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Making It Your Fault

(February 2013) posted on Wed Jan 30, 2013

Before blaming your designer for a final-product fault, take a step back and realize it may have been something you missed in the beginning.

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By Jared Smith

Do you have a formal process to take your customers through, one that documents factors such as:
* What’s the desired result of this wrap?
* Is this wrap part of a bigger campaign?
* How will this vehicle be used, who is driving it, and where does it go?
* Who is the customer’s competition, and what is their differentiator?
* How can we tell if the wrap “works” or not?

If you can’t gather this information correctly, you probably can’t deliver it correctly. I recommend you sit down with your design team and establish a process or at least a form document that will capture all vital and non-vital design intent. Then, huddle with your sales team to get it implemented.

After you’ve established the process for gathering this defined information, you must then devise a way to deliver it to your design staff. How will you get this information to the design team? It should be in the same manner each time, whether that’s in the job jacket, the design notes tab of your job-flow software, or simply via e-mail with a rigid subject line that follows a predetermined naming convention. This process should be predictable, repeatable, and capable of being archived and retrieved when needed later (even years later).

Championing the designer
So in the spirit of “make it your fault,” I suggest you take a hard look at what you could have done better before simply pointing a finger at your design department. Empower your design team to “reject” jobs that were incorrectly submitted. If they don’t receive photos for a vehicle that’s not “certified,” tell them to refuse to begin the design. If they don’t get information on the “exact” year, make, and model, tell them to politely ask the salesperson to get his or her act together and come back when details like that are indeed available.

The designer’s role is not only difficult and thankless, but they’re often at high risk for being the fall guy when something doesn’t fit. Before simply asking the design team how they could have “made such an obvious mistake,” remove every possibility that the process, policies, protocol, or the lack of provided detail could contribute to leaving the door open for errors. Give your designers a break – they work hard and we could all use a little exercise in tuning up the provided information and how it gets to them. Happy designers can really help ensure happy customers.