Designers can do good work, or can do great work. How can you get them to do great stuff?
  • Give them plenty of time. Introduce your pitch way before the deadline, build a relationship, start the actual work with enough head room for creativity and iterations. Good presentations are not born under deadline stress
  • Give them a broad briefing. Tell the story you want to tell in double the time you have. Give background about the story, the audience, the occasion. What goes in the design process, will come out.
  • Give them freedom. Very strict instructions will return your own presentation with the objects on the slide just a little bit better aligned.
  • Give them budget. If after a a long negotiation the designer utters “OK, I will try to squeeze it in” followed by a a sigh, it is unlikely that you just switched on all the creative genius that is present in the designer.
  • Give them a blank sheet of paper. Insisting on using an ugly corporate PowerPoint template is a set up to failure for the presentation design project.
  • Give them access. If the CEO needs to give a presentation, the CEO needs to talk to the designer directly. Chinese whispers through corporate hierarchies dilute the message.
  • Give them sleep. If you are working in different time zones, it can be tricky to find overlapping meeting times. A designer having to get (stay) up in the middle of the night is unlikely to do the best she can.
In short, managing design is not like managing a production line. Pushing, dragging, squeezing is not going to get you better results.

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