You set out to hire a designer to develop your website. You find the perfect fit and you’re really excited about moving forward. The first meeting goes well and you feel confident. Then you receive your first round of proofs. Something didn’t translate … the designs are not what you were expecting … the content is all wrong. You may feel frustrated or ignored. What happened? How can you move forward now?
This is all too common in the design world. Many times I work with customers who have been extremely disappointed with a previous designer. Which leads me to wonder, what makes our relationship different? I truly believe that content drives the design. The better the content is the better the final result. Before the design even begins I work through an outline of the necessary content. The goal of the project should be clear. The designer should be able to look at this outline and help their client achieve their goal through research and collaboration. Design takes patience and finesse. It’s a give and take between the designer and the client.
If you’ve given your designer a project brief that includes your mission, values, brand standards, page content, and potential visuals then maybe it’s time to look for another designer. Otherwise it’s not too late to speak up! Share with your designer to help them emulate your unique voice. Follow the below steps to provide your designer the essentials:
1. Brand standards:
Pass along your style guide at this stage. If you don’t have one, and your logo is already created, then you’ll want to give them every version of your logo currently being used. No logo? Scratch the website and start with your brand.
2. Color preferences:
Share actual screen shots or printed samples of color(s) that you love. The human eye can see hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of different variations for each color. Not to mention the fact that we all see color differently. The more specific you can get the better. Please note: If your style guide outlines color this step is not necessary.
What images give off the feeling that you would like to achieve? Share these photos or illustrations with your designer. This will help them understand what visual language you relate with and determine imagery to accompany the project. If you’re not sure, just sharing a few descriptive words with your designer may work just fine. Here is where they need to be able to guide you in the right direction. Look for guidance and ask for help when needed. That’s what we are here for!
4. Content Outline:
Time to get specific about the messaging you would like to come across through your website. A great place to start is by including your mission and values, a brief description (or bio) of why you are passionate about your company, and a basic description of the products and/or services that your company provides. At this stage you’ll just include a sentence or phrase outlining each topic you’d like to include.
5. Body Copy:
Finally, using the outline from the previous step start to build your content. If writing isn’t your forte ask your designer or marketer for their help. Chances are they offer content generation or know someone that would be a perfect fit for helping you develop the language for your website and other marketing materials.
Okay, you’re all set. Collect all of your content from the steps above and send it over to your designer. If you do this before the start of a project you will save yourself time and money. As a result your designer will be closer to your desired goal right from the start and you will have a clearer picture of your expectations before you even begin. I hope you found this helpful. Feel free to reach out with questions.
All the best,