How to speak designer!

How to brief a design words with image of woman drawing a lightbulb.

How to speak designer!

It can be tough verbalising your vision to a designer, so here’s some tips on how to ‘speak designer’ to make sure you get what you are after first time. In fancy marketing terms it’s called a brief when you explain your requirements to a designer. It becomes the guiding document for the designer to work to and provides a checklist for you to circle back to when it comes time to sign off the work.


Sometimes you know exactly how you want to deliver your marketing message (brochure, website, electronic newsletter, fridge magnet, etc) and sometimes you only know what you are trying to achieve, eg Inform customers you are moving premises, introduce a new product, increase sales, etc. Either scenario is a great way to start a conversation with a designer. At tgm we pride ourselves on asking the right questions to ensure we understand your goals right from the start.


It helps to keep an image of who you are talking to at the top of your mind. Talking to baby boomers versus millennials can be a different kettle of fish. Try and describe the ideal client to the designer and they will shape the choice of colours, fonts, styles and materials to suit.

The look and feel

If you have an established brand then this is easy. If you don’t then you need to express how you want people to feel when they see the product and the values that are important to your organisation. If you find it hard to put this into words have a look through our gallery of past work for ideas and styles you like.

The images

The old adage of a picture painting a thousand words is never truer than with marketing in today’s busy world. If you can say it visually you stand a good chance of connecting quickly with your audience. There are two ways of gathering imagery – photography sessions or the use of stock images. Photo sessions can be pricey, but the advantage is you have personalised imagery that no one else will have. If this is out of your price range we can access stock images on your behalf.

The words

Content is often overlooked and rushed, but never underestimate the power of the written word for getting your message across. You can supply the content or let us know what you are after and we can write it for you. No matter who does the writing it must be succinct (less is definitely more), error free and easy to read. It also needs to ‘match’ the design. Formal, corporate speak on a brightly coloured, fun-shaped fridge magnet is confusing.


Good design takes time, so if your project is time dependent let us know the timeline you are working to and we’ll work out a schedule to achieve your time goal. With a team of designers, we have the benefit of being able to share a time dependent job across the team

Who and how

It helps to be clear on who from each organisation will be the key contact and the preferred method of communication – face to face, emails or a mixture. From your end, it is important to know who has the final say. A top tip is to ensure they have seen the brief and know what the designer has been asked to achieve. The more information interested parties can provide at the start of the process the better.


There’s no chance of being overcharged with tgm as we provide a quote before any work proceeds and then we only charge for the time a project actually takes. So don’t be afraid of outlining what you have available to spend as this provides valuable information to set the parameters of a project and allows us to advise you on the best choices to make for the maximum benefit.

That’s a wrap

So next time you have some design work coming up, try gathering your thoughts under these headings and see if it helps streamline communications, save time and money and ultimately achieve a better result.