As technology becomes accessible throughout the world, more people are learning to work with these digital innovations. 

In the field of business, a lot of owners are already using technology to their own advantage. According to BDO, 81% of organizations accept the fact that IT is a strategic enabler of their business. Reliance on Software as a Service tools increased further after the COVID-19 pandemic when the majority of the labor force transitioned to remote work.

This includes graphic workers. 

Remote work has its pros and cons, but if you are a manager handling graphic artists, the setup might be a bit challenging at the start. The lack of face-to-face interaction may lead to various problems. The remote setup limits the free flow of giving and receiving feedback on designs. It also removes the comforting hallway discussions and exchange of ideas. Plus, with managing a team of creative people from a distance, you might struggle to maintain a clear direction.

Is managing a remote team of graphic artists uniquely challenging? Yes. Is it impossible to do? Absolutely not.

Top Tips to Manage Remote Graphic Designers 

Here are some top tips on how to manage a team of graphic designers remotely:

How to work with creative minds

Is it difficult to work with creative people? Studies seem to say so. A psychology journal article revealed that there is a link between creativity and psychoticism and creative people tend to be more anti-social, less conscientious, and more neurotic than regular people. So HOW should you work with them?

1. Be straightforward.  

A graphic designer on his own is an expert on what he/she does. You hire one for their skills, knowledge and years of experience. The first thing that you have to do is to make sure that you have a clear vision or a concrete plan before making them do things.

Communicate effectively by letting them know what you want, how you want to do it, and when you want it. You can start by laying down your blueprint/strategic plan- your industry type, branding and target market. Next, you can relay further details like your desired color or layout or even the tiniest detail you have in mind. Always remember to discuss your schedule, budget and timeframes but be reasonable and considerate as to not compromise the result you want.

You must tell them what matters most to you but you must also allow your team of graphic designers to play with their creativity. Trust their expertise. Believe that they will put together exceptional results.

2. Don’t just tell them about what you want, give them examples.

When you hire a remote team of graphic designers, you may hire people from different parts of the world and then have them work together. You may not speak the same language but creativity goes beyond language barriers. You can communicate using different ways.

One effective communication tool is by laying down examples, a visual of what you want or where you might want to draw inspiration from. By now, you may have visited websites or have taken screenshots of logos, ads, signs or an already desired design in mind. You can present your collected visual examples so your team can work their way through them. No words are needed, just visuals. Do these and see your team’s expertise work magic for you.

3. They are your partners, not mere workers.

Before getting a team of graphic designers, you already know that you pay them for their expertise. You trust them with your business branding so you must treat them as professionals who are experts on what they do. After all, they are the ones who are putting your vision together in a creative output for people to see. 

You can give valuable feedback and suggestions but must also be mindful of the way you say it as not to offend them or insult their creativity. Give them space to showcase their skills and allow them to creatively incorporate your ideas into the overall output. Trust that they can give the best outputs. Remember, you hired them because they do what they do best. 

How to communicate with your remote graphic designers

In any business or industry, one key to success is good and open communication. Unfortunately, in a face-to-face set up, this can already be a challenge. How much more if you will be dealing with a team of graphic designers doing it remotely? These are some tips to improve your communication with them:

4. Collaboration tools are your partner.

When it comes to communicating with your team of remote workers, nothing is more important than collaboration tools. A collaboration tool can serve as the channel of communication between everyone involved in a project. A good collaboration platform must have file-sharing features and chat, audio, and video conversion options. This way, it does not only promote open communication, it also improves overall productivity. 

There are many different types of collaborative tools. For a remote team, there you can try Slack or Trello. You can also search the internet for more alternatives.

5. Schedule your meetings and stick with them.

As we repeatedly say, communication is important to succeed at any given goal. This may require double effort when you are dealing with a remote team.  Set a weekly meeting, where you can check on their work progress, discuss revisions and other necessary details, and manage expectations. You can also take this weekly meeting as a time to get to know each other personally to strengthen the team’s working relationship. Make sure you stick to your schedule and do it consistently.

6. Don’t lose it if your graphic designers experience a “creativity block”.

It is especially hard when you are dealing with creative people because you cannot force them to operate in creativity 24/7. You have to allow them to work at their own pace, so your role as a manager is to encourage and assist your team to overcome the so-called artist’s creativity block. Do not forget to recognize your team’s effort, appreciate their progress, and remind them to also take a rest from screen time and do their hobbies or spend more time with their loved ones. 

