How to work with a designer to create the best brochure, flyer, folder, website and more.

Avoiding collateral damage.

31 Dec 2015

How to work with a designer to create the best brochure, flyer, folder, website and more.

Even in our virtual world, distributing physical brochures, flyers or rack cards about your company, products or services is still a valid way to get your messages into your target audience’s hands—literally. But sometimes, working with a designer on the creation of the right collateral can be a challenging process. Here are tips for communicating with a designer to make sure your collateral is king.

Note: This blog is focused on design. For tips on copywriting, click here.


Define the purpose and the persona.

Before the work begins, take a moment to clearly define the purpose of your collateral piece, how it will be used, the must-have elements and the ideal audience you’d like it to reach. When it comes time for reviews, make sure every element of the design accomplishes the purpose and speaks to the audience you defined at the get-go. The ultimate decision makers must be involved in these early discussions so the piece doesn’t get too far down the wrong path, costing time and money.

eGuide: How to create a buyer persona


Need help better identifying your target audience by creating personas? Check out our free guide.




Review objectively—in person.

When presented with design options, it’s easy to react according to personal preference. But a more effective way for ensuring collateral not only is purposeful and targeted, but also fits within your brand, is to evaluate it in terms of the five main components of design:

  1. Color: Are the colors featured included in your company’s brand guide? If not, ask the designer to take another stab using colors that are brand-approved.
  2. Typography: One of the easiest ways to unify a brand is to ensure that outwardly facing materials, from collateral to your website to your digital ads to your signage, use a cohesive (small) collection of brand-approved typefaces.
  3. Images: Images shouldn’t just be decoration. Make sure they are the same style as what your key targets are seeing elsewhere online and off.
  4. Layout: A Pinterest-effect layout is fun and fresh…assuming that fits with your brand style. If everything from your outdoor ads to your screen savers is classically laid out, your collateral should be, as well. Your logo should be placed in accordance with your brand style guide.
  5. Overall aesthetic: Review each piece by asking, “Is this us?” If not, have a conversation with your designer about which parts, specifically, don’t pass the gut check.

When you can, review at least your first design option in person with your designer. Talking through how well you think the design solves your end goal – and how the five design components fit your brand – is much easier when you can point at items, circle and make notes together. Or, if you can’t meet in person, try using virtual collaboration tools.

Don’t have a brand style guide? Talk to us today about creating one for your company.  


Fear the Frankendesign.

When presented with several options, often there are elements in each that we like—and sometimes our nature is to want to piece those together into one, glorious piece. Right? Wrong. Designers are experts in visual communication, which, unlike written communication, is not a skill widely taught or understood in our educational system. Designers and art directors typically have a bachelor or masters’ degree in design or visual communication and extensive experience bringing business strategy together to create for effective branding or advertising solutions. So, when they build designs, they use the right elements for each, complete concept. If none of the options presented work for you, revisit why according to the purpose, persona and components of design—and, budget permitting, consider asking the designer to start fresh versus trying piece together something that will ultimately feel less…alive.

At the end of the day, designers want to see your brand succeed. The more strategy up front, and clear feedback and constructive criticism throughout the process, the better and more killer your collateral will be.

Speaking of killer collateral, check out what our designers have created recently.


Considering e-collateral to save printing and distribution costs? Check out our free guide to free guides: “3 steps to creating standout virtual collateral.” Download now >

New Call-to-action

Tags: financial services marketing, healthcare marketing, nonprofit marketing, Collateral, tech marketing