How To Get The Most Out Of Your Next Artist Collab
Are you looking to add value to your next brand campaign or event? Why not collaborate with a handmade artist or craft-based designer? We'd love to share some tips with you for making it your best project yet.
Working with a handmade artist allows you to create something truly unique for your brand, works to capture the attention of your audience, introduce your followers to a fun personality, and open up possibilities for creative campaigns in the future. (If you need any more convincing, check out this blog post we wrote.)
The collaborative process is an exciting opportunity to tap into all the benefits of handmade design, but there’s many moving parts that you may not be aware of. Take it from us, with 13 years of experience working with global brands, these tips are tried and tested and will help you to get the most out of your experience AND set you up to have great experiences in the future.
From concept to delivery, here’s a completely honest look at what to expect.
ALLOW A LONG LEAD TIME
Because of the nature of craft-based design, which is primarily a handmade and bespoke form of work, the design process can take a lot longer than you might expect. Therefore we highly recommend ensuring that you’re approaching an artist with an adequate time frame to accommodate for this.
Here at the studio our process involves designing and conceptualising, creating samples and mockups, getting project approval and quotes from suppliers, sourcing materials, the build time itself, time for revisions, preparing the final pieces for delivery, as well as time for content creation and post production.
Many meticulous steps happen behind the scenes to produce your beautiful and bespoke end product, so the gift of time is truly essential to make sure the whole process runs smoothly.
We recently put together some facts about our building process in this post (you might be surprised about what’s involved!).
For reference, at KP Studio we usually require 2-3 weeks turnaround at minimum, but this can vary for different types of handmade art and design. It's best to have an up-front chat with the artist at the start of the process to set the timeframe together.
If you’re working to a short deadline though, don’t worry. It happens. Your chosen artist can likely suggest some creative workarounds to help you meet your tight deadline, for example, amendments to the techniques used to shorten the production time. You may also need to increase your budget to allow the artist to work after hours or on weekends to meet your deadline.
Another thing to consider if you are a product-based business and would like the product to form part of the materials used in production - you'll need to allow time for these to be shipped to the artist prior to the start of the build.
CONSIDER YOUR BUDGET
Budgets for "standard" prop sourcing (where for example, a stylist might source a ready-made or mass produced object from a store for the photoshoot) are likely not going to be adequate to cover the cost of a completely bespoke, handmade object. So keep this in mind when setting your budgets. As an example, here’s a super quick look at some potential elements that could make up the costing of a handmade prop design job:
Labour costs, material costs, the overall costs of running a studio, plus delivery and courier fees, tools and equipment, Tax and GST are just some of the costs we take into account when quoting a job.
It may be worth coming to the table with your maximum budget spend in mind, rather than an expectation of the finished artwork you want, and the artist or maker can work out what is possible for within that budget.
Remember the old project management triangle?
This is still incredibly relevant when it comes to handmade design projects.
For bespoke, craft-based artwork, you're most often only going to be able to achieve two of these components. When you try to add a third, it compromises one of the others.
So keep this in mind when you're planning your creative project as almost all artists you come across will work to some version of this model.
TRUST THE EXPERTISE OF YOUR ARTIST
You’ll find that most makers are more than happy to have an open chat with you about scope, budget constraints, materials considerations, sustainability, and design technique. We are passionate about creating an end product that looks stunning and nails the brief. If you have a specific project in mind, being open to the expertise of the maker to find the best way to approach the project is key.
An example of this might be small changes to the execution of a to better fit your budget. To suit a smaller budget, some clever solutions could be to adapt the artwork design to something on a 2D scale, as opposed to 3D which could cost more in time/labour. Or perhaps reducing or simplifying the number of deliverables.
There’s lots of ways to achieve a stunning artwork - being open to thinking outside of the box and leaning on the experience and expertise of the artist is the key to getting there.
All of this being said, we also want to encourage you to think big! Artists love being approached with exciting ideas, and we love to make them happen. For example, just because you’re in a different city, doesn’t mean you can’t commission someone from around the world. With the world getting smaller with the help of technology, it’s possible to work with people in an office far, far away.
We can help you think about how to design the piece for easy transportation, if extra time is needed, the planning required and potential budget considerations. You can invite the maker to your city ahead of time to construct on-site, which can turn into a great press opportunity if you’re holding a big event.
When inviting an artist to complete the build on-site or in your city, it's good to consider where the making will actually occur. Do you have adequate space capacity in your place of business? If so, that's often a great option. However, there are many accommodation options that also include space to create, and your chosen artist can facilitate this so you don't have to worry about it.
The handmade commercial design industry may be niche, but there are so many wonderful creators out there. Don’t cut yourself off from the opportunity from working with great people!
Want to add even more value to your campaign, and extend the visibility of your project? Consider adding on a content creation element to your artist collaboration! Here at KP Studio, behind the scenes builds are our most popular content piece on social media across TikTok and Reels, and are a great way to add value to your campaign. These can provide a preview behind the scenes of the build, and extend the life of the campaign online.
You could also invite the artist to run a series of workshops with your audience! This is a great way to engage your audience and connect people with your brand face to face. Why not have them make a take-home prop version of your product or brand logo? It’s a way to add value to your customers, and can be an added income source for the campaign.
To enhance your campaign even further, why not consider why not consider featuring the artist as a key element? By transforming the collaboration into a marketing opportunity, you could leverage the following of a creator and their status in a niche industry to make the campaign stand out from the crowd, and widen your customer or audience base.
For example, when we collaborated with Hey Tiger Chocolate, Kit was the face of the campaign, sharing content about the project on her social media platforms and featuring in media and press. By showcasing the artist as a feature of the campaign, you can generate fun, shareable content, as well as press opportunities, and you get access to new communities through the cross-promotion of each brand. And at the end of the day, you’re also supporting a local artist. So it’s a win/win for all.
If you’re commissioning a prop or installation, we highly recommend that you consider the afterlife of the artworks themselves, not just how they can elevate your campaign. If you've got sustainability targets that you're working towards as a brand, artists and designers can help you achieve them by collaborating closely with you to ensure the campaign is as sustainable as possible (read more about how we do this at KP studio through our Loop-de-Loop program). In some cases the maker might know someone who’d love to repurpose it, or you could even run a competition for your audience to win the artwork after the campaign is over.
Did you know that 85% of consumers want retailers and brands to be more transparent about the sustainability of their products? This is why we love working with papercraft cardboard at our studio which can be easily recycled. Ask your artist about how they can utilise more eco-friendly materials and techniques that help you reach your sustainability goals as a business.
SHARE THE LOVE
It’s a collaboration after all! Most designers will likely want to showcase the project on their portfolio and many will shoot the finished pieces in their studio before delivering to you, and/or document the process for their social media platforms. So if you’d like to get photos of the props being made in-studio, or stunning finished visuals, it’s a good idea to request these from the artist and ensure you have budget to pay for potential usage of this content on your own platforms where that is necessary.
We also encourage you to reciprocate by doing the same - if you have a photographer take any photos of the finished artwork, be sure to share it with the artist so they can promote the collaboration across their channels. And remember to tag the artist in any images of the props on socials to help elevate them as much as they are elevating you. Little things like that go a long way.
We hope these tips help you next time you choose to collaborate with a craft-based artist. We guarantee they'll make a world of difference to the relationship you build with your artist, and will ensure that you have the best grounds for collaborating on an amazing project.
If you want to remember these tips for your next projec, we've created a cute downloadable checklist to remember them by:
Interested in collaborating with us on your next creative campaign? Explore our range of design services here. We'd love to speak with you about ways that we can help you elevate your next project using craft-based design. Let's chat!