How to build great relationships between design and communication teams

How to build great relationships between design and communication teams

I’ve been fortunate to work with great business partners over the years and have learnt about what helps to deliver a great outcome. The working relationship between designers and a communications team is a key part to the success of any design project. To help you build a successful relationship I've put together some tips with key partners.  

  1. Get the design team in early. By engaging the design team early in the process it helps give context and plan the best approach for a smooth and successful project.

  2. Good brief. When thinking about the brief, more information is better than less. Include the who, what, when, where and why.

  3. Good communication. Ensure good communication channels are in place within the project team.

  4. Time is key. Understanding deadlines, milestone dates and allowing time for proofing.

  5. Clear written instructions. Errors are more likely to occur when relying on phone instructions or trying to decipher hand-written notes. Use PDF notes where possible.

Tips from Bugseye

  1. Think about what you want to communicate, your audience and how that should be reflected in design. For example: modern, industrial, aspirational, conservative, etc.

  2. Share your broader campaign objective as this sets the context for successful design.

  3. Share anything you really hate and communicate it early. E.g. colours, fonts or imagery.

  4. But don’t set boundaries. Good designers are smart creative people...give them space so they can surprise you.

  5. Save yourself some time and money by coordinating changes and draft controls.

Steve Harvey, Bugseye (

Tips from KJA

  1. A detailed brief for the creative work is an essential starting point.

  2. Responsiveness with one point of contact helps everyone.

  3. Have a clear client approval process.

  4. Defined project deadlines for each stage of the work help deliver in required time frames.

Toni Rankin, KJA (

Tips from Platform6

  1. Understand the purpose - designers, like communicators, need to fully understand the overarching purpose of the project, as well as the milestones along the way.

  2. Know the target audience - communicators need to clearly articulate the target audience to the designer to ensure what is produced is relevant and appropriate

  3. Get in early - ideally designers need to be part of the process from the start rather than an add-on. Not always possible for many reasons but as soon as they can get involved the better it is for them to understand the project

Scott Crebbin, Platform6 (