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When You Shouldn’t Worry About Design (part 2)

This is the second article in a three-part series on managing creative partners. 

We covered how to manage creative partners to be more effective in creating a look and feel for your brand. But what happens if you feel like you may not be in the right creative partnership? This may leave you asking,

So what do I do if I have a creative project that I feel like is lackluster or I am not totally wowed by?

Make it a discussion. “It’s not resonating with me” or “I can’t put my finger on it” will not get you very far if your designer feels strongly about the concepts. Professional creatives are used to receiving constructive criticism, so you’re not going to hurt anyone’s feelings. Be clear about what aspects concern you, and open the door for them to educate you on their process or thinking. You may gain valuable insights on their approach to your business and your target audience.

Bring in an outside opinion, strategically. If you work for yourself and don’t have the benefit of bringing it to a team for more input, then ask the opinion of someone you know who has a real creative eye (not your spouse, not your intern, not a friend). Find someone who has made a career of using creativity and works in a similar medium (your interior designer shouldn’t be reviewing an infographic), and ask for her professional opinion. Again, use your words carefully:

“I’ve been working with a creative partner on this project. The target audience is ____, and we want them to _____. This creative concept is where we landed. I don’t love it, but I don’t want to make it harder than it needs to be. What are your thoughts?”

A. If they like it, that’s a good sign you’re in a good place. They may even help you see why the concept works so you can feel better moving forward.

B. If they don’t like it, ask for their constructive, creative direction and use that to help you guide the project and keep it moving forward (and not heading back toward the land of endless revisions).

In both A and B, your options are to keep moving forward.

Creative discussions can often turn in to meeting after meeting after meeting. It's SO easy to spin wheels and get tripped up in this part. Be mindful of wasted time and solution-driven in these kinds of situations. This is where saying you trust your partners turns in to actually trusting your creative partners.

Stay tuned for our last article about what to do if you find yourself in a creative partnership that is at an impasse, or just not the right fit. I also welcome conversation, advice, and dissenting opinions on this topic.