10 Tips for Improving Designer-Client Relationships


Having an excellent design is not a skill thus, an attitude. An unconscious passion to create designs excellently that would make clients not meet the expectations but surpass it. But behind these excellent designs are the excellent designer-client relationships. Maintaining and improving our relationship with clients are one of the most significant roles of being a designer.

If you felt so upset being alone in Valentine’s Day, be ready to feel much upsets if some of your clients cancel out or break down your projects and designs with them. A designer-client relationship is more of a serious type of partnership and just like a romantic relationship; it must be work seriously to be successful.

As clients have their own distinctive needs, let us give you some tips to help you foster those designer-client relationships.

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Make a Work-Process Scheme

This is another idea of having a “plan” or a “guideline” for you to make your thoughts and ideas more compromise, effective and of course, efficient. An implementation of this scheme helps your designs to be as standardize it could be. A process scheme doesn’t have to be too specific or detailed, but the aspect of your project’s starting, working on and finishing must be identified for your client. It can be a simple checklist or to-do list of the processes you will be doing for the entire project.

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This process checklist may also be a great help for you in managing complex projects. Furthermore, your clients will appreciate a concise work-process knowing exactly what is going on with your deal. Also, they will be less likely to badger you with desires for status updates. But, what does a work-process scheme look like? It should include the following:

  • Exact project details: Its cost, due date and others
  • A project draft or review
  • Specific and systematized instructions
  • A feedback from your client
  • The adjustments from the your client’s feedback
  • Client’s bill

Pact Clearly

Pact Clearly

This is the foundation of having a successful relation with your clients. A basis of what a designer will gain. Well, you and your client must have a good and clear deal with the designs you are up to. Having an apparent contract with your client may enhance your relationship automatically. Knowing when the project will be over, explaining how the scheme will work and measuring how it will be success may help.

Communicate Professionally

According to Mark Twain, “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation”, so you should be communicate carefully because in any instances your words may not appropriate to your client. An effective communication helps us better understand a person or situation and enables us to resolve differences, build trust and respect, and create environments where creative ideas, problem solving, affection, and caring can flourish. Also, your professionalism can win you contracts, and your communication skills add to the complete package.

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Know More Your Clients

Know More Your Clients

Every client has its own personality. First thing you need to know is the personal information of your client so that you will know where to contact him in case of urgency. You should remember to know his taste and preferences so that your designs could fit exactly for your client. Open yourself for your client’s personality to know him more.

Get Feedbacks

Before you go out on a date with someone, commonly, you ask for your parents’, siblings’, friends’ or any person’s suggestions or opinions for what you “must” do or don’t during a date. Correspondingly, in business world, it could be a big help if someone look over your design and critique it for the sake of improvement of the project. Nevertheless, getting feedbacks isn’t always an easy thing to do, you should have your humbleness with you and keep your patience up!

In getting feedbacks, you should not just ask for anyone’s view but you should look and ask for the right people because not all criticism is created equal. Some of it is really helpful, some is just fair and the rest could get you fired if you executed it. Therefore, you need to choose your sources carefully. But it doesn’t mean that you should only ask feedbacks from the professionals, it is also essential to have an outsider’s perspective that comes from your client’s target market or at least other designers that understand what you are trying to cater to.

In addition to this, you should put your ego aside, being criticized can be a painful process, especially if you know that you put a lot of time and effort making that project and you are very proud of what you’ve done. But, if you really want to have good feedbacks, don’t be so defensive and very hostile that you take the critiques as ad hominem attacks on you or on your philosophy as a designer. Always remember that your work isn’t ultimately about you instead it is for the service and for your client.

Ask to Know

Ask to Know

Do not act as if you know everything in just a bit. If you have any questions, hesitations, doubts, then ask. Your client has its own taste and preferences, you should ask your client to know it. You will not know the answers unless you ask.

Be a Risk-taker and Problem-solver

In the world of business, being a risk-taker and a problem-solver are the traits of a good entrepreneurship, so we could also apply this to improve our client-designer relationship. Always take risk, if you win, you will be happy and if you lose, you will be wise. Business comes just now or never so without any hesitations put your guts up to take a risk accepting projects. And if you are taking a risk, you show confidence and it helps you to stand out, you can also gain credibility to your clients.

In the same way, your ability to make money is directly proportionate to how well you solve problems for your customers. Problem solving is one of the most highly valued characteristics you can have as an entrepreneur. Hone this skill and you reap the benefits of saving time, making money and finding the next big idea for your business.

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Learn More

Learn More

As a designer, you have a lot of experiences and skills with regards to making a layout or designs, but we all know that everyone does not know everything. Be open to accept opinions, suggestions, and knowledge because it will greatly help you to hone your expertise more to have a successful outcome. And always remember the saying, “Client is always right”. To have a good relationship, help each other by sharing your own acquaintances regarding to your project.

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Work with Trust

According to Ralph Wardo Emerson, “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.” This 5-letter word is not just a simple word to consider but a confident expectation of something.

Also, it is one of the hardest things to earn in a relationship. When you gained your clients’ trusts, you can able to create your designs freely. They will trust your designs because they know you respect their tangs about the designs. You’ll have a professional manner of conversation that will derive to an honest project. It is very much flattering when you and your client gone to giving trusts to each other, don’t ever let go but hold on to this client. There will be a great probability for both of your sides to have a fruitful and effective relationship.

Say it Again, “No!”

Say it Again, "No!"

This may sound disincentive because every client is a precious article in every designer. Of course, if you have a lot of time to do a project you must not reject it, because every client is an opportunity. Every project that you make requires time, energy and effort to do it, but if you have a very limited of these, you can refuse your client and recommend to other designers. It is better to say “NO” to your client immediately than to stake your name and reputation before its too late.

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A Collection of Christmas Resources and Inspirations
Authored by: Cherise Rosales

Cherise Nicole Rosales is a 16 year old fine young lady who studies in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Economics. A music hobbyist, writer, computer geek, part-time freelance model and full-time pursuer of dreams.