The designer-client struggle is real; the memes on the internet are proof. For designers, there lies a dilemma of having to choose between staying professional and putting up with unreasonable client demands. For clients, the hunt for a designer who is both talented and diplomatic seems to be never-ending. However, this is not to say good client-designer relationships don’t exist.
It takes patience and communication to get the ball rolling – smoothly. Here are some tips on how to maintain the no-tension atmosphere between clients and designers.
Communication is a two-way street. Both the client and the designer must remember that. Designers must learn to empathize with clients, as this will help them understand things from the client’s perspective. At the same time, clients must be diplomatic in the way they communicate with designers. Always show appreciation, despite whether you like what has been presented to you or not. Good communication is key to easing all the tension in the room.
Having a clear set of guidelines will ensure a smooth workflow. Attempt to agree on the main points prior to execution to avoid misunderstandings along the way. This would also help reduce the back-and-forth process that usually takes place after a designer presents the outcome to the client.
Challenging as it may be, a designer – just like any other professional in any industry – must accept criticism. The criticism is never personal, it really is always business, quite literally. At the same time, the client must learn to deliver criticism in a professional manner, without personally attacking the designer or their skills. It’s true that feedback usually means more work, but how else can one grow and gain experience?
Constructive feedback is key here. The point of this process is to communicate the pros and cons of what the designer has presented in a constructive manner. Always thank the designer for the efforts put into the design, and pinpoint the ways in which they could improve what has been presented to better reflect your ideas. Here, it is also vital that the designer maintain patience and passion to be able to deliver the best version of their work.
Unless you want something that looks like it has been made by a newbie, you must be willing to pay for the design you want. Everything comes with a price – you just have to set yours. The price you’re willing to pay must match your expectations. The price offering also works as an incentive for the designer, pushing them beyond their limits to deliver great work.
Some designers charge for post-client-feedback edits, while others include them in their original price. Therefore, it is advised that designers discuss the various options with clients prior to starting work. If you include edits in your original price, make sure to include the details of how many rounds of edits your offering includes. Set a price point for all additional edits that go beyond what is included in the agreement.
Whether you’re a designer or a client, keeping it professional is key to maintaining a good relationship and delivering exceptional work. Invest in business relationships as much as you do in your private ones. The outcome is worth it.