One of the biggest misconceptions about designers is that they are able to skip public speaking and focus solely on design – but that’s not true.
While designers can focus on their designs rather than their speaking skills, communication plays a significant role in the creation of a successful design project. To understand how to utilize effective communication to nail your design projects, you have to know where key communication occurs.
Let’s break it down into three stages: Design initiation, design development, & design delivery.
STAGE #1: DESIGN INITIATION
You cannot create a successful design without effective communication – it’s impossible. To begin designing, you have to know:
- Who your client is
- What the desired purpose or outcome is
- Overall expectations on how the design should look
Designers are often burdened with the expectation that they “can piece it all together,” and luckily, most can. The problem occurs when there is a miscommunication – or lack of communication – from the start of the project.
When information is not clearly stated or asked for, designers have little to work from to start.
STAGE #2: DESIGN DEVELOPMENT
Design development is the stage where quick communication is key. While some designs require little to no communication between designer and client at this stage, others will require frequent communication. The complexity of the project determines this.
As designers, there is a need to not only develop a functional design but to satisfy the client. That’s why, in development, there are stages that require client approval before moving forward. As the design continues to develop, direct responses and understanding of those responses from the client are essential to success.
STAGE #3: DESIGN DELIVERY
Presentation is key! Design delivery can make or break a clients’ satisfaction – and your own perception.
Although shorter (time-wise) in comparison to client onboarding and design development, design delivery plays an essential role in the reception of your design. In situations where a face-to-face presentation is necessary, communication becomes even more critical to project success.
Clearly and confidently communicating the basis and ideas behind your design creates confidence in not only you but in your designs.
HOW TO BECOME A BETTER COMMUNICATOR
Since you’re now well aware that communication is key as a designer – and that being an efficient communicator can help your design process, here are some easy tips to become a better communicator:
- Establish a strong onboarding process – create a process that covers everything you need to know about the design from start to finish. Include typical questions you have to ask, such as preferred style, branding, etc.
- Create a go-to method of communication – identify your primary method of communication during the development process. This could be email, work phone, or third-party programs.
- Practice communicating on the go – there are going to be situations where you’ll need to talk face-to-face; if you’re often behind a screen, you’ll need to practice conversating. Try co-working or starting up a conversation in your local coffee shop.
- Do a refresh before delivery – before delivering the final design, go back and refresh yourself on what was needed from the design in the first place. This will help you connect the dots for clients who see the full picture right off the bat.