Collaboration Works Both Ways

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. And again, and again!

Collaboration is a key element of great design. Every client has their own perspective on what they want, which is great because it makes every project I work on unique. I get to see my interpretation of the brief, and how my process is working, through fresh eyes.

As a window into the collaborative process, I thought it would be useful to share a few commonalities or expectations that I’ve learned from my clients along the way.

Understanding is the cornerstone of any brief, and communication is a two-way process. It’s vital that all parties truly hear what’s being asked of them and explained to them. 

Propose the unexpected
One of the joys of the design is to find the unexplored angle in a brief that delights a client. Similarly, we love our clients to surprise us with ideas however unusual (which ties in neatly to my next point)

Ask questions – assume nothing
An important element of the partnership we enter into on a project is to be comfortable asking anything. Take this as a general rule of thumb – no question is a stupid question…within reason, obviously!

Assume nothing – ask questions
Always seek clarity if you’re unsure. Don’t make any expectations about the brief if it’s not explained to your satisfaction. This applies to timescales, budgets, how we communicate, how the work will be delivered etc. Nobody wants any nasty surprises…

Under promise, over deliver
…but people do love a great surprise! This one may sound a little corny, but my expectation is always to exceed client expectations. This point draws together all of the above points and creates an understanding which can lead to something truly remarkable.

One final expectation
Design, like all creative experiences, is a journey. It’s the process of translating an idea, either your own or someone else’s, into a clearly defined tangible.

Think of a design brief as a process roadmap. When we share our thoughts, on any aspect of that process, we have an opportunity to course correct and find better ways of working. And that ultimately makes our future journeys together easier to navigate.

Until next time, this is Rick signing off.



Howdy! I’m Rick, a brand expert and seasoned graphic designer in NY’s Hudson Valley. For more than 40 years I’ve been creating remarkable brand solutions for individuals, companies and nonprofits here and beyond.

I want people to understand why brand is essential to their business, share a few personal experiences, and explore what goes into a good (or bad) design.