PRSAHR delves inside the mind of the designer

    Sometimes they are in our shop.  Often they are outside vendors brought in project-by-project. As public relations professionals, we often work with graphic designers and rely on their expertise and eye for the visual to make a concept, campaign or communications vehicle successful.

    To help, two designers, Savannah Kaylor and Kevin Carobine from the local chapter of AIGA joined PRSA this month to help us better understand the mindset and motivations of the designer mind. Their presentation, “Make the Logo Bigger… or Not” was a walk through the design process, complete with a cheat-sheet glossary of designer terms and some tips for working well with sometimes shy, artistic colleagues.

    “Designers make a living solving visual problems,” said Savannah. “The idea is to get you to communicate better with us.”

    So here are just a few of the tips they offered:

    Bring a designer in at the idea phase
    The earlier the designer can be part of the process and understand the goals of the project, the better chance you have of getting what you need.  Know your goals and then spill all of the information to the designer.  “If we don’t have all the input,” says Kevin, “you may not get everything you need.”

    Don’t be shy and answer questions
    Many designers are shy and may be afraid to ask questions so the more information you give and the more up front you are about what you need the better.  “Designers are introverted so you may need to start the conversation,” says Savannah.  Then when they are working on a project, be responsive when they ask questions or need to clarify something as that will save time.

    Know the rights
    Savannah and Kevin recommended getting down in an agreement up front details such as payment and allowed rounds of revisions.  But they also stressed the importance of including the rights and ownership or creative work after completion.  “Who owns it and what are the copyright rules for the final product?” says Kevin.  “Know the answer up front and get it in writing.”

    Don’t feed their ego
    When it comes time to critique, be honest.  “We are graphic designers, we know we’re pretty awesome,” says Savannah.  “We need you to be honest.  If you don’t tell us all your thoughts there is no way to address them.”

    When it comes time to finding an outside designer, our speakers suggested that we talk with colleagues and find out about someone they liked working with and to look for one who may have worked on similar projects.

    “Also, look at style and aesthetics,” says Kevin. “You don’t want to work with someone whose style you don’t like.”

    Kevin and Savannah addressed the issue of asking a designer to provide work “on spec,” or without payment for time, by recommending this video:

    AIGA is the professional association for design, formerly known as the American Institute for Graphic Arts. The local chapter is online at and offers design resources and a Freelance Collective.

    Scenes from the Nov 2015 PRSAHR Meeting
    (Photos by Marcy Germanotta, Dan Cawley and Sonja Barisic)


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