In advertising as well as many other industries, you are never going to work by yourself. Collaboration is always going to be necessary, whether you like it or not. As a designer and art director, you may come into some sticky situations working with other designers. Being one of two graphic design interns at Slice Communications, I have learned how to efficiently manage and pass down projects from one designer to the next. Here are a few tips on how to design well with others.
1. Be aware of what software is being used for each project.
Every project you work on is going to require a specific software to achieve the best results. Creating a logo? Use Illustrator. Designing a brochure? Use InDesign. Mocking up a website? Use Photoshop. These are just industry standards every designer should understand so the correct file formats are utilized. Once you have this under control, make sure to ask the other designers what version of software they are using. For example, I have come into the problem of not being able to open files generated in newer versions of the Adobe software. If this does happen, ask the original designer of the work to “save down” the file. This will ensure every designer is able to access the work.
2. Adapt to different design styles and brands.
Based on the client and project, the overall look and feel of a design is going to vary. Your job as a designer is to be able to pick up where the last designer left off. Sometimes this can be difficult and tedious to complete, but it’s all part of the job. While developing a social media campaign for a client, I created numerous illustrations to be used in posts. The other graphic design intern was then given the task to create additional illustrations using the same style I originally created. I did have to go back and edit some of the illustrations, but the ideas she came up with were still carried out. As long as you work as a team, your designs will eventually become one cohesive whole.
3. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Not every project is going to be designed to perfection on the first try, so be open and honest when it comes to constructive criticism. When the graphic design interns at Slice are stuck on a project or need some help, we simply ask each other what the other thinks. From things to improve to ideas to be implemented, it is almost always necessary to have someone else look over your work. In the end, you are in charge of representing the agency or company in a visually pleasing way, so make sure the work you put out is the best it can be.
Bottom line: Working with another designer can be challenging. Remember to think on your feet (or in this case, on your computers) and be open to collaboration and constructive criticism.