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Be an Expert, Not an Order Taker

An interview with
Colleen Gratzer


When you start out as a graphic designer it’s easy to become an order taker, to do exactly as the client asks. This can make you feel, and be treated like a puppet on a string. But how do you move away from that?

On this weeks podcast Ian interviews Colleen Gratzer to discover how you become the expert, allowing you to become the puppeteer. A designer who understands the why behind every project, who solves the problem, and is trusted by clients to provide the most effective solution.

In this episode we also discuss Brand Style Guidelines, to understand why you should provide one to your clients, what details should be included, and how to put one together.

Colleen Gratzer is the face behind Design Domination, a podcast and community for aspiring graphic designers. She also runs her own design practice, Gratzer Graphics, which she started back in 2003, so all advice she offers is very current, genuine and helpful.

Colleen Gratzer Interview Transcription

Part 1: Designing a Brand Style Guide

Ian Paget: I’m aware that you’ve recently released a brand style guide template, which is very impressive.

I want to ask a few questions around this. So, my first question for you, why should designers create brand style guide for their customers?

Colleen Gratzer: That’s a great question. Well, creating a brand style guide is important for quite a few reasons. One is that it really sets up the client for success. So, you’ve just created this fabulous logo and possibly these other design elements associated with it, along with the colour scheme and typographical elements, right? Helping them understand what to do with them all. That helps them continue on with what you’ve just created.

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