During your weekly video call meetings, you can also set up virtual team-building activities/games to promote work-life balance for your team. By providing a healthy, positive and considerate working environment you will stir up the team’s creativity and passion to work well. 

How to put the “We” in Team

Hiring the right people with the right set of skills, attitude and mindset is important when you want to create a great team, however, the challenge begins when you make them work together especially in a remote working environment.

You have to create a culture that fosters productivity while maintaining a healthy working relationship not just within the members of the team but also with you as the manager. Establish an environment where everyone can communicate their ideas and insights openly, where there are opportunities for career growth, and where everyone is valued and cared for. 

Make them feel involved even if they are only remote employees by laying down your vision, long-term goals, and plans. This will make them feel like they are part of where your company is heading in the next couple of years. 

Here are some actionable tips to do this:

7. Focus on the individual needs of your members to show care.

When you hire someone, they do not carry only skills and experience they also bring with them their stories, personal struggles, and battles. If you want them to produce great results you have to take some time in getting to know not just their name but also who they are. When you value your team members every day and their individual needs are met, then they will also give you the same respect and value for their job. Valued employees are also more likely to stay longer in a company. 

8. Giving gifts can foster camaraderie.

People who are appreciated tend to become more productive than those who are not.

If you want to create a team that will do the extra mile for you, positive reinforcement is a great motivational strategy. Do not withhold good feedback and appreciation if your team member truly deserves it. 

You can also give them swags, like a company shirt, company jacket, or thermal tumblers for their coffee or tea. If you can reward them through financial bonuses, it will be a good motivator. But if you cannot give monetary gifts, there are other ways to show your gratitude. One is by giving them a paid 1-hour rest in a day. You will have more ideas as you navigate your way through managing a remote team.

9. Show trust by delegating jobs.

Delegation is important when you want to get things done fast, but another good thing about it is it also makes someone in your team feel empowered. When you entrust a task to the members of your team you are also giving them a fair chance to advance and hone their skills. If you are an employee and you feel like you are trusted, you will feel proud and make every effort not to disappoint. 

When it comes to speeding up your workflow

Having a standard process of doing things helps any industry. It is all the more crucial when you are dealing with a remote team of graphic designers working in different places across the globe.  When creating a standard workflow, you have to bear in mind that the goal is always to make things simpler and in the fastest way possible. So make sure that your workflow must consist of only the most important processes.  Here are some simple steps to speed up your workflow:

10. Remove extra activities that don’t increase productivity.

There may be processes in your existing workflow that you can forego and still not affect the outcome of a project. If an activity becomes redundant, you can merge it with other processes or remove it completely. The simpler the process, the more productive your team will be. 

11. Get rid of excessive video calls that take up most of your team’s time.

It is important to have consistent meetings, but don’t do it every day or anytime you want. You put it on schedule. It can be weekly or every other week. You can always check on them at your scheduled time and not necessarily just through video calls. Chatting them in a group messaging application or emailing them also works. but through a group messaging application or through email. This way, your team can focus on accomplishing important tasks. 

12. Let go of the tools you don’t need.

Remote employees must have access to a set of tools that help them work effectively and efficiently; however, they also need to avoid using multiple tools for one specific need. Let your designer use one software when making your designs. Using the same set of tools encourages uniformity and this is important when you want to maintain the quality of your work.

Also, check for tools that are redundant in your organization. For example, if you already have Slack as a collaboration tool, why get Trello? Multiple tools with the same purpose can be expensive to maintain in the long run, especially if they are running on subscriptions. Just let go of the tools you don’t need and retain the ones your team actually uses.

Bonus: 3 Online Graphic Editor to Boost Productivity

When so many things are to be done at the same time, graphic design can be exhausting. The job can be demanding and sometimes, it’s just you and the blank screen of doom. Good thing there are online graphic editor tools that can automize some processes in design. Once you automate the repetitive tasks, you can focus on other important tasks to scale your business. So if you are looking for online graphic editors that can help you boost productivity, try these:

1. Pixelied.com

What is it?

