Michelle Works Out Loud – Working with a Graphic Designer


“Good design encourages a viewer to want to learn more.”

This tweet caught my eye this afternoon.  Some Learning & Development (L&D) professionals are really good at visual design.  My forte is L&D strategy, so I’m really good at organisation design, but not so good with visual design.  Yet, I want content that I produce to look visually appealing, to encourage the viewer to want to look closer, to enhance the content rather than detract from it.

I could learn more about design and improve my skills (yep, it’s on my wish list).  However, I need the materials I’m producing now to look good, and be presented in a way that improves understanding and conveys professionalism.  And that will take some time – I’m probably still at the unconscious incompetence stage, so it’s going to get more uncomfortable and challenging for me to work on this skill set before I see improvement.

For this reason, I recently started working with a graphic designer.  Actually, it was my second attempt this year to work with a designer.  I initially engaged someone overseas as I thought this would be cheaper and still produce an acceptable result.  It didn’t work for me (it might work for others, it just didn’t for me).  It seemed difficult for them to interpret my requirements, and they over-complicated the tasks I gave them.  Things looked heavy and dense rather than the fresh, bright, clear look I wanted.  I retained one or two aspects of their work, such as the updated colour palette on my logo, then got in contact with an Australian designer that I worked with over six years ago – Janine Warner of J9 Designs.  I’ve been delighted with the work that she has done for me. Based on our previous collaboration, she understands who I am and how I want my work to be presented.  In the past two weeks she has quickly created new business cards, a white paper, a workbook and a PowerPoint template.  All have used a similar palette and look coherent.  It’s been easy to work with her via email, and in all cases minor rework on initial deliverables has been turned around rapidly.

As for the output – you can see how much she’s improved upon my hand drawn diagram below to create the final model.

 

 

This post is part of my daily dispatches experiment, inspired by Austin Kleon.  This is Daily Dispatch Number 3.

  1. #1 by Craig Hadden (@RemotePoss) on August 6, 2017 - 8:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing your struggles and strides Michelle. Graphic design has been on my wish-list for a few years!

    A former colleague had been trained in graphic design, and everyone (including me) always loved how his materials looked. Sadly, he seemed to be at the “unconscious competence” level, so struggled to share usable advice.

    Still, by using elements of his and others’ designs that looked great, I’ve made gradual progress.

    Here’s my take on 3 secrets for modern-looking designs.

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