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Making Successful Creative Collaborations

11 Mar 2024

Collaboration is a key part of what makes us creative branding designers. It’s what helps us get to the heart of any brand, and communicate the truth and essence of that brand visually.

We’re often challenged with different parameters to a design or brief, but what’s important to us, is that we’re able to collaborate effectively to work with these parameters and create the best possible design solution. 

Here, we explore some of the ways collaborations can work most effectively with our clients, and some of the factors that can affect the quality of the overall outcome. 

WORKING IN STAGES

No matter the size of the project, we always leave room for feedback and review as part of the creative process. Breaking a project down into stages allows us to start broad, and fine-tune the design, while aligning with the in-depth knowledge and understanding our clients have of their business. By structuring in considered stages of development then review, we can approach holistically, for more effective design through clear focus and consistency.

What Happens Without Stages?

It’s unlikely we’ll be able to create the perfect design, in one round, in a vacuum. Client feedback is not only inevitable, it’s fundamental to our process. However, perpetually receiving small pieces of feedback isn’t an efficient way of working either, and can often dilute the strength of a concept, gently nudging the design in all directions. 

Any Advice for Clients?

  • Always give us as much information as possible on a project, even if it seems irrelevant.
  • Write us brief, that however loose, gives us a sense of your overall aims and vision for the project.
  • Take what time you need to compile all feedback together between stages, and use the opportunity to re-evaluate and ask questions having seen the direction the design is moving in. 
  • It’s important to consider both your initial reaction and response to a design, and how this changes as you sit with it over a few days.
  • Clear feedback is helpful, but your designers will help answer questions, interpret and explore different thoughts and ideas also.

OPEN COMMUNICATION

We pride ourselves on being a flexible working studio. We’re always at the end of an email or call to be able to quickly and easily touch base with our clients, and also make every effort to meet and get to know our clients personally. Open conversation and ongoing relationships with clients mean we gradually learn more about your business and its people. This gives us a clearer sense of the brand, what it stands for, and how it should come across. We ensure that one of our Creative Partners is your specialist, key point of contact in the studio and your brand guardian. They will be closely familiar with your project, your brand and your team.

What Happens without Open Communication?

Where we’re not aligned with our clients and their vision, this can often lead to back-tracking and delays to a project. Details can become lost or overlooked where there’s confusion between teams or changing stakeholders, which can create more work on both sides. 

Any Advice for Clients?

  • Having a consistent point of contact with a person or selective team.
  • Introductions – it’s helpful to know everyone involved and their role in the project. 
  • Keep it small. The more people involved in communication, the more room there is for conflicting information and direction.
  • Regular updates – Longer pauses may be necessary, but regular weekly or fortnightly updates help keep a project active.

SETTING EXPECTATIONS

We always aim to exceed expectations, but this is harder to live up to where it’s not clear what’s reasonable to expect. 

With the proposal (ideal) as the starting point, here are some simple equations to demonstrate how different requirements affect the outcome.

  • Ideal Budget + Ideal Time = Ideal Design
  • Ideal Budget + Less Time = Design, with Limited Scope
  • Ideal Budget + More Time = Design, Potentially Compromised
  • Less Budget + Ideal Time = Design, with Limited Scope
  • Less Budget  + Less Time = Design, with Very Limited Scope
  • Less Budget + More Time = Not Possible
  • More Budget + Ideal Time = Design, with Greater Scope
  • More Budget + Less Time = Ideal Design (where additional design resource available)
  • More Budget + More Time = Enhanced Design, with Greatest Scope  

What is an ‘Ideal Design’?

For us, an ideal design is where we’ve had the opportunity to explore all necessary avenues, and successfully collaborated to form a design that works seamlessly, on many different levels, for your business. The best design is flexible, future-proof and engaging. 

What Happens Without Reasonable Expectations?

While there’s room to build a structure that suits the individual needs and requirements of each project, without the necessary resources to fully explore and develop a design to the highest standard, the result may not feel comfortable, and can often feel incomplete.

As well as reducing the budget or time required, more time can also negatively affect a project. We naturally invest the time needed into a project to reach the ideal outcome, but allocating much more time doesn’t enhance the outcome possible, and long gaps or delays can also affect progression by confusing the original clear focus of a brief.

Any Advice for Clients?

  • Always feel comfortable discussing any aspect of a project or a proposal, as there’s always some flexibility to adapt to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We’re only unable to help in the rare case we can’t balance expectations with resources available.
  • Make sure you’re fully aligned with your designer, and that the aims, timings and deliverables of any project are completely clear.
  • Consider which details are fundamental, and which you’re willing to compromise, or open to suggestion on. This can help to direct a project within your budget and timeframe.

KEY POINTS for Successful Creative Collaborations...

  • The most successful brands and designs are built through creative collaboration
  • Start with a project structure that allows for plenty of creative exploration and development, as well as opportunities for productive review and feedback throughout
  • Keeping a regular and consistent conversation going is key to keeping a healthy momentum
  • Encourage a strong familiarity between the teams and parties involved 
  • Work with your designers to align and set realistic expectations for the project
  • Parameters can pose an interesting challenge rather than a disappointment, so there’s always room to balance expectations and resources for effective, beautiful design
  • The ideal outcome is one that solves the original aims of the brief, and goes further to flex, future-proof and engage your audience

If you have any questions on working with us, feel free to get in touch, ask anything and talk to us about your project. Visit our contact page for details!

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