Designing is not an easy gig. Sure, working with clients from all walks of life is great and designing from my local coffee shop over a venti latte with skim is awesome, but the actual process can be a bear. Can I be candid for just a minute? Can I tell you why this dream job isn’t as dreamy as it sounds? It’s two little words that nightmares are made of… problem clients.
Yes, you read that correctly. I said PROBLEM CLIENTS. Those clients who need every waking hour of your attention. The ones who demand everything from you and give you nothing to work with. The clients who ask you for a quick, 40+ hour job with 24-hours to do it in. Never fear, I have some pointers that will help you from being classified as a “problem” on your next design purchase.
Throughout my design career, my favorite clients are those who really put these 5 steps to practice without me even realizing it. To those fabulous folks, thank you for being rockstars!
Give me ALL of the details.
If you want it included in your design, please let me know. Each designer has their own process for collecting information. In this step, less is never more. Honestly, give more than enough information so that your designer doesn’t have to take extra time to hunt down dates, times, places or even send you multiple emails asking for details. Put it all out there and your designer will love you.
Be realistic about the timeline of a project.
Here’s the thing, don’t ask for a new brand two days before Christmas and expect it to be fabulous. When considering your design project, allow your designer time to brainstorm and sketch out possible ideas. Don’t you want their best work? Give them the time needed to make that possible.
Feed me feedback.
Honesty is key when it comes to design, promise. You have your opinions and your designer has theirs. Be open and honest about what you like and what you don’t like about your design. Your designer will give you their professional advice but ultimately your happiness is what is most important.
Don’t discount my work.
Good design doesn’t have to break the bank, but it also shouldn’t be cheap. I love what Ralf Speth says, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” Before you begin your project, make sure you understand the pricing your designer has in place. You don’t want to be surprised when your bill comes and your designer never likes to hear that their clients are suffering from sticker shock. Get on the same page in the pricing book and all will be well.
Spread good cheer.
As I said, ‘tis the season. The best thing as a designer is to receive a call from a potential client that starts, “I received your information from (insert current client here). They raved about your work and I want to get on your calendar.” Boom! Life = made! Spread the word when you find someone you love working with.
Being an awesome client really isn’t too hard. By giving the details, being realistic about timelines, being honest with feedback, not going AWOL when it’s time to pay and spreading the love, YOU will be an awesome design client that will be cherished by your designer! Oh, I have one more to add to your list… be flexible. Life happens and your designer is human (although, we have amazing mind-reading super powers). Toss being flexible into the mix of tips and you’re going to be down right amazing. The designers of the world who will be working alongside you on your projects will thank me. And YOU will thank me, because the design process just got a whole lot easier.
Stephanie is a graphic designer and public relations specialist living just outside of Atlanta, GA. She adores working with creative entrepreneurs and small businesses in order to allow them to present their personality through every piece of designed collateral. When she is not designing beautiful things, you can find her hanging with my favorite fellas, Brandon (husband) and Wyatt (son). She also has two precious fur kids, Allie and Charlie. She enjoy giving my green thumb a workout, perfecting my gluten free baking skills, watching football (and winning with my stellar Fantasy Football team).