1. Agree budget and package
Otherwise everyone could get embarrassed. Make sure you know what’s included and what’s not.
2. Agree ownership
Can you reproduce drawings and logos for other purposes? Don’t assume you can. Especially relevant with illustrations and photography.
3. Treat the designer as part of the team
Designers love what they do. It’s not just a job. If they feel valued they’ll do so much more. Treat them like transient supplier and they’ll treat the job like that too.
4. Be aware of fashions, avoid clichés
In fashion and pop music is easy to spot trends. It’s not so easy with design, but there are approaches that date badly and trends that come and go. Doing the wrong thing, or basing a design on something from just a few years ago may make your job look weak or out-of-date. A good designer will know what’s what.
5. Think visually
Look outside your industry for inspiration. Look at all design, everywhere, everything you own, everything you buy. Try to ascertain why you like certain things. Train your visual intelligence.
6. Explain what you don’t want
Sometimes this is easier than explaining what you want, after all you may not know all the possibilities. The more you give the designer, the better and more successful the result will be.
7. Explain the big picture
Don’t just say “we want this”. Explain the concepts, the history, the purpose of the product or service. The designer may have insights you’re not aware of. Don’t let them work in the dark. Design is a holistic process. Knowing the big picture will enable you to work together to create something that can achieve it’s aim rather than a shot in the dark which may or may not hit the target.