups at actual size.

Note: We believe in the importance of working with a good copywriter – they’re often instrumental to the strategy development. If you already have an in-house writer that’s great. If not, we’re happy to provide referrals.

Concept Refinement: After you’ve chosen a concept, we refine one direction based on your responses.

Assigning Art: If applicable, we find the right photographer and/or illustrator with a style appropriate for your brand and product, and share our art direction. With illustrators, this is often done virtually. With photographers, we’re often right in the studio with them.

Final Files & Oversee Printing: The quality of the final package is what the consumer will see, so execution is key. We liaise with the printer from the beginning to ensure the highest quality and save you on printing costs. We can work with your printer or suggest quality printers we’ve used before. Plus, if it’s the best choice for your project, we’re familiar working with overseas printers.

Note: There are ways to economize, even when the job is on the press, that don’t lower quality. We’ve often covered our design fees just by what we’ve saved clients in printing costs.

Follow-up: What worked? What needs improvement? Our process is all about building a relationship and being a partner in growing your business. We want to know what you’re hearing from sales, retailers, and customers about the package to allow us to make the next one even more effective.

Look for the signs of good design

So that’s it: pick a design firm with talented people you like, who are as into your business as you are, and have a proven process that works…and we hope we’ll be at the top of your list.

Lamfers & Associates
Lamfers & Associates
Lamfers & Associates