Things that will make you a better client
Building strong relationships with the client is one of the most important aspects of designing a successful product.
A well-crafted product conveys its vision, promise, and people behind it. As designers, we must be educated about the client’s business to accurately and precisely communicate this information to the customers. And this information is gained from the alliance we build with our clients.
Because of the significance of these connections, identifying and selecting “good” clients (opposite to clients to avoid) will support your design strategy and result in more successful and productive work.
Since relationships are two-way streets, designers are also responsible for enhancing the client-designer relationship.
I explored some essential components of the perfect client-designer relationship, enabling you to find clients to help you do your best work. These are the critical elements that I have identified on both sides.
Clients need to understand that they hired a designer for a reason – to create a vision of the product and implement a functional, useful, and aesthetically appealing version of it.
The client should respect the designer's specialized skill by trusting that they will make the wise and strategic decisions required to build a successful product. After all, that’s why they hired a designer in the first place.
At the same time, designers must treat their clients as subject matter experts in their field. To effectively represent the product to the customers, designers must understand what it stands for. Use the client’s extensive experience to help designers achieve their ultimate objective.
If there’s no trust between the client and the designer, the product will fail even before it’s built. But it doesn’t mean that the client should pick the first designer they meet and instantly trust them. It’s the job of a designer to build that trust through communication, collaboration, and quality work.
If there’s no mutual trust, either the designer or client should find a new partner.
Respect for each other's viewpoints is necessary even though collaboration and feedback are essential. Everyone involved must acknowledge that the other is an expert in their field.
It is rather simple to give and get respect when there is open and honest communication, predictability in payments, and prompt feedback.
Designers become known for their unique aesthetic and straightforward vision; sometimes, clients are uneasy about this vision's execution because they are unable to understand it.
Since the majority of your clients have no experience in design, they may not completely understand the necessity of some of your designs.
Don't lose your cool with these customers. Give an extensive explanation of each component of your design, emphasizing its unique function for the product and the reasons it must be used.
Drive these discussions with enthusiasm and passion, and demonstrate to the client all the benefits of the product being designed according to your vision.
A trustworthy client shows honesty and transparency right away. When the client is honest, budgets become realistic and timelines are practical. Expectations are well defined throughout the entire process, thus there aren't many unpleasant abrupt changes.
Such a client takes ownership of any mistakes that may occur (this also applies to designers). Blame is not openly thrown around since both parties establish and stick to a consistent foundation of honesty and transparency.
The partnership's success will depend on the integrity of both parties.
A good client is well-organized. Designers do not want to take on a role where they must constantly put out fires, and they prefer an organized process throughout the partnership.
To facilitate communication, good clients establish a single point of direct contact with the designer. They understand that in most cases a simple email would be sufficient instead of scheduling an in-person meeting.
Clients who are well-organized respond rapidly to comments, and if they do not have time to completely answer a question, they schedule it and let you know when they will be able to respond.
Sometimes you can't tell if a relationship will work before you start it. Clients and designers should, however, do everything they can to determine whether the other is trustworthy, respectful, open to change, and organized.
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