I want to like everyone, I really do. I especially want to like all my clients and I want to work with them again in the future. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and occasionally a client makes me want to pull my own hair out.
The thing is though, I’ve been growing my hair out for a very long time, so I’d like it to remain intact for as long as possible. In order for this to happen, I’m going to focus on relationships with clients and make sure we’re all one big happy family.
Some of my favorite clients make our interactions feel effortless. They’re great to collaborate with, and we’re all usually pretty proud of the results we end up with after working together. These are the ones I want more of, to the point that I’ve often wished for a client-cloning machine.
So how does one become a covetable client?
There are many ways to ensure your designer likes you, but here are some of the things I’ve found clients can do to go above and beyond to ensure the relationship is as strong as possible.
Give it to me straight.
I’ve written about this a few times, but the more open you are with your designer, the better. I can’t stress enough how much I’d rather you say you don’t like something than attempt to spare my feelings.
I want your brand to be successful, just as you do. I’m also a human, so feel free to talk to me that way. Always pick up the phone and give me a call, or shoot a quick email letting me know you’re having second thoughts or just to give general feedback.
Obviously, every project can’t be this way, but my best client relationships are ones where we can share honest opinions and even joke around with each other.
Know your brand.
My college degree is in graphic design, not mind reading (although I did minor in it). I can’t help you reach your goals if you don’t provide me with a solid foundation and the tools I need to do so.
I’ve had a couple clients come in this year and just blow me away with how well prepared they were for our first meeting. In one case a brand new company came in with a concise packet outlining their vision for the brand. In the other case, we were working with an existing company, so they provided us a brand package right off the bat. I never had to ask for high resolution logos, fonts etc.
So much time saved because the clients knew exactly what they wanted and had everything we needed to complete the project.
Oh and Pro Tip: no designer is ever going to be happy if you send them a low res. logo embedded in a Word doc. or Powerpoint. Avoid doing this at all costs.
Chose your words.
I don’t expect my clients to be design experts. I don’t think it’s important for everyone to know the difference between spot and process colors, or what a slab serif is. I do however, think it’s great when a client can explain what their vision is, without using ridiculous buzz words or vague phrases.
Rather than “make it pop,” tell me what aspect you’d like to emphasize.
Similarly meaningless phrases I’ve heard:
“Jazz it up.”
“Make us Apple.”
None of these suggestions, (or expressions of disgust) carry any meaning, and they always require a follow up conversation. Figuring out a more meaningful way of expressing your needs will do wonders in terms of keeping your designer happy and on the same page.
There are countless other things that can be done to help strengthen the relationship with your designer, but many of them involve bribery of some type, and may be frowned upon.