Successful graphic designers rely on a steady stream of happy clients to pay the bills. However, some clients can present difficult challenges and may make mistakes that can hamper the success of a project. By learning to anticipate common mistakes, graphic designers can prepare potential solutions to help make each project a smooth experience.
1. Poor Communication
Communication is essential to ensure a successful graphic design project. The client needs to explain what she is looking for clearly in order to help the graphic designer meet the project’s requirements. This includes basic information such as color and font preferences. Providing examples of what she wants is a good way for the client to help the designer understand her project’s needs. Once the designer thinks he knows what the client wants, restating the client’s desires in the designer’s own words can ensure that both parties are on the same page.
2. Repeated Revision Requests
Requesting minor changes is not a mistake. However, pressuring the designer to make repeated changes over and over again can make the project much more challenging and frustrate the designer. Each requested change cuts into the time that the designer has to work on other projects. Graphic designers can avoid this situation by working explicit guidelines on revisions into the original contract. Charging an extra fee for excessive revisions is a good way to discourage this behavior in clients.
3. Setting Unrealistic Expectation
Clients sometimes make the mistake of expecting too much from their design project. For example, a client who doesn’t have a large budget may expect to receive the type of work that a large multinational corporation can afford. Other clients may believe that a large project can be completed in a short amount of time. To avoid this conflict, graphic designers need to set realistic expectations for their work through clear communication on deadlines, cost and scale. Providing samples of previous work will help clients understand the work that they can expect from the designer for a given budget.
4. Failure to Let the Designer Lead the Way
Some clients may underestimate the work that goes into a graphic design project, causing the client to make suggestions that don’t actually help the designer. Although it’s important for the client to be happy with the work when it’s finished, clients need to learn to step back and allow the experts to take charge of the design. In many cases, the graphic designer has a formal education in the industry, and the designer has a better handle on the latest trends in graphic design. Designers must communicate that attempts to micromanage the project can lead to delays and subpar work.
5. Going Beyond the Original Contract
During the project, the client may come up with additional ideas or work that he would like completed. Even if a firm contract has been established, the graphic designer may feel pressured into helping the client to keep the relationship positive. Discussions early on in the project can help to avoid this if the client clearly states what he expects of the project. The designer should also make his limits clear on the proposed project. Clients may occasionally need a gentle reminder that extra work should be billed separately and treated as its own project.
Positive interaction between a graphic designer and her clients is an essential part of a successful business relationship. Graphic designers who learn patience and prepare for potential challenges with clients can improve the success of their work.