Let’s imagine that you’re sitting at your desk, eagerly awaiting the design of your new brochure to ping into your inbox.  You had a conversation with your design agency last week and they’re excited about getting the designs over to you. They’ve been working very hard and say that they’ve come up with something that you’re going to really like.

When the email arrives, your heart jumps and you open the email with bated breath.  The pdf opens slowly and your excitement makes you frustrated with your PC that seems to have become inexplicably slow.  Come on flaming computer!

Then, your wait is over, and you get the first glimpse of the new brochure.  Your excitement turns heavy and you feel a little confused, is this artwork really meant for you? It has your company logo on it, so it must be yours, but it’s not at all what you expected.

Simply, you don’t like this brochure, you don’t want this brochure and now you have to call the agency and let them know.

As an account manager at an agency, I’ve been on the receiving end of this conversation and as a marketing manager in a previous life, I’ve also been the instigator.  It doesn’t have to be an awkward conversation, so don’t fear it.

But how did it get to this point?

The most common cause of receiving artwork you don’t love is that an insufficient brief has been issued to the agency.  There is nothing harder than trying to design a product that is inside a marketer’s head, when they won’t tell you what they really want.

Often marketers feel that they should give their creatives a completely free reign to produce something outstanding.  But with hundreds of possible directions they could go in, what are the chances that they’ll pick the one direction you hope they will unless clear direction is given?

What do I do now?

Pick up the phone and call them.  As a design agency, our livelihood is creating design that you like.  If you walk away with something you aren’t completely happy with, we won’t be completely happy either!
But we make one request before you make this call, have a think about why don’t you like it.  Is it too text heavy?  Have we misunderstand your brand? Are the wrong elements emphasised? Did you have something completely different in mind?  Did you want something more playful? More serious?

These are all helpful, constructive criticisms and will point us in the right direction for the next version.  Please don’t feel awkward about asking us to change anything or even to start over again, our job really is to produce functional design that works for your company, not to use your marketing communications as awards fodder.

Have a look over the artwork, maybe sleep on it and think about what it is that you dislike.  Then pick up the phone and we’ll take it from there.