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How to Better Communicate With Developers

We aren’t afraid to admit it: Graphic designers can be somewhat reclusive professionals. Being reclusive is a habit bred out of hours spent at home, working in the wee hours of the night, fueled by coffee and creativity, scrapping away at a mountain of freelance designs. So, what do we do—as graphic designers—when we’re forced to interact with a developer or development team?

If you haven’t worked with a developer or team of them yet, you’ve lucked out: As more and designs require detailed web application development and in-depth knowledge of various coding environments, it’s more and more commonly the practice to assign both a designer and a developer to a project, especially in larger design firms.

Minutes after your first meeting with a developer, though, you’ll quickly find that you both speak different languages, and that at times, your desires might seem at odds with each other. Keep in mind that you both come from different backgrounds with—almost certainly—different personality subsets. This doesn’t have to be a total roadblock, though. Instead of getting caught in the mire of miscommunication when talking with a developer, take an extra effort to communicate harder than you usually would. Describe your projects in extreme detail, down to the last tiny bit of this-or-that. This helps to clear up confusion, and will save you a lot of arguments when some element of the project comes up for revision.

Likewise, don’t be afraid to stick to the project scope like none other. This document is your lifeline when group projects are involved, as they’re a form of justification for all the tiny little decisions you make on a daily basis. The next time you have to make a choice between two different typesets, consider if they’re in compliance with the project scope. Does the book even have any specifics about that kind of stuff? If not, then go for it, Pilgrim! Work within your directions, and then surpass them to avoid any confusion, angst, and unfriendly attitudes from your team of developers.

Lastly, be confident in your own abilities. You’re a professional, man! You’re every bit as qualified to work on the project as the lead developer, and you shouldn’t be afraid to impose your thought processes onto the ultimate design. You’re on the team, so don’t ever be afraid to act like it.

Posted on October 24, 2011

Category: General, Small Business

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