The Definitive Guide to Managing Creative Design Requests
Design lies at the very heart of organizational communication.
Someone creates an asset (say a blog post or a mockup for a website) and passes it on for approval. This asset eventually ends up with the designer. The designer is responsible for enhancing the beauty of an asset to make it more presentable for the end-users.
What that means is that without the designer’s input, your organization’s effort to deliver meaning to your end customers and other stakeholders will always fall flat.
Why? Because your meticulously planned assets don’t appeal to your customers and stakeholders.
Here’s where the design request comes in. The design request is simply a document from higher-up stakeholders telling the designer what exactly to do with an asset and what is expected when work is completed on it.
The design request guides the designer to bring in their expertise and creativity and still do a great job with the project they’ve been assigned.
So, whether you’re managing graphic, web, or product design assets, you need to better understand how to manage creative design requests better.
In this article you’ll learn:
- Why you need to manage and prioritize design requests,
- The types of design requests that show up in the creative process,
- Tips and tricks for managing design requests, and
- The ultimate design request management tool.
Why is it important to manage & prioritize design requests?
The essence of design is to offer an experience to a specific audience. That, in many cases, is targeted at your customers since you’re looking to convince them that your product is the solution to their pain points.
So, why should you double down on managing design requests? How can better management improve your design components to deliver a better experience to your audience?
Here are the key benefits of managing and prioritizing design requests.
Focus on higher priority goals
That is, as your business or product development grows, there’s the need to keep refining to stay in place.
Now, you have unlimited room for growth and limited resources, i.e. designers who can get tired, burn out, etc. managing your creative design requests.
As a result, it’s important to prioritize your creative requests to focus on the most important that’ll make the most impact bringing you closer to your desired outcomes. Prioritizing design requests makes it easy to channel resources and focus on what needs to be done now.
Brings sense into your project management
Imagine a situation where someone from the senior team reaches out to Brett down at Web Design and asks how work on the new homepage is going.
Brett hasn’t begun working on it because he got several other emails asking him to redesign the landing pages for four eBooks the marketing department is promoting.
He manages all his work from his inbox and gets started on whatever comes in first—you can hardly blame him.
A system designed to manage and prioritize design requests solves this. It empowers the entire company to manage design requests in one place where everyone can see what they’ve been assigned, track deadlines, priority, and communicate seamlessly with other team members.
Simplifies the creative process
You can’t manage anything without a process.
They may seem like a drag, but processes are the essence of management. A process shows you the steps you have to take to get a task done—based on what it took to get several other similar tasks done.
Managing design requests forces your entire organization to collaborate with processes that show the steps to take, tips to apply, and generally, guides everyone to get good outcomes without overthinking.
Saves time & energy
The simplicity that a creative design process offers helps everyone involved saves the time, energy, and resources that’d have been wasted putting out fires, changing plans halfway, etc. It’s always easier focusing your strengths when you have a blueprint everyone adheres to.
Imagine a situation where a designer gets an email to rework a logo without adequate information as to why exactly. The designer now starts a thread asking what exactly they’re supposed to change before even getting started on the design task. Managing design requests makes it easy for stakeholders to convey all the information their lower counterparts need to get their job done.
Types of design requests that feature in the creative process
Hearing the word design, it’s easy to default to think we’re talking about images, logos, letterheads, and all kinds of graphic components. In a way, we are, but that’s not all. Design is a field as vast as it can be and touches several branches of every organization.
So, if you want to create a process for managing and prioritizing your design requests, a quick recap of the different types of design requests you should be looking at will help.
1. Graphic design
Graphic design is the most recognizable form of design since it’s physical and visual. And of course, humans are visual creatures.
Graphic design deals with pictures, videos, and similar content assets and all the work that goes into creating, editing, and perfecting them to serve a very specific purpose.
Likewise, graphic design requests are designed to give a graphic designer detailed information about the asset they’re supposed to create or edit, the context it’ll function in, and essentially, enough information for the designer to put himself in the end user’s shoes and do a perfect job.
2. Web design
Since the rise of the World Wide Web, web design has proven to be another aspect of design you can’t ignore.
