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3 Easy Ways to Improve Design Team Communication


If the words “misunderstood,” “misread,” and “mix up” are frequently overheard in your creative office, you might be suffering from team miscommunication.

Strong communication is vital to the success of all companies, no matter how big or small. But when it comes to design teams especially, clear, concise communication makes it easier to meet deadlines and produce award-winning work.

If you’re ready to improve communication on your design team, follow these three tips.

Understand the Importance of Design Work

Most people don’t like being told what to do, especially without a thorough explanation as to why they should do it. That’s why creative managers should always be upfront about how design work contributes to the greater whole of the company. This will help your design team realize the importance of their work, and as a result, they’ll be happier and more productive. 
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There are two parts to helping your design team understand the why behind their work.

1. First, gather your entire team in the same room and explain the project at hand. Try working collaboratively to figure out what exactly needs to be done, then ask each person how they’d like to contribute their skills. By being involved in the task delegation process, employees are empowered with the independence and passion they need to produce their best work.

2. Design tasks shouldn’t be thought of as just another card on your Trello board. Instead, design teams need to understand how their work affects the long-term outcome of the organization. Successful creative teams know their company’s success depends on their keen visual eye and intuitive problem solving skills.

Read: Foolproof Ways to be More Independent (and Satisfied) at Work 

Keep Design Assets Organized

What’s worse than redesigning a lost brand asset? Well, it depends who you ask. But finding the asset a few hours later (after completing the duplicate work) is definitely high on the list.

The good news is there’s one concrete way to prevent such a situation: stop sharing brand assets through email attachments. I know, it can be hard to kick the email habit. But trust me — there are tools specifically designed to eliminate email and make your life easier.

Shazam Brandfolder

For example, digital asset management solutions keep all of your design documents in a single location your entire team can access. Brandfolder is a great platform specifically for design teams who want to collaborate on work in a secure and private location. Brandfolder’s comments feature can be used to leave feedback on certain assets, making it easy for a designer to view all of her team’s suggested improvements in one spot.

Speak the Same Creative Language

Have you ever encountered so much miscommunication with a co-worker that it felt you weren’t even speaking the same language? This actually has some truth to it. In a recent InVision article, Roni Klein, Marketing Designer at Yotpo, explains the importance of creative language.

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If you’re new to the idea of creative language, it’s basically an informed, articulate way of discussing problems and solutions in design. To understand what creative language isn’t, consider the feedback below:

“Just make it pop more.”

“Can you give it more oomph?”

“How about you try doing it over.”

We’ve all heard this type of feedback, which is vague, ineffective, and frustrating. To replace these empty phrases, try adopting an affirmative tone of voice and use details to be as specific as possible in your feedback. Ask questions that get to the root of the designer’s thought process, so you can offer suggestions in a way that makes sense to him or her. This will ensure the next design draft is something both you and your fellow designer are proud of.

Design Team Communication

Improving design team communication takes effort, but the benefits are well worth it. When your entire creative team is more invested in the work they’re doing, they’re happier and more inspired — and who doesn’t want that?


Michelle Polizzi is a freelance writer and former content coordinator for Brandfolder. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her bicycling around Denver, catching a live concert or cooking up a fresh vegetarian dish.

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