The overtly creative part of any design project is often quite short. There is a concentrated process of idea generation and assessment, from which the direction to take is usually clear.
What follows is the longer and often more demanding road to implementation.
- Keep in frequent touch with the designer working on your project to check that everything is proceeding to your satisfaction, and that they are keeping to the design brief.
- To be kept informed of the cost and time implications of any changes. Most overruns are the result of moving the goalposts. If your project objectives change along the way, make sure you understand all the consequences.
- Agreeing the brief is just the start of the process. Producing great design is a team effort. Teams work best when the team members share mutual respect and trust. Designers appreciate clients who know what they want, but they also expect to have a role in influencing the storyline you develop. If you don’t give them the freedom to be creative they will lose commitment to you and the project and you may get second-rate design.
- Don’t spoil the relationship by being parochial and subjective about details like colours and fonts. If you don’t think the solution will work for your target audience, ask the designers to develop an alternative. Don’t conceal your anxieties but don’t start telling them how to solve the problems: that is what you are paying them for.
The successful design manager is:
- A passionate defender of the brand.
- Never compromises on quality.
- Values creativity but knows how to walk the tightrope between creativity and constraint.