This is a snippet from an email I sent to a designer I’m working with:
Also, one additional thought: the photo seems a *bit* ambiguous—do you think it would be better to shift it left so that you can see more of the laptop (to provide better context)? Not trying to art-direct, just trying to look at it from the potential customer’s eyes.
I’m working with a designer to shore up the lines on The Iron Yard’s brand. The resulting standards will serve as a guide to any designer creating any sort of artwork or collateral related to our company.
Throughout this process I’ve worked hard to let the art/creative director do their job without interfering. What does that mean? Many times when you have a deep connection to a brand (i.e., you started the company) or your authority over that brand (which is part of my job), you’re tempted to let your preferences guide decision making about the brand. To some extent, if you know the brand intimately, you are one of the brands most valuable resources.
Many times, though, that intimacy can deceive you into thinking that you always know what’s best, even if in areas where you’re unqualified. For example, I’m not a designer. I’m not qualified to make choices about color, typography, hierarchy, etc. I certainly have opinions, some of which are probably good, but at the end of the day the creation of brand guidelines needs to be done by someone who is qualified to make those decisions with authority, producing a result that’s ultimately best for the customer—not my preferences.
Playing art director when you’re not—even if it comes from a good place of caring about the brand—can actually damage that brand if you don’t put your preferences in their proper place.