Besides the specifics of the job you’re needing produced, two things are important to convey to your Graphic Designer as you sit down to discuss your project: your budget and your deadline. Without these key pieces of information, your designer is at a disadvantage. Focusing on deadlines, here is why it’s important to share your due-by date with your designer.
1. Your Designer is Cheating on You. Unless you have your own personal Graphic Designer on staff, you can assume you’re not the only client your designer has. There will be other clients and other jobs with deadlines that may have come before yours. While most designers will try their best to accommodate all clients, it may not always be possible to have your project designed and printed without adequate lead time. By expressing your timeline to your designer up front, your designer has the opportunity to inform you if your timeframe is attainable and to suggest alternatives if it is not.
2. Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day. While certain jobs can be designed quickly, other projects will take longer to prepare. Time must also be left for revisions. In a true collaborative relationship, there will be suggestions and changes on both sides. Leaving too little time to allow for revisions may leave you dissatisfied with the end-result. No matter how good your Graphic Designer is, great designs take time. Putting extra pressure on your designer because you needed it yesterday may also leave you unhappy with the result.
3. First Comes Design, Then Comes Print. A short deadline on a job to be printed may mean extra costs for printing and expedited shipping and, in some cases, might mean the item cannot be produced in time. Even if the design deadline can be met, some printed products cannot be expedited. An example of this is luxury or premium business cards such as those with foil, double-thickness, embossing, Raised Spot UV or other special coatings and processes that have longer print times. In this situation, a small quantity of standard business cards can be printed while waiting for the premium cards to arrive. While this rarely happens, print presses do occasionally break or products are damaged in transit and must be reprinted. It’s always a good idea to build extra time into your deadline, if possible, as a buffer in case problems happen.
4. Travel delays. In most situations, mail and packages arrive on time and in perfect condition. But, because things beyond our control do sometimes happen, there are times when mail is delayed and shipments don’t arrive when expected. Even if you’ve paid for guaranteed delivery, the most you may receive is a refund of your postage which does not help if the items were needed for a presentation and they don’t arrive on time. The only way to guard against transit delays is to leave plenty of time when handing your job to your designer.
There may be times when you make a late decision to produce an item but when you do have the time, make sure you offer that time to your designer so she can give you the best possible product and meet your deadline at the same time.