Tips for Working with a Designer

Tips for Working with a Designer

Hiring a local artist or design agency to help with your merchandise is a great idea – but any order can go smoother when the right people are making the right decisions. Confirming some parts of the order before the designs are finalized can help save significant time, communication, and budget.

Getting a design onto the press is the best part, but there are some decisions about garments and print specs that are better to be made first.

At Floodway, we help tons of different clients make custom orders for apparel. We realized a major question was missing when a custom order is being organized by multiple people. This questions is extra important when people are working across different organizations.

The question: “Who Is Paying?”

Chatting about the budget can be uncomfortable, so make sure that when you choose a print shop that their pricing is transparent. That will ease a lot of concerns, but the budget isn’t always known or decided when the order is being planned.

The garment and total quantity have a lot of impact on the final price. So it is best to settle those details first. This allows your designer to submit the files once, instead of needing to revise if the print specs change due to budget further down the line.

The important part of this question is about who is making that final decision, not about how big the budget is. Who knows the numbers enough to make a final approval on the order?


This will save your designer (and billable hours) from having to re-create the design to fit a larger or smaller budget.

Some companies give their design agency a budget to execute the order, but most clients want to know more about the garments and how to make the most of the budget.
These kinds of considerations are best made directly with the print shop and they are key to making sure your design, garment, and print process all work together as a final product. So it is best for these considerations to be made directly, rather than relayed through anyone who is not making the decision.

It’s best to confirm quantities, garments, and print specs with whoever has the final say on the budget. Deciding on designs and print specs first may result in the artist needing to rework their design for the budget.

A common issue is choosing specific Pantone’s for clients who don’t have the budget (or need) for a custom ink mix.

Since the design is a huge factor on the final cost, it can be more efficient for the design to work within the constraints of the budget instead of the other way around.

A quick way to test this is to think about how many people are between your question and your answer. 

If you are finding yourself buried in communication about a custom order, it might be because decisions are being relayed through the wrong people. Ask your print shop how they can help!