Preparation is the key

to success


We all know that preparation in business is essential, not optional. It’s not rocket science. Being prepared makes us more proactive, thus saving time and money. It also means we can manage problems more quickly and more efficiently, because we already have the solutions at hand ready to be implemented. Whereas failing to be prepared can bring disorganisation, lack of direction and potential unforeseen issues that can stop a project in its tracks.

As graphic designers, we’ve seen our fair share of last-minute requests. Everything from wanting full exhibition graphics in a week, to completely redesigning a massive document in a few days. We don’t like saying no, but sometimes we must be realistic and say instead, “not right now, but maybe we could do something next week/month?”

One thing that keeps everything running smoothly so that both we and our clients know where they stand is our clearly defined processes.

Client knowledge is critical

However, occasionally a client that we know well asks us for a rush job and we do say yes. The reasons for this are simple. Half the work in our graphic design projects is carried out before we even put pen to paper. It's our skill in understanding the client's needs (even if they aren't sure themselves) that gives us focus and the necessary detail for us to produce something that wows them from the very first concept. That’s why our discovery meetings and what happens after them is so important. Once we have the answers to our many questions we are primed and ready.

But essentially, one thing that keeps everything running smoothly so that both we and our clients know where they stand is our clearly defined processes. These evolve and change to cover all eventualities, but good communication still exists at its core. Combine this with the fact that we are always conservative with what we can do and when it can be done, seems to take away last minute panic and replace it with organisation and understanding.

The value of overdelivering

From experience, we know that it’s always better to underpromise and overdeliver, rather than the other way round. That’s why when it comes to creating a proposal and working out the related costings for your project, we build significant buffers at each stage and always consider the following variables:

How long it will take for us to realistically complete each phase

Time for the client to review and feedback amends

Time dealing with enquiries/issues or suggestions from the client (and other clients we may be dealing with in the same time period)

Time for any delays from the client in terms of providing the brief or content

That we may have to juggle several projects and clients at any given time

The fact that our clients are busy, and it can take them time to come back to us

Technical delays – emails getting lost or spammed, computer/software glitches etc.

More rounds of amends than predicted

A rigorous checking, proofing and sign off procedure that incorporates extra rounds of amends and more people involved

By being open, transparent and collaborative we can achieve great things. But when our clients are equally as receptive and have plenty of time on their side, understand their role and are committed to the project, we can produce creative excellence that always hits the mark.

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