col·lab·o·rate verb \kə-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt\
: to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something

In the design world, collaboration is key. It is something that will benefit any project and probably, as many of us have learned, it’s best if you can start at the beginning. Your brain may be really creative but hey, why not have two creative brains on a project! Or three! Or four! If you’re a creative person and have ever been in a brainstorming session with other creatives, you know, our creative (maybe sometimes scattered) brains feed off each other! It’s fantastic.

But what happens if you don’t collaborate with the client, with other designers, with your favorite local printer? Uh oh. You may get responses like these:

Client: “This doesn’t reflect what we talked about at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board.” 

Designer friend: “Was this your first idea? Your only idea? How long did you spend on this?”

Favorite local printer: “This looks awesome but what’s your budget? It’s going to cost you a billion dollars to print this.”

BAH! You’re back to square one.

So what to do? 

 Beautiful typography by Sean McCabe of  (

Beautiful typography by Sean McCabe of (

So here’s what to do: Collaborate. 
It’s a verb, an action to achieve something.

Talk to your client. Ask questions. Accept their ideas but then take them a step further. Lend them your knowledge, your wisdom, your creativity. Chances are, you will think of something even better than what they have in mind. Exciting, right?!

Talk to your favorite local printer at the beginning of your project. See if your brilliant idea is doable in your allotted budget. Use their expertise. They have good ideas, they know of options that you may not. Branch out– don’t just print on high gloss because your client think it’s always classy (hate to break it to ya but…it’s actually not always). Check out these printing techniques and consider them in your next design. 

Send your design to another designer friend. Ask for brutal feedback. Have a thick skin and take the criticism in stride. It will only make you a better designer. Don’t have a designer friend? It’s ok, not to worry–send it to me! I’ll be happy to provide some feedback 🙂


In my 6 years of designing, I have found that brainstorming sessions are key. Keep in mind that there are no bad ideas in a brainstorming session. Write things down in a notebook, on a whiteboard, a napkin, wherever. Sketch thumbnails over and over and over again. Research. Talk about the design. In the end, you will have a quality product within your budget that everyone loves. 

What are some ways you love to collaborate or brainstorm?