Having something made to your exact specifications is both exciting and exhilarating and with more people opting to buy bespoke, rather than off the shelf, you need to understand how to get the best from your designer. When you ask an artist or maker to create something for you, to ensure that you get a positive outcome, you need to create a good brief.
Now a good designer will know the right questions to ask to get the information they need from you, but the process can be improved if you take the time to think about what you actually want and follow it through in a communicative way.
I have heard people complain in the past that they didn’t get what they wanted from a project, and my reaction is, did you convey your requirements to your maker? They are designers, not mind readers.
So here are my tips for selecting and getting what you want from your designer.
Choose the right designer
It stands to reason that you need to find a designer that is right for you. This should be someone that you feel you can be honest with, as well as someone that you are confident can do what you require and is qualified to do the job. Check their website and social media, have a look at feedback and ask for references. Ask the questions that are important to you, to put your mind at ease. With bespoke design, cheapest is not necessarily best. If you have a fairly straight forward project, then a cheaper or junior designer may well be fine, but if you have a complex project or tight deadlines, then paying for a more experienced designer might save you money in the long run. Selecting the right designer is essential to getting your project right.
I would rather have too much information than not enough. Tell your designer everything, both in terms of practical information, size, colour, materials etc. but also in terms of what you want to think and feel when you see the finished product. This is information that your designer can work with. Provide context and background information, all these will help to ensure that you get the best fit possible.
If you are unsure of exactly what you want, then you need to give your designer some specific examples of your tastes. There is nothing like showing your designer what you like and of course, what you don’t! Seek out images of things that appeal, even if they are not right for this project. Expecting your designer to come up with ideas without a visual steer, is like expecting a stranger to guess your birthday.
If you have a sum of money in mind, share this with your designer. If you are way off the mark, they will tell you and then it’s up to you to decide if you want to proceed, but a designer, by default, will want to create the best for you and so you are likely to end up with the most expensive option if you don’t provide some parameters. If you are really unsure, then base your budget on it’s value to you.
This is a particular bugbear of mine. I have no problem with potential clients not going ahead with projects, things change, but don’t leave your designer hanging. They will have put time and effort into putting together ideas and prices for you, the least you can do is give them some feedback. Most issues can be ironed out with some simple dialogue, so don’t ignore people, just plain rude in my view!
Engage in dialogue with your designer. It is no accident that I end up friends with clients, because a relationship is formed during the design and delivery process. I have had clients get half a dozen quotes for a project, when if they had just engaged in a more detailed conversation with one or two people, they would have saved time and got a better result.
Most good designers will take constructive feedback well. We want to improve and get it right. So if there are things that you are unsure about, voice those concerns, if you want changes made, so say. Right up until the last minute. I always say to my clients, I paint and go, you have to live with that mural for many years, it has to be right. Don’t throw your toys out the pram, engage in dialogue.
Sometimes the creator knows best, I know, who knew. They will have come across many issues in previous projects and will be able to steer you down the best path and help you make the right decisions. Listen to what they have to say, even if you end up ignoring it, it may help you to improve the final outcome in ways you never expected.
Whatever you are having made, the whole journey should be a positive and enjoyable experience. By allowing your designer the freedom to do what they are good at and providing them with the information they need to make that fit your requirements, buying bespoke will become a way of life.