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Top 10 Things Designers Hate Number 2, or: The Great File Caper

We hope you’re as excited as we are to be getting to the top 2 on this list! We’ve covered rate cards, too much text, and all kinds of great stuff about fonts. We’re now approaching the two most difficult problems that designers encounter with clients—but never fear! We’ve got the scoop on how to avoid these snafus and keep your process running smoothly. The number 2 thing designers hate is when a client says…

2) “My last designer was terrible! She wouldn’t give me the design files!”

Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because we won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of

Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because we won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of

Occasionally, a client may believe that he is buying not just a logo or ad, but also all the ad’s component parts and the right to make changes at will. The client may ask the designer to create the artwork in Microsoft Word, or simply to share the InDesign or Quark files so it is easier for the client to make adjustments himself.

This is generally not something a designer will do. In most design contracts, clients own the final artwork, but not the “working files” or drafts. While a designer will be happy to collaborate with a client on making changes until the final design is satisfactory to both parties, the majority of designers will not allow a client the right to make changes to a completed design.

There are many reasons for this! First is professional pride: designers want to prevent their painstakingly crafted artwork from being altered. A client is not likely to know as much about composition, fonts, or graphics as a trained graphic designer, and that can lead to oddly stretched or pixelated images and strangely composed ads. We have our reputations to think about, after all!

Maintaining ownership of working files is also good business sense: if a client believes that he or she can simply re-adjust the same ad over and over, then why go back to the designer for a fresh new ad campaign? (of course, wouldn’t you rather have a shiny new design?!) In addition, there are some potential licensing issues. Most images are copyrighted.  If a client gives a designer a photo for their ad, then the photo continues to belong to the client. But if a designer acquires fonts or images elsewhere, then they have the right to sell the final product, but they may not have the legal right to sell you the individual parts.

Understanding what you are (and are not) buying from a designer is an important part of maintaining a positive working relationship. Many conflicts between designer and client can be avoided if ownership and the process are discussed beforehand! Then everyone knows what to expect, and you’re all happy…just like this puppy in a bucket!

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

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Motivation, Values, and a Dash of Interest: A Recipe for Advertising

Business Tips and Trends

Now, you’re probably thinking that you’ve read all there is to creating a good advertisement but maybe it’s still not working? If not, let’s go into a little more depth into important design elements that make advertisements successful.

Tip #1: Holding Your Audience’s Attention

People are motivated according to their personality, values, and culture. They don’t read your ads. It is—bottom line—about what interests them. Repeat to yourself this phrase “stand out” and don’t be fearful of being a tad controversial! Your headline is the first place to grab the consumer’s attention.

An example is “Will it blend?” by Blendtec where they try to blend things such as light bulbs, iPods, plungers…you get the idea. But it’s catchy or, at the very least, interesting right?


Watch some Blendtec videos here:

Tip #2: Define a Value Proposition

The value proposition in your campaign should make you distinctive from your competition. Why should people choose you over the next guy? Most effective propositions can be made or shared within 10 seconds. For example, the Dawn soap commercials about how it cuts grease gently off poor animals suffering from oil spills.


Tip #3: Emotional Influence and Persuasion

Everyone loves cute animals and it can make any tough man feel that fuzzy spot deep in his heart (unless he prefers cats—then you use kittens). The way the Budweiser puppy during the 2014 Super Bowl made those entire hearts gush and triggered emotions to create a lasting memory. Emotions generated by positive past experiences signal the brain to note that experience as important.


Other tips will include keeping your message simple, staying relevant to the target market, visual elements, tell a story, clearly link your messages, and make your ad a component. The point is to remember it’s about what people are interested in and your advertisement for your product and/or service is secondary. It’s about what will motivate your consumers to take an action from your advertisement.