Pixelied is an all-in-one online graphic editor that boasts lighting fast, user-friendly interface, stunning templates, and millions of stock photos in store for any editing project. This tool makes you create professional-looking graphic designs even if you are not a designer with its premium templates which are full-customizable.

Pricing and Key Features

The subscription is pretty straightforward as it only offers two options – the Free Plan and the Lifetime Plan. Here are the important features for each:

Free Plan:

  • Basic Pixelied Features
  • 3 Downloads Per Month
  • 5 BG Credits Per Month
  • 1 Workspace
  • 1GB Cloud Storage

Lifetime Plan (One-time payment of $97)

  • 4000+ Premium Templates
  • 4m+ Stock Photos & Icons
  • 100 BG Removing Credits/month
  • 5 Brand Workspaces
  • 2 Team Members
  • Unlimited Downloads
  • Unlimited Storage
  • Unlimited Brand Presets
  • Magic Resize
  • All Future Upgrades
  • Priority Support
  • 30 Days Money-Back Guarantee

Why get it?

It’s one of the best, fastest, and cheapest online graphic editors available. The free plan feature is already great. But having a full online graphic design suit for only $97 is an even better alternative. You can even edit and upload vector files on Pixelied. What’s not to like?

2. Adobe Spark 

What is it?

Adobe Spark is an integrated suite of media creation tools that is available in web-based and mobile downloadable formats. It features three separate design applications: Spark Video, Spark Post, and Spark Page. 

Pricing and Key Features

The Starter Plan is free but it only offers basic features. The Individual Plan is available at $9.99/month and the Team Plan costs $19.99/month. Here are the features you can get in detail: 

Starter Plan:

  • Thousands of free images and icons for your designs

Individual Plan ($9.99/month)

  • Starter Features
  • Create, manage, and share assets and templates with CC Libraries
  • Tag-team edits
  • Team member invitations
  • Premium templates
  • Branded Themes
  • Share brands with others and switch seamlessly between them while editing
  • Access to Adobe Fonts

Team Plan ($19.99/month)

  • Starter Plan Features
  • Individual Plan Features
  • Billing for multiple individual licenses
  • License reassignment
  • Dedicated support

Why get it?

Adobe is one of the most prominent brands when it comes to design tools so you can trust that Spark will deliver. Spark is great for students and educators too.

3. Pixelixe.com

What is it?

Pixelixe is an innovative online graphic editor that lets you create designs seamlessly. Explore its extensive library of photos, fonts, icons, and photo filters. Not a designer? Not a problem. You can edit visuals on the fly with Pixelixe even without designing experience. Build amazing graphics with its white label editor integration, image automation API, image processing API, and photo filter API.

Pricing and Key Features

There are four subscriptions to choose from. Try Pixelixe Create at $9/month, Pixelixe Automate at $49/month, Pixelixe Scale at $99/month, and Pixelixe Enterprise at $249/month. Here are its key features per subscription plan:

Pixelixe Create ($9):

  • Unlimited file creation
  • Unlimited storage

Pixelixe Automate ($49/month)

  • Pixelixe Create features
  • Automation feature (20,000 files/documents per month)
  • Image generation from a spreadsheet
  • White label integration
  • Image automation API
  • Image processing API

Pixelixe Scale ($99/month)

  • Pixelixe Create features
  • Pixelixe Automate features
  • Automation feature (60,000 files/documents per month)

Pixelixe Enterprise ($249/month)

  • Pixelixe Create features
  • Pixelixe Automate features
  • Automation feature (300,000 files/documents per month)

Why get it?

Pixelixe features a lot of unique elements which can’t be found in other graphic banner editors in the market. If you tend to make a lot of visuals for various accounts and platforms, its image automation feature will make your work easier. 

Takeaway

Managing a remote team of graphic designers is a complete challenge in itself. But if you follow these tips, doing it is possible. Have the right mindset. Adapt to any working trend. Face challenges head-on. Collaborating with graphic designers will be easier.

Author’s Bio:

Shelly is the co-founder of SaaSLaunchr: SaaS Marketing Agency. She works as an outreach specialist, content writer, and SEO for various organizations. 

She loves growth hacking concepts and testing SEO ideas. Catch her musings at the SaaSLaunchr blog.

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