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3 secrets for successful collaboration


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If you’re part of a talented design studios and working with the best creative directors in the industry, you’ll know that sometimes egos can get in the way of business. But good designers know how to put their differences aside and focus on the task at hand. As part of Computer Art’s video series with The Partners, creative director Stuart Radford and account director Suzanne Neal reveal how they forge successful collaborations.

  1. Work hard to shared goals

Large enough to have a dedicated strategy department, the Partners ensures that it works closely with creatives from the outset of a project. “In another organisation, as a designer you might be handed over the strategy and told to get on and bring that to life,” points out Radford.

While Radford and Neal concede that their agendas can conflict, the end goal is always the same: making a brilliant piece of work. “What I’m doing in terms of the creative process doesn’t always fit neatly into the blocks of time or budget that we have,” admits Radford. “It’s a balancing act, and we both work together to build the really strong relationships we have with the clients,” continues Neal.

  1. Review work regularly

In order to maintain the agency’s impeccably high standards across a huge variety of projects, regular review sessions are essential. Monthly reviews across all projects, at whatever stage, enable the creative directors to influence the work, while quarterly reviews act more as a benchmarking retrospective.

“We also catch up daily or weekly with the client, and if it’s a longstanding client we may also do a six-monthly or yearly health check,” adds Neal.

  1. Bring in external specialists

The Partners particularly excels at collaborating with external craft specialists, such as illustrators – and Neal insists it all comes down to being honest about where your expertise does, and doesn’t, lie. “We can’t do everything,” she points
out. “It’s about finding the right people for the job, and that’s not always us.”

“You’d really end up limiting yourself if you brought that kind of thing in-house,” adds Radford. “It means we’re not tied to any particular technique. We have the freedom to think of what is right, and then find the right person to do that.”


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If you would like to plagiarize, here are some of my top tips:

  1. don’t often post with English that is much worse than this article
  2. don’t quote articles that have interview soundbite in them. It’s just… obvious.
  3. maybe rewrite a little bit so it doesn’t take 1 second to find the sauce: http://www.creativebloq.com/features/3-secrets-for-successful-collaboration

Pro-tip for not digging a hole:

  1. don’t pretend that you wrote this piece. See point 1.
  2. don’t claim that you were just “sharing something you found”.

I could go on, but dude. All this reveals to prospects is that you steal other people’s work without accreditation. As a graphic design “agency”, this is a deathblow to your reputation. Just as well most buyers come here to rant about a subpar experience, really.

Bonus tip

  1. don’t do this.
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I mean, look at this. An astounding similarity to your “creative app icon”. https://dribbble.com/shots/2372334-Daily-UI-5-App-Icon

I suggest you spend less time looking for articles to plagiarize and more time designing your own. I don’t see creativity; I see someone who knows how to Photoshop a little bit and is quite happy to take third party content and use it as their own. Sure, it looks good, but it’s not yours. I could ask Paolo if he’s cool with you using his work to promote your services. What do you think?

I mean, you did collaborate with him on this… didn’t you?

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