Design doesn’t happen in a vacuum at agencies – collaboration is key: Three ways collaboration can lead to great design work

Friday, April 1, 2016

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As students, we are taught to design with integrity and passion, to create beautiful smart and new solutions. This changes when translating that design training to the real world of a marketing agency, where a shift toward client-focused design becomes the priority. Whether designing for emerging trends, digital technologies, tight timelines, budgets, or a client with unclear values or goals, it becomes critical to consider a variety of factors and influences to create thoughtful design solutions.

In the agency world, any given project comes with a large number of influencers and factors to consider in the process of creating a design solution. Whether it’s a variety of opinions from your internal team, unpredictable client requests, time/budget/resource constraints, etc., it’s easy to feel like this whirlwind of factors are all working against a sound design concept. But the key to creating a great solution is in finding the opportunities to create something great out of the opportunities you have.

But the awesome part of that is the fact that collaboration often informs solutions, providing a wider set of resources, skillsets and ways of thinking, giving ideas even more of a foundation for success. Design, in this arena, becomes a process of creating thoughtful compromise. Taking everything, every curveball, timeline, budget, opinion – and filtering it into something that feels simple, effective, and aesthetically sound. Here are three ways collaboration can lead to great design:

  1. Teammates can offer great insight, or they can sidetrack you from the real goal – you have to use simple guiding tools (ie. attributes, goals, company principles) to filter all of these factors into a great solution.

  2. Know when to let your idea go – sometimes your idea isn’t the best or most applicable – and that’s okay.

  3. Be a partner with your client – collaborating with them throughout the process allows them to go along the journey with you, and helps to provide context and rationale down the line when making key decisions. At the end of the day, it’s about what they need.

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