Blog Post 3-02

What makes a good client/designer relationship

As a graphic designer, you work with people constantly. It’s a part of the job. No matter if you are a graphic designer, an instructional designer, or a circus trainer; it’s important that you have a good designer-client relationship to ensure that you are happy with your job and that your client is more than willing to give you business again.

We’ve all been in that scenario where you are stuck working with people that you really do not want to for one reason or another. Here are a few tips that will help you be sure that your designer-client relationship stays intact when the project is over and done with.

There are 5 crucial elements that will help the relationship between designer and client to remain in good standing when everything’s said and done.

Have an open dialogue.

For both client and designer, communication is key! It may sound cliche, but it’s the truth. If the client has something to say or needs changes, then say it! Get it all out in one email. That way the designer knows exactly what you want and need changed. It saves the client time because there are fewer revisions and it saves the designer time because he/she does not have to keep revisiting a past project.

Be professional. Always.

No matter what happens between client and designer, the second it becomes unprofessional, it’s going to end badly. Even if a designer is dealing with the most difficult client, you need to remain respectful. Your reputation is on the line every time you accept a job from a client. If you do a nice job and remain respectful, you are more likely to gain more clients or even a good reference.

Be understanding of one another.

That being said, sometimes things happen. Sometimes files get lost, sometimes you need to ask further clarifying questions to make sure that you’re on the same page. It’ll be a better relationship if you simply understand that you both are human and make mistakes, which is an OK thing when you follow step number 2.

Be specific!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “it needs something more” or “you’re in the right direction, but it’s just not the right feeling.” As a designer, that doesn’t help me one bit. Be specific. What exactly are you going for? Does the font need to be changed? The color? Using specific words will help the designer understand what it is that you want without wasting our time trying to decode your email. It will also save you time looking over something that you’re not happy with.

Defined timeline.

Lastly, make sure that there is an established timeline. That way there is an estimated deadline date and you know exactly when the designer needs to send out the project and be done with it and the client can expect to receive the product.

If you follow these steps, you’re sure to have a great designer and client relationship! Do you have any tips on how to maintain a good relationship between the client and the designer? If you do, we’d love to hear from you!

Ashlee is an Intermediate Instructional and Graphic Designer on the Learning and Professional Development team and has a background in Graphic Design and Photography. With over eight years of Photography and Graphic Design experience, Ashlee brings a unique talent and perspective to the team. She joined the Learning & Professional Development team in 2014 as a student worker and now works full time as an Instructional & Graphic Designer. She primarily works with Adobe products and is using her knowledge to help develop exciting new trainings. This opportunity allows Ashlee to reach out to the NAU community and create interactive ways students and staff can learn.

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