Don’t drive your clients mad. Avoid these common mistakes.
1. DISMISSING THE CONSTRAINTS OF THE BRIEF:
If the client has set constraints in the brief, it’s your job and challenge to be able to work within those constraints. Sure, they’re paying you to think outside of the box, but those constraints—budget, timelines—are there for a good reason. This all sounds like obvious advice, but there are times that we designers can get a little ahead of ourselves with the prospect of creating an amazing portfolio piece.
But it’s important that your own ambitions don’t push you to propose something that doesn’t make sense for the scope of the project. Besides, constraints are a good thing. It’ll force you to focus your creative energies and think outside of the box to help you solve the client’s problem.
2. USING LOTS OF DESIGN JARGON:
It’s not always the case, but there are times where you’ll be working with a client that is on your wavelength. But most times, you’ll be collaborating with a client that isn’t as design-savvy, which will be difficult at times. But that’s not their fault—it’s why they hired you!
So though they might not understand a lot of design phrases or concepts, it’s important for you to explain it to them in plain English and guide them through the process. Your job is to be as approachable and easy to work with as possible.
3. GETTING TOO ATTACHED TO YOUR WORK:
It’s important to always remember that though you may love a certain idea, that it’s a collaborative process between you and client. The client sets the brief, the budget, and ultimately, they have the final say. So though you may be attached to a design route, it’s up to the client to decide what call they’re going to make.
So even if you have a personal preference, it’s important for you to believe in all the options that you offer up. Sure, some of them will make bad, uninformed decisions from time to time, but that’s where it’s your job to properly explain the pros and cons of each route you present.
4. NOT KEEPING THEM IN THE KNOW:
We all know that the road to creative nirvana is a messy one, but as the designer, it’s imperative that you make the client feel like they’re a meaningful part of the process. By making sure that they understand what’s going on, and why, you’ll make the client feel at ease and the collaboration will be a fruitful one.
Ultimately, you’re both working towards the same goal, so the point is to work together and not against each other. Not many clients will understand the creative process, and many can get frustrated waiting for large periods of time to see any work. So from the get go, it’s important to map out the different stages for the client so that they understand what to expect to see at each point. Transparency is absolutely key to putting their minds at ease
5. GETTING FRUSTRATED ABOUT ANY EDITS:
Just like you shouldn’t get too precious about particular ideas, when you get to the final stages of an idea and all the request for changes start coming in, it’s time to put your zen game face on. Getting angry about any amends is not productive or conducive to the project. Keeping an open channel of communication throughout the entire process will make this stage smoother—that’s why it’s important that the client feels like they’ve been a part of key design decisions.
However, there are times where the amends seem to be flowing in non-stop, and this can piss anyone off. Or if the stakeholders are uninvolved or uninformed, the amends can even be contradictory.