Tips for Working with a Graphic Designer

It can be tricky to navigate the between authors and designers. In order to have a harmonious relationship with your graphic designer it’s important to know what your preferences are going into the design process, give specific feedback and have the answers to most if not all of these questions:

Before meeting with a designer consider these questions:

  • Who is the target reader for my book? (Gender, age, profession.)
  • Do I want my book cover to extend the branding of my business? (Logo elements, colors, and fonts.)
  • If I want the cover to include an illustration, photograph or graphic, what kind of image do I have in mind?
  • What information would you like to appear on the back cover?
  • What is the feeling that I want my book cover to create?
  • What other book covers appeal to me that sell to a similar buying market?
  • Who else will I include in my decision process?
  • Do you have a launch date in mind?

Most graphic designers have thicker skin than you think. Telling them you don’t like what they have designed for you is not the frustrating part; what’s frustrating is when you don’t tell them exactly what you don’t like about the design.

“I just don’t like it” is the most common way most clients provide negative feedback. It is okay that you don’t like it (people will always have different opinions!), but you should tell your graphic designer exactly what you don’t like about the design so they can help create a version that you will love.

Some good starting points to consider:

I don’t like it because…

  • The colors are not my favorite.
  • There is not enough color.
  • The font is too fancy (or not fancy enough).
  • The design is too casual (or too business-like).
  • The edges are too straight and modern rather than soft and fluid.
  • It doesn’t match my brand.
  • It doesn’t catch my eye.
  • I don’t think it will appeal to my target audience.
  • I don’t think that will look good in print.

Here are some other tips for making the design process go smoothly:

  • Be open to the ideas of your creative collaborators (writing coach, editor, designer, photographer, illustrator).
  • If you involve multiple creative professionals, have them talk to one another.
  • Have examples of book covers you like.
  • When giving feedback, be specific on what you like or what you don’t like and why.
  • Assign a project manager to coordinate the steps. Talk with your designer to determine the steps for production of your book and set up realistic dates.

Make sure that you are 100% honest and specific on exactly what you like and do not like. If your designer doesn’t know what exactly you’re looking for, he or she won’t know how to appropriately adjust the initial drafts. Specific feedback will make your experience with your designer much easier and positive for you both!