How to manage a graphic designer?
May 15, 2014 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I work with an agency that has multiple clients, projects, and account managers, but only one, remote graphic designer. It has fallen on me to manage all graphic design needs for all accounts, and communicate these needs to the designer. Is there software, a template, or any other service that would helps manage this? (I know there are various project management apps/platforms, but is there one better suited to graphic design?) I'll need to track assorted, shifting deadlines for projects that each have their own styles and assets. All tips appreciated!
posted by Unsomnambulist to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
What would you say is the difficult part about the current arrangement?
posted by michaelh at 10:53 AM on May 15, 2014

It sounds as if you have a bottleneck that is problematic, but I'm also not quite sure what expectations are being set on either side.

What is the graphic designer asking for to do their jobs? What information is provided from the client? Can the designer talk to the client or do they have to go through the agency? Is there more work than can be done by one person?

There are other questions that I would have but I am not sure there's enough information to really make a recommendation.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:59 AM on May 15, 2014

Also...Are you briefing the designer? If not, who is?
posted by tardigrade at 11:10 AM on May 15, 2014

The designer is requesting one point of contact to assign him projects and set deadlines. This will be me.

He needs specifics for each project: required dimensions, if its for online or print, copy, creative direction including any required assets (ie photos or logos), etc.

The challenge from my end is compiling all the needs from our account managers, and ensuring the info they provide is enough for the designer to get started, then working as the mediator for any necessary changes.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 11:22 AM on May 15, 2014

In my office, we have created a custom online form in situations like this. You can use something free like emailmeform or even Google forms - put in all the info that you need from the account managers. Project name, purpose, dates, etc - decide what fields are required and what would just be nice to have. Send the link to the account managers when they have a new project, have the system set so you are the form recipient. You take note of the dates, add check in dates to your calendar, make sure all the necessary info is there, etc - then send it on to the designer.
posted by cessair at 11:30 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

A good start would be asking the designer to create a standardized form or questionnaire that contains all the information he needs. Then have each client fill it out.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:31 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

My company utilized RedBooth (previously known as Teambox). It allows communication, the creation of tasks, commenting on tasks, ect. You can attach graphics/files to tasks as well. It's been very convenient for getting everyone on the same page after our acquisition as it's very user-friendly and everyone can be given various levels of access so that it better suits the business needs.
posted by stubbehtail at 12:47 PM on May 15, 2014

Mike Monteiro's You're My Favorite Client isn't out quite out yet, or it would be very helpful on the bridging aspect, but it might be worth bookmarking to check back on.
posted by carbide at 1:00 PM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sounds like it's not a problem of how to organize and manage information but a problem of knowing what information to get. If so, you probably need to have a nice long conversation with the graphic designer to get up to speed on that topic.
posted by Dansaman at 1:26 PM on May 15, 2014

I am a graphic designer who works under similar conditions. I have more than one person who feeds me work, but those people are each working with other clients and conveying their requests to me, some are in the head office with me, others are in the regional offices.

It sounds like maybe you need help on the client/account side more than the designer side, and I don't have insight into that part of it, but the way that the people who do the work you do communicate with me is via a custom online form of the type that cessair mentions above. It has tick boxes and dialogue boxes for all the specs and variations, deadlines (initial design, when it needs to go to printer, when it needs to be back from the printer) and a place to upload files like the copy or images. It arrives via email, and I can look over the form and attachments to see whether I have everything to start the job or whether I need to ask more questions.

I agree that to populate a form like this you should have a conversation with the designer. They'll know exactly what they want and need from you.
posted by looli at 2:22 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

i second redbooth however the only drawback is it doesn't support repeating tasks.

for graphic design we adore conceptshare which for years has allowed a multiperson discussion of visual concepts at a very granular and precise level.
posted by lapsang at 6:47 AM on May 16, 2014

and if you want I can walk you through a project in conceptshare.
posted by lapsang at 6:53 AM on May 16, 2014

Thanks everyone!
posted by Unsomnambulist at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2014

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