Walking the graphic design tightrope

I’ve never thought of myself as a natural acrobat, but when a client decides to engage my services, I feel like I am walking a proverbial tightrope. Essentially, I see my role as a facilitator, correctly balancing their needs with the right amount of specialist knowledge, expertise, advice and creativity.

Every client comes to me with a unique set of requirements. Some may have vague notions about what they want to see, whilst others can have more definitive ideas when it comes to design.

The success of any client partnership is all about collaboration and developing a trusted relationship. So, establishing clear communication channels, transparency, honesty and clear-cut responsibilities early on is key. Then it’s easier to offer advice, present options and of course manage expectations (price, quality and timings) before, during and after every piece of work.

Being on the same page

This all starts with getting to know a client and understanding more about their project. Prior to any kick-off meeting, I make sure that I have done my homework about them, their business, the products/services they offer, the industry they operate in and any competition they may have. That means that when we first meet, I can encourage them to talk openly and start to find out:

  1. More about their design likes, dislikes, preferences
  2. What has worked/not worked in the past
  3. Any ideas that they may have
  4. What it is that they want to achieve
  5. What they want to see and when

Under-promise and over-deliver

I then show them other projects that I worked on, to spark further ideas, before being very clear about what I can deliver, and what I can’t. If they need further services that I don’t provide myself, then I have a wealth of business partners who I can bring in and manage. And once communications channels are open and we have agreed timelines, budget and our roles, then it’s all systems go.

I never over-promise and under-deliver, more the reverse really. I allow enough time for every stage of the process (visual concepts, design selection, design progression, final tweaks, proofing etc.) and whilst I am flexible, it pays for everyone to know what to expect and when.

Engaged and happy clients

A successful project is all about having an engaged and happy client who trusts me to deliver creative solutions that exceed their expectations within an agreed timeframe. Because let’s face it, then they will then be more likely to:

  1. Use my services again
  2. Recommend my services to other people
  3. Give me a great testimonial or help to write a case study

Obviously, there may be times when projects become delayed, deadlines shift, staff are unavailable, and the project needs to be tweaked. But when you have an agreed plan, well-defined responsibilities and a shared goal, the tightrope feels more like a walk in the park – perfectly grounded and a whole lot easier!

Drop me a line and together let’s take your design requirements to the next level.

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