Your design partner will often be your work best friend—you’ll work closely and create amazing pieces. But what do you do when this crucial relationship hits a rift? How do you keep creating create work when there are problems in paradise? Read on…
Today’s question comes from Rachael S. who asks, “Things aren’t going very well with my designer and I. She keeps changing copy without consulting with me and meets with the project manager to get feedback without me. I’m really frustrated! What should I do?”
When things aren’t going well with your design partner it’s both frustrating and disheartening. It feels like they don’t respect you and they don’t respect your work.
But remember that that’s how it feels to you.
When your designer makes changes to your copy without you or meets with project managers without you or doesn’t give you enough time to see projects before creative reviews, it’s definitely a problem. But they may not be (and very likely are not) acts of malice.
You feel upset because your designer is breaking protocol, but your designer may not even realize you’re upset. In fact, there’s a very good chance that she doesn’t even know she’s doing anything wrong.
Most often, problems like these come down to inexperience on the designer’s part and a lack of common values and standards for interaction.
If a designer has never worked closely with a copywriter before, or if they’ve only worked with copywriters who didn’t particularly care about their work, that designer may not even know that it’s a problem to change copy or exclude the copywriter from feedback conversations.
It’s very likely that a designer that does this is not out to tick you off, but simply doesn’t know any better. And, as such, the best way to deal with these problems is to get on the same page.
Schedule some time with just you and your designer to go over issues. Explain what’s been a problem, but also, explain why they’re problems. For example, you might say, “It’s a problem for me when you change my copy without asking me. I work hard to make each work useful and work well with the other ones, and that gets affected when you change it.”
Be sure to tell them that you’re always willing to make yourself available to them. “I’m always happy to come over to your desk so we can make changes on screen together. That way, we know that both the copy and the design are working the right way independently and together.”
And if that still hasn’t completely driven the point home, you can always add, “After all, I wouldn’t change your design without consulting you.
The “why” of the problems is going to be most crucial to get change to occur. After all, it’s not like you just feel lonely when you don’t get included in feedback sessions. It’s a problem when you’re not a part of them because you get the feedback second hand, things get lost in translation, and you don’t get the opportunity to ask questions or propose ideas.
And you’re not trying to steal time from your designer by seeing the work before the review; you need to review it to make sure that the copy is correct, that the copy and design are working well together, and that you both feel that it’s your best foot forward.
Your complaints are completely legitimate ones. And, again, it’s more than likely that your designer just doesn’t even realize that these are problems. You’re most likely to see change when you’re upfront about the problems and you discuss them together to come to a reasonable solution. After all, that’s how strong partnerships are built, too.
Your turn! Have you ever had problems with your design partner? Were you able to resolve them? Let us know about it in the comments below!