Prioritize Communication

Remember that time you were part of a workplace project? At the outset, everyone was clear that communication, input and cooperation were critical to achieving the stated goal. Because without awareness of the expectations, ability to monitor progress, seek feedback at various milestones, or have regular interaction with the team, failure is inevitable.

Going Off The Rails

The same is true with a writing project (such as producing a pamphlet) involving two creatives. These creative minds might be your writer and graphic designer. Rest assured, each player’s part (including you – the client) is critical to ensuring a successful finished product – according to the client’s vision and specifications.

But here’s an example of what can happen when your writer and designer aren’t communicating.

The creatives are done working their respective magic. You’re excited to unveil the finished product. You know that your designer created a fantastic logo and layout. She sent it to you for your OK. And your writer is top notch too. But wait…what’s this? You stare in disbelief and you’re underwhelmed. This is not at all what you envisioned.

Stay on track through better communication
Avoid going off the rails. Maintain critical communications

Why doesn’t this reflect what you had in mind – as you relayed details in earlier conversations with each of them?

Here’s what may have happened. Perhaps your vision was shared with each of them in separate conversations. They both understood your goal and intent. And individually they produced what you wanted. But when it came time to combine the two elements they didn’t mesh well.

Bridging the Gap

What could have been done to ensure a better outcome? Perhaps your two creatives should have been communicating with each other throughout each step as well, comparing notes and respective instructions.

Sure, individually they rock. But you can’t create a great product when each contributor works in a vacuum not knowing what the other is doing or how their respective contributions should fit together to accomplish the final goal.

Aside from a great logo, the designer has his/her ideas about the overall look and creates a layout that he/she feels is cohesive with the client’s branding and ultimate vision. And that’s fine.

Likewise, the writer produces copy to convey the client’s message goal – also reflective of the branding, and focusing on the reader/audience. That may include writing a lot of copy…or a scant bit of copy. But without being aware of the space that is available to fit the copy into (per the design specifications), or the layout to accommodate the words, he/she may be writing for nothing.

Worse yet, perhaps the designer takes it upon him/herself to juggle the order of paragraphs, or eliminate critical copy without consulting with either the client or writer to determine if it makes sense to keep or remove a particular portion.

In the grand scheme of things, there has to be a logical flow to the message. It has to fit into the layout to allow for fluidity and ease of reading. If not, the overall meaning or intent may be lost, or critical information cannot fit into the space.

Words Matter

Establish communication through words not image
Without a worthwhile message what’s the point?

Often the thinking is that design trumps copy.

But wait…if it looks nice, but there’s not real value or substance in the content for the reader, how will this material do its job? Think about it this way…

If your pamphlet had no words at all, what would you be communicating to potential customers? Nothing! That’s the point. And the result is a client who is dissatisfied.

I recall a similar situation on a project I worked on recently. In fact during the course of the project I requested an introduction to the designer, suggesting it would be beneficial that we communicate – to keep the project on track. The client agreed it was important so she introduced us via e-mail. I then reached out to the designer to encourage her to provide feedback on her side of things so we could work together more effectively.

That feedback or interaction did not happen. I did not hear a word from the designer (cue the crickets) throughout the course of the project even though I reached out on several occasions to provide some suggestions or ask for guidance to make our jobs easier.

Sadly, the result was a pamphlet that did not accomplish the client’s intent and so could not be used for the specific presentation she was having it created for. That made me sad and frustrated because the client has now wasted her time and money on a project that won’t serve her business needs or see the light of day.

The Simple Fix

All of this could have been avoided if only communication would have been highlighted as a priority. And maybe some of the fault lies with me for not bringing the lack of communication to the client’s attention. Perhaps she could have become more involved and been more demanding with the designer. After all she is ultimately the boss of the project.

Communication is an important tool
Don’t tear apart the entire project. The right tool is communication.

So if you, as a business owner, have the occasion to engage the talents and services of multiple creatives on your promotional projects – be it big or small – keep in mind that success does not happen in a vacuum, where one element stands out beyond the rest.

There has to be a plan/strategy of cooperation between every player, with project management to see things through. And most critical among the interaction is communications among team members to ensure that each and every milestone is outlined and understood – to meet the established criteria. When all of that happens, success is assured, and your satisfaction guaranteed.

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