Katy Cesarotti | Gallery Design Studio Editor + Copywriter
Long-term creative partners can function as a seamless extension of your marketing team: they can anticipate your feedback, craft custom solutions, and intuitively “get” what you’re looking for.
But at first, as you learn how best to work together, the process might not be smooth sailing.
Great content comes from great communication. With the right collaboration tactics, you can empower your creative partner to deliver the amazing results you’re looking for.
1. Goal: A creative team that "gets” what you need
Open communication should come from both sides as designers share early mock-ups and inspiration, and your team shares feedback and sample work you love. Think about what you like: flip through magazines, past projects, the websites of other industry leaders. Speaking through inspiring examples helps creative partners “get” what you need in terms of tone and aesthetics.
At the beginning, the first few projects might take a little extra time. As you build your relationship, you can build a workflow that streamlines project and approval, and reduce the onboarding time required for the creative team to speak your language, literally or visually.
2. Goal: Fast turnarounds and comprehensive solutions
Once you’ve gotten into the groove with some initial successes, look forward to plan ahead for the future. Provide a monthly or quarterly outlook of anticipated projects to help you and your creative team be proactive.
It doesn't have to be super detailed or granular, but a high-level overview helps your creative partner project for the future and block out time around crucial deadlines. Even a rough outlook can prevent last-minute scramble and ensure that you have adequate time to brief on and review key projects.
3. Goal: Best-in-class Design
Choose your creative team wisely. Before starting a project, look through their portfolio and compare their work to your vision for your company and ensure they can meet your quality standards.
It can be difficult to entrust an outside team with projects when they don’t have the deep knowledge of your company and your brand that you do. But when you have to micromanage every step of the design, you won’t get the stress relief and increased time you wanted when you hired an outside partner in the first place.
Creative teams work with visuals and content all day, every day—great designers know what they’re doing, and can handle the responsibility of independence. Plus, creative work isn’t a one-and-done solution. Iteration and edits are built into the process as designers work through rounds to get closer to your desired version. If the first round doesn’t align with your vision, don’t worry—trusting the process will help you get the wow-worthy design you’re looking for.
4. Goal: Increase efficiency with concise, organized feedback
Great feedback goes beyond the surface level, to think about the “how?” or the “why”? Instead of “like” or “don’t like” language for the whole design, try to pinpoint where your reaction is coming from: maybe the color is too glaring, or the language is too stiff for your go-with-the-flow brand.
Sometimes the issue is upstream or downstream from the pain point: maybe that paragraph midway down the page isn’t working because the introduction needs clarification. Focused feedback can empower your creative partner to effectively enact your feedback throughout the whole project.
Collaboration is great, but when every member of the team wants to chip in with edits and suggestions, the review process can quickly snowball. Funnel change requests and revisions through one point of contact who champions the project. Bundle feedback in one email thread for smooth communication that ensures all edits are organized and incorporated.
When possible, online platforms like G Suite make it easier to share and review work. In Google Docs and Slides, your team can assign specific tasks to specific email addresses, making it easy for both teams to find and resolve any necessary revisions. For PDF designs, add comments or edit requests in that document with the comment feature. The more documents that are floating around in space, the more chance that outdated versions might circulate.
Ultimately, a successful relationship all comes down to clear communication and mutual understanding. As you and your creative partner develop a deeper partnership, you’ll smooth out some of the initial hitches in the design process. Open collaboration and thoughtful systems can ensure your creative team can craft purposeful content that fits your business needs.
About Gallery Design Studio
We’re passionate about supporting B2B businesses with marketing and communication design. As ongoing partners, we help clients transform complex information into clean, engaging visual content. Relentlessly curious, we're inspired by experimentation and always striving to better serve our clients.
Get the creative support you deserve. Contact us today.
About the Writer
Katy Cesarotti is a copywriter at Gallery Design Studio. Katy believes that, with clear and concise copy, innovators can spark emotion and drive action in their readers. She’s written for magazines, blogs and cutting-edge startups.