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One of the more frustrating things a client can do to conventional designers is to show up at their initial meeting without really knowing what they want. We frankly don’t see that as such a terrible thing. At Orange Snowman, we welcome clients who do not know what they want, we have a brand attribute and empathy exercises to help us determine what they really stand for and what are the messages they need to create to attract the right audience. If you tell a designer exactly what you want you cheating yourself out using their wit and years of expertise.
Once the project starts, many clients tend to disappear without any warning. Designers do understand you are busy, and they do plan on moving the project forward on their own usually, but it is recommended that you drop by, email or call to find out how your project is moving along, and to provide any additional brainstorming or feedback to help ensure your design reaches its full potential. That of course doesn’t have to mean really frequent visits, meetings or calls, but staying in contact is an excellent way of ensuring that a good relationship is built, that deadlines are met and that great work is done.
After the project is finally complete, that doesn’t mean you never should be in contact with your designer again. The individual who tailored your design to meet your needs and preferences knows them better than anyone. Stay in touch with your designer, even when you aren’t planning to work together again in the near future. You don’t need to stay in touch constantly, but keep them up-to-date on any success your design achieves. If they design something for you that you will be using for a soon to be launched business or website, them them to your grand opening or launch party. If you do end up needing to have additional design work done, then if you have stayed in touch, the designer will be able to hit the ground running.
Don’t feel entitled
At times, clients may start feeling a sense of self-entitlement. This will frequently rub designers the wrong way. The dynamic rarely happens, but substantial damage can be done to a designer/client relationship. Designers are mostly happy to follow the principle behind the saying of “the customer is always right,” but also keep in mind that as the customer you are choosing to hire a talented designer because they can do work for you that you can’t do yourself. That can help to provide you with a better sense of balance in the designer/client relationship. A client can just as easily be fire as a designer can. The easiest way that a client can get rid of feelings of entitlement that they are having is to keep in mind that you probably are not the only client that the designer has – unless you hire the designer on a full-time basis – and you shouldn’t expect that you are going to be their number one priority at all times. If you keep that reality in mind, most likely you will get great work at an excellent value as long as you provide some of your own understanding and patience.
Some clients, when they start getting into detail-oriented, difficult design decisions, can start to forget to be considerate. As part of being a service providers, it is important for a designer to maintain an open-mindedness and passivity towards their clients. However, often that approach can be misunderstood as invitation for being overly critical of a designer’s work that isn’t even the final product. That is frequently very counterproductive and may lead to design work that fall short of its potential and is less focused than it could be. Some important recommendations:
There are several things that a client can do to stay considerate and encourage high levels of communication and productivity. First of all, choose your words carefully and be very thoughtful when providing feedback. I don’t mean that you should pander. I mean how you give your feedback. Feedback can be expressed in a productive, considerate and tactful way, or it may be expressed in an unnecessarily harsh and negative way. So when you are feeling like you need to critique your design, be sure to provide truly constructive criticism. Otherwise, you might not ever get the work you are searching for, you it could be partly your fault. It is important to be considerate about your designer’s time. Designers might not work during regular business hours at all times, but demanding turnaround time to be nearly-instant is usually not a good idea, particularly if you want to have quality, thought work done. Smart clients will be considerate of a designer’s schedule. You might be surprised at just how easy becoming a favorite client is when you make the effort to accommodate the needs of your designer’s schedule. They will definitely appreciate it.
One really good way of keeping your designer fairly content is to pay them promptly, but it also doesn’t cost much to go above and beyond and delight them. All you really need to do is express some gratitude. Saying thank you is actually an added form of payment, since it shows acknowledgement and appreciation. Nobody likes putting their passion and skills into a project and then giving it to somebody who doesn’t shown any recognition or basic gratitude. You also don’t need to wait to say thank you until the project is completely finished. Thanking your designer after the initial acceptance of the project has been made can be very helpful to show that the relationship will work out.
You as the client have as much power as your designer does in terms of either damaging or improving a collaborative relationship. When you can keep your designer happy it can help to promote quick turnaround, great design work other benefits. Place yourself in your designer’s shoes and think about the way you would like the relationship to be with a client. Good client etiquette definitely can turn you into an ideal client, and it will allow the design work to really shine also.