Tips For Working With Graphic Designers?

Hey community peeps, 

I know many of you don't have the luxury of working with graphic designers for your e-learning projects, but I know some you out there do! For those lucky ones who do currently work with graphic designer (or who have before) I'd love to hear your tips and tricks on how to successfully collaborate. 

What type of instructions do you provide them with for graphics? What format do they deliver the graphics in? Is there a review process? Can tweaks be made? 

I'd love to hear your insights.... Thanks in advance!

10 Replies
Bob S

When working with really good ones/established partners...

  • Provide the business context for the project
  • Share the overall "feel" you are going for
  • Don't be afraid to provide a rough mock-up or sketch if you have a vision - they will not judge you and it helps them hit the mark


When working with new/unproven ones...

  • Let them know you are looking for a long-term collaborator, not just a one-project vendor
  • Share a copy of your organizations Visual Standards
  • Consider providing a few actual examples of like/dislike to them (from web or otherwise)
  • Insist on 3 or more options being presented regardless, before they move to execution

For all of them...

  • Set CLEAR timelines for drafts, reviews, and finals, etc
  • Establish method/technology for transferring drafts and finals upfront (ie DropBox vs ?)
  • Ask them to draw in "layers", explaining that future projects with them will be easier if they can simply change out a layer or two
  • Secure both bitmap and vector formats (even if you won't use the latter right away)
  • Secure final "web rez" sized images as well as "full rez" masters
  • Remind them that iteration is not just possible, but likely
David Tait

As a graphic designer myself I'd say that a brief is the most important thing that you can provide. It helps ensure that we deliver exactly what you want and provides a checklist for both parties to refer to.

If your organisation has any brand guidelines these are also essential if you want any visuals to be on brand. Also, if what you're asking them to design is part of an existing offering I would give them access to anything that has gone before, with a list of likes/dislikes for them to consider.

Re: Bob's comment about asking for three or more design options, in my opinion it depends entirely on the context. For example, if you're having a new UI designed or a new logo then yes, you want options. Once you're past this stage however you don't really want to see three options of every slide design or every illustration, it's time-consuming and expensive to do this. Stick to getting options for the key elements and you should be fine.

Re: delivery format of graphics, this might depend on the software you have access to yourself and whether you are able to make modifications yourself. From experience, most professional designers use the Adobe suite, PhotoShop, InDesign and Illustrator mainly. It may be that you prefer another software suite, if so ask them if they can develop using that. Either way, insist on source files before you commission them as well as PNGs or JPEGs for inclusion in your SL projects (assuming that's what you're doing).

I would encourage your designer to be open and honest about your ideas at the outset and allow them to help you improve. If you allow them this, without them worrying about upsetting you then you will benefit from a wealth of experience that has taken them years to build. A good designer should give you solutions, not problems.

Snehal .

I have had the 'luxury' of working with some talented ‘in-house’ GD teams. Try to be as specific as possible in your instructions and maintain consistency in instructions to avoid confusion. I provided them with reference images / sketches. Having short meeting beforehand to explain the objective & crux of the content, share your vision, decide overall theme, and brainstorm on ideas helps a lot! Post development, there needs to be a review and discussion about changes required and GD's views on them. Close coordination at each stage of development helps to ensure both are on same page. 

Jerson  Campos

"Ask them to draw in "layers", explaining that future projects with them will be easier if they can simply change out a layer or two"

Sorry, but coming from a graphic design backgrounds, I don't like anyone telling me how I should work. The graphic designer should already have an established workflow that works best for them. If you are worried about making it easy to make future changes, then let them know that up front. Usually a good designer will develop their material for easy swapping in and out of colors or other items. 

Phil Mayor

I have worked with some amazing illustrators, normally when an illustrator has been onboarded the basic look and feel is done so I have no need for different designs, I would rather they focus on delivering their best work.

I would want the designer to develop how they work best and deliver me the assets as pngs (that are the same size as the slide)  that can be layered on the screen, i will sort out cropping as I find it easier to import at the slide size required and layout is already sorted this way no alignment to do. Although they can deliver as AI files I would prefer they do the exporting saves me time in the end to focus on the course building.

I find illustrators are much better at design than me, and the best, when briefed correctly will over deliver.  The key here is to spend time explaining what you need, I often mock up the course in Storyline and add in example images almost like a mood board with explanations in the notes.

My favourite designer can read my mind and rarely do I need to go back and ask for work to be corrected, but this comes from having a long-term relationship and a workflow that works for us both.

Bruce Graham


Phil Mayor

My favourite designer can read my mind and rarely do I need to go back and ask for work to be corrected, but this comes from having a long-term relationship and a workflow that works for us both.

 I'm assuming that is the amazing Laura "The Lion Lady" Jones, ( and yes - she DOES have a mindreading capability that is even better than mine!

Nancy Woinoski

Sometimes I need images in layers because I need to animate the  image - so for example if I have a character I want to make walk across the screen I would need to the have the character in separate parts in order to do this. That would be the only reason I would need them to draw in layers.


Ryan DeWitt

For Creative, spend more effort ($/time) on the color palate, type and viewing stock art examples to nail down style and feel. Don't create art for the sake of concept testing.

For Photos, ask to use free photo comps and swap out with custom photos when the project is in final production. Save bucks and your course feels real.  

For Vector Art, in production request to keep all the vector files kept together in 1 illustrator document using multiple artboards (60-100) Using this grid approach allows them make changes easily to one source file and export all updated graphics quickly with transparent backgrounds. All of the illustrator artboards are also perfectly square 512x512, allowing you to rotate objects perfectly.  You can also use layers with this method. 

Victoria Dovey

I find the most important thing is to be clear when you are being explicit and when you are just spitballing ideas. Our notes range from anything from "Up to you on this one!" to very clear graphic instructions up to half a page. In these notes, I make it clear which of the instructions should be uncompromised (if possible, and then if its not possible, they come back to me to discuss), because they have been thought of specifically for a learning objective or a scenario, and which I'm happy for them to change or are just suggestions really.