After all, if the whole world is moving online, you need to be there looking your best when potential customers and partners come around, right?
Web design requests function similarly to graphic design requests and provide all the information your web designer needs to create web assets. The aim is to give the web designer all the information needed to create an ideal experience for your business’s end users and potential customers that’ll be landing on your web pages.
3. Product design
When planning out new products, no one ever earmarks a huge budget and starts trying to “see what we can do with this”.
The product design process is all the work that goes into planning out what a product should look like and the functionality it should offer to end-users. A product design request is a blueprint that gives the product development team a basic breakdown of what they should be building, what it should look like, and what experience it should offer end users.
In the end, creative design requests are all about creating a blueprint. The designer then takes this blueprint to design an asset that offers an experience to the target audience.
Best practices for managing creative design requests
If we’ve established anything so far, it’s that management can either make or break your creative design requests. The effort put into prioritizing and guiding individual creative projects determines how successful they end up.
So, easy fix: if you want to design better creative assets (graphics, web assets, products), you need to focus on managing your design requests better.
Here’s a collection of best practices for managing your creative design requests.
Catalog and store all your design requests in one place
Fragmented collaboration is a huge challenge in a project that faces all design departments across the world.
Say, the content marketing director sends a design request via email to the chief designer, asking him to prioritize the design for an eBook that should be published in 2 days. Of course, the chief designer is busy with other projects he started working on earlier and can’t ditch either one.
Over on Slack, the web design team discusses with the chief designer concerning work on the company’s website that should be launched in three days. Updates also come in routinely via email, dividing the design team’s attention.
In the end, the content marketing manager manages to get the chief designer and team to focus on the eBook, but since they got started late they can’t finish on time. The deadline reaches and both the eBook project and website project are not completed.
Managing creative design requests requires first that you bring it all—communications, file sharing, etc., —into one platform from where you can plan.
Manage requests formally
Amanda from Marketing could ask you to help her complete work on that image for the blog post she’s working on.
But that doesn’t guarantee you’ll remember to do it. So, what does that mean?
That you can’t plan reliably with any information that is not formally noted down where everyone can see it.
If you’re looking to take your creative design process to the next level then all design requests must be formally created via a request form where the requester enters all the details needed to get started working on the request.
Not only should you use a formal submission to collect design requests, but they must be open for all stakeholders to view. This way, other teams will be able to visualize how work is flowing and how soon their own work can get started based on the work priority queue.
Pair requests with business goals
Managing requests demands that you prioritize and focus on the most important design tasks per time.
But to do that, you’ll need to pair up each design request with the big picture goals they’re designed to help your business achieve.
One way your organization can leverage this is by using a request submission form that demands requesters submit design requests with an option to tie in with a specific business goal.
These design requests can then be manually prioritized at periodic meetings where your team sits down to determine what’s more important per time.
Manage with a definite process
Don’t just focus on collecting requests from across your entire organization. To manage design requests better, it’s important to create a process with steps each design task should walk through from start to finish.
Managing your creative design requests will empower you to collect them, prioritize, and deliver on your targets without expending resources unnecessarily or burning your team out.
A project board in a project management tool can simplify your design requests. Here’s how
Creative design requests are essentially projects—albeit, on a smaller scale. They must be documented, tracked, and managed, from start to finish.
And to do that you need a tool that’s designed for creating, storing, tracking projects, and moving tasks from to-do to done while keeping the entire team on the same page.
We built Kissflow Project as the ultimate project board for managing team projects flexibly—design requests included.
Kissflow Project offers various features such as:
- Collaboration features like comments, @mentions, and notifications to keep everyone on the same page. No more jumping from Slack to email to pass messages across,
- A simple Kanban board for creating project statuses so you can easily create tasks and move them from to-do to done,
- Task management so you can assign specific tasks to specific members of your team and track their progress,
- Powerful workflows that you can design as suits your needs, and
- Dynamic forms for collecting data.
Kissflow’s project board offers all you need to manage design requests simpler and engage your entire team. The outcome? You manage requests faster while building products and assets that delight your customers.
Take Kissflow Project for a spin here.
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