1.) Project kick-off meetings don't get the weight they deserve.
Fostering a positive starting environment for any creative project is crucial. Kickoff conversations—in which a company shares some starting points and ideas with a hired creative—serve as the project's foundation. In these initial meetings, it's important you thoroughly answer and consider the creative's questions. Be specific. What sort of collateral are you expecting to receive out of the project? Do you have brand guidelines to share? What problems are you looking to solve through the project? What are you trying to communicate with the resulting product? Do you have specific objectives you're trying to reach? Although these questions may seem trivial, or not worth communicating, the answers guide your project's development and provide the context required to make something that meets your needs.
2.) Project management falls solely to the creative.
Whether you've hired someone to design a book, develop a new campaign, or create a brand, the project
3.) Feedback and edits are communicated in piecemeal.
Don't you hate when someone sends you 10 different emails about the same thing? Well, creatives hate it, too, especially in the late stages of a project. When it's time to give feedback on the work, send all of your team's notes at once. Not only will this improve the creative's ability to easily check off edits and make adjustments, but this will also help both parties keep track of requests. This always turns out to be a huge help when something goes wrong or a request is misunderstood—it's much easier to figure out where, how and why the error occurred.
4.) The creative direction changes course mid-project.
This sounds like a nightmare scenario, but changing directions is common and almost always leads to a less successful collaboration. In these cases, the company or brand shifted their marketing objectives and either failed to communicate or made the change too late. If your company's marketing strategy is in flux, or underdeveloped, you should think twice before hiring a creative collaborator.
5.) Neither party is passionate about the other's work, nor sees the relationship as valuable.
Respect breeds respect. Creatives are experts in their field, which means any push-back you receive on the project's scope is likely warranted. If you're having a difficult time trusting the creative's expertise, ask questions. Although there are certainly exceptions to the rule, creatives should provide some reasoning—and their answers may surprise you. More often than not, seemingly rigid creative decisions have your objectives, budget and needs in mind.