Managing a graphic design project is not a simple matter of meeting design standards and complying with deadlines. This type of project involves a team of creative people, which can be a challenge because you want to make sure that you are nurturing the process of exploring and innovating. However, meeting deadlines and budget restrictions are just as important in business.
1. Define Clear-cut Goals
The project kick-off meeting is the best time to discuss any problems, project parameters and goals. It is the initial brainstorming session, which should make it the right time for you as team leader to set forth clear-cut suggestions to move the project in the right direction. Waiting until later to discuss project guidelines will waste your team’s time and effort, delaying completion and possibly incurring extra expenses.
2. Check-in but Avoid Micromanaging
Check the progress of the team regularly, but avoid micromanaging the project. Creative people working on graphic design projects need room to work productively. Minimize the distractions and allow the team to work independently while encouraging their passion for the project. Creative minds feel valued if they are given the authority to make decisions. They feel relevant if they have direct access to higher-ups in the organization whose input may be needed to move the project along. Provide feedback in a timely manner, and solicit feedback even while the design is in process.
3. Prioritize Team Effort
Treat the team as a cohesive unit, doling out praise to the team and directing critiques to the whole team. Calling out individuals for positive or negative reasons will only create unnecessary competition. Encourage collaboration instead of competition to make sure that each one puts forth their best effort for the project. In other words, the entire team gets the accolades and the bonus, if any, regardless of how much or how little they contributed to the project.
4. Provide a workable schedule
Graphic design projects take time to brainstorm, develop, review and revise if necessary. There will be cases when clients want their deliverables within an impossible time frame. Shield your creative team from these kinds of pressure. Ranting will not make the project move along faster. As team leader, you could negotiate that the client will be able to view work in progress instead of waiting to see the finalized project. Appease the client by offering revisions as needed during the process. With your team, strive to be firm when giving directions, but be respectful of their artistic quirks.
5. Use Technology to your Advantage
Today’s graphic designers have access to various tools, including different apps and devices. There is also a wealth of information that is now accessible to everyone on the Internet. Make sure that your team is given access to hardware, software and research resources to support their creative process. Project management apps can create timelines and monitor progress so that you can make adjustments to the work schedule as needed. Productivity apps such as time trackers are also helpful to ensure that everyone stays on track as the work progresses. Using a time tracker will tell you how much time went into each phase of the graphic design project, which you can use as basis for future project estimates. Other helpful apps include contract templates and virtual assistants.
No matter the size of your graphic design project, it is always productive and efficient to communicate with the team as a whole unit. Make sure that expectations are clearly defined at the outset and that you have a system for monitoring progress and assessing compliance with goals.