Tips for being the liaison between designers

Frequently when working with a presentation designer, you need to also act as the liaison between the presentation designer and your print/web designers.  Web, print and presentations designers all speak a slightly different language, which can leave you spinning in confusion of you aren’t able to navigate them.  Hopefully this post will help you navigate the designer waters better and help you keep to your timelines.

Print designers:

  • Create anything that is printed, like annual reports, magazine advertisements, etc.
  • Have deep concerns around typography, frequently more so than other designers
  • Have a bias for Adobe products because of clearer pixels and training
  • Frequently have a huge distain for PowerPoint because it’s a Pixel off, will push for Keynote when possible
  • if you ask them to work on a presentation, more often than not, they’ll trat it like a magazine and put it in In Design, creating a lot more work for your presentation designers
  • Are typically the folks that set your visual brand guidelines
  • Have a bias for taking time to get it right
  • Come from a designers perspective
  • Some can create spot illustrations or have access to a network of illutrators
  • Almost work exclusively on Macs
  • Work in CMYK

Web designers:

  • Create anything that is on your website or interactive, like an iPad app
  • Have deep concerns for web legibility, wanting file sizes to be small enough to read clearly on the web
  • Also have a bias for Adobe products, but for different reasons than print designers.  Are also most open to new software packages
  • Don’t really have an opinion about presentation software, but are frequently intrigued by online preso software, like Prezi
  • Save their files for web optimization and will need files to be saved for web optimization
  • Have a bias for speed, you can always fix it later
  • Come from an interactive perspective
  • Almost work exclusively on Macs
  • Work in RGB

Presentation designers:

  • Create anything that will be part of a presentation:  PowerPoint, posters, Keynote, Prezi, etc.
  • Have deep concerns around messaging and if designs will look good projected
  • Can frequently use Adobe products like Illustrator and Photoshop, but have deeper expertise in Microsoft and Apple products.  Sometimes know Flash.
  • Prefer to work with print designers’ source files when possible, and get extremely frustrated when they receive In Design files that are frequently not in the right aspect ratio, not containing all of the right pictures and needing to be converted
  • Have a bias for speed and exactness.  Will be extremely anal about things like spelling the client’s name properly.
  • Are usually in the hot seat, most presentation designers are pulled in at the last minute.  Most have a very high threshold for stress
  • Can work in motion within presentation software
  • Many are able to create spot illustrations
  • Many are also infographics designers
  • Come from a communications specialist’s perspective
  • Frequently work on Macs and PCs, have to create files that look good on both
  • Work in RGB

The best way to help everyone get along is as follows:

  • Get all source files up front saved down to CS3, fonts (ideally in .otf which works on Mac and PC), brand guidelines and images used by the print designers.  Not having these up front can be a HUGE bottle neck for the presentation designers.
  • Delegate roles as follows:  You are the key stakeholder (Print designers frequently push in on presentation designers, the faster you set the boundaries up, the faster you will get your work).  Print designers to provide .jpgs (pictures) to your presentation designers.  Web designers frequently provide screen shots of their work to your presentation designers.  Presentation designers collect everything and execute on your messages.
  • If you have enough time, pull your presentation designer into the storylining phase, there’s an extremely high chance that they’ll have ideas that will clarify your messages more.  Be sure to let them know about your audience and their preferences.
  • If you can, introduce all of your designers in person or on a conference call, letting them all know who’s role is what and getting their sign off then.  It will save a lot of battles in the future.

Happy team managing!

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