How to (and not to) work with a designer

July 23rd, 2008

Got a brilliant link from Viking Karwur, sesama web designer: How to (and not to) work with a designer by Will Harris.

Beberapa cuplikannya:

Imagine that you’re Christopher Columbus. You arrive in the New World and are so disappointed there are none of the oriental silks and spices you came looking for that you turn around and go home, missing all the wonders of the New World.

That’s what happens when you have preconceived notions about design. You can end up with something that’s better, but NOT see or appreciate it because you’re only focusing on the fact that it’s not what had in mind.

Tanpa kita sadari, ketika kita meminta seseorang mendesainkan sesuatu untuk kita, sebetulnya di lubuk hati paling dalam – kita sudah tahu apa yang kita inginkan dan kita harapkan akan kita dapatkan.

Remember you are a vital part of the design process. If you aren’t a good client, then you can’t expect good results.

I don’t think it’s something nice to hear, but yes, we – designers, or para tukang web – will be able to give better results when we work for someone who treats us as a partner. Who is cooperative and responsible for every choice he took, not the one who loves blaming when his decision ends up with a bad result.

So how do you work with a designer to get their best work? Will’s suggestions I loved:

  • Tell your designer what you want to say rather than how you want it to look. Don’t ask for a color, shape, or style–ask for meaning or emotion.
  • Be clear about specific features you need. You want your designer to create a design specific to your needs. If you try to add features as you go along, the design won’t fit as well.
  • Do your research and be specific about your needs. “I need to sell meeting planners on the idea of hiring me to plan entertainment for their events.” That’s clear and specific about both the product and the audience. The more detailed and specific you are at the start, the better the designer can tailor the site to your needs. If you add requirements later on, the designer will probably just have to shoe-horn them in, which won’t give you the best results.
  • Don’t design by committee. No good design was ever created by a consensus. The more people who have a voice in the process, the more watered down the results will be. Your friends and coworkers will often give you conflicting advice and people often have ulterior motives when they give you comments (they may be jealous or threatened if you get something that’s too good, or they may just be ignorant). You can show it to a few trusted people and get their comments, but there can only be one person making decisions. Don’t be wishy washy and try to change direction late in the process.
  • Don’t tell your designer how to design. That’s not your area of expertise. Give a designer your requirements and preferences, but also the freedom to create something that answers them as effectively as possible. If you micromanage a designer, they won’t be motivated to do anything but cash your check.

Yes, designers can make mistakes and take wrong directions. And yes, you need to give them direction. But you must tell them what you need, not how to achieve that goal.

Sometimes I prefer not to admit myself designer, (terlalu ‘berat’ aja responsibilitynya ^^) but after reading this post, I think I have to – since I 100% agree with Will!!!

4 Responses to “How to (and not to) work with a designer”

  1. samuel says:

    kalo aku biasanya pasrah sama desainer, jadilah yang menurut mereka baik, aku berusaha manut aja, hauehuaehuaea.. tapi tentu aku kudu percaya dulu sama desainernya, baru aku bisa percaya dengan desainnya..

  2. Henry says:

    saya setuju dengan posting di atas.

    customer seharus nya ikut serta dalam memberikan input atau guide apa yang di inginkan sebelom memberikan pekerjaan kepada designer (draft guide or concept)

    kalau tidak ada guide kepada designer, designer juga bingung apa yang si customer mau in sebener nya.

    dengan kita memberikan guide/concept, designer mungkin juga ada masukan yang mungkin berguna buat customer.

  3. MoiS says:


    Rasanya semua points diatas..exactly mengutarakan apa yang ada dibenak saya, pikiran yg sangat ingin diucapkan keluar..tapi belum ketemu kata2 yang tepat

    hahahhaa…very good sharing…
    and btw it’s a very interested web.


  4. Monika Tanu says:

    Kata orang mah: curhat basi – secara almost all designer (dan penjual jasa) curhatannya rata-rata sama… hahaha. Berarti itu risiko klasik kalo mau sok-sok jual jasa kaya kita kali yeee?

Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the answer to the math equation shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the equation.
Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam equation