Getting The Best Out of Your Deal

… When Working With a Design Firm.

In order to control cost and timing, you must plan well and communicate early, clearly and consistently. You must decide, first of all, what is most important to you speed, design, or cost. These three variables are linked in that the more complex a piece, the slower the production may be and the higher the price. If you are in need of a quick response time, you risk including RUSH charges and therefore you may need to simplify things.


Clear communication can also keep cost under control. In your initial planning meeting you should describe the visual effect and market response you desire. It is often helpful if you bring samples or references of your previous pieces as well as, admired pieces from others. Resolve any conflicting goals or preferences within your organization before this meeting. Again, if you do have more than one person in your organization making design decisions, then choose one representative as the conduit of communication with the designer. From here , please organize your materials with labels, captions, outlines and mock ups.

Next … let your designer create. If you really would not like to use the color yellow, say so. However, it is important to give your designer the freedom to create beautiful and strategically sound pieces without micro-management. If you see a problem, call attention to it and even share solutions. You can even allow the designer the flexibility to find some other fix.


Finally, thoroughly check the samples and proofs provided to you in there varying stages. You are responsible for everything on a proof. Examine the text,photos,color and illustrations with care. If others must approve the design, make sure they see the earliest proofs. It is simplest, least frustrating and cheapest way to correct a problem the first time it shows up.

These are all ways to get the best out of your deal.


Tribute #3: Esteemed Graphic Designer Sylvia Harris

Sylvia Harris (1953-2011)



Design strategist, Sylvia Harris, partnered with high-profile clients—in business, nonprofit and government—to yield rewarding projects and a life’s work dedicated to removing barriers by ensuring that public information systems are accessible to everyone. Throughout her life she had the opportunity to work in various fields. She was the former director on the AIGA national board and  the principal of Citizen Research & Design. She also played a role on the U.S. Postal Service’s Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee and taught design to students at both Purchase College, the State University of New York and the graduate graphic design program at Yale.

Harris also founded her own firm in 1994, Sylvia Harris, LLC, where she gives advice to institutional clients on the design of public information systems. She is best known for her work in Central Park Zoo in NY, her participation in the 2000 U.S census and her iconic stamps at the post office. Ms. Harris’ work has often been praised as a result of good design. Her work has influenced many people including her colleagues and students and will never be forgotten.

Do you know of other females who have made significant contribution to the field of design? Who are they? What have